Serowe — The Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) officials and media personnel toured small businesses funded by CEDA through Mabogo dinku programme in Serowe recently.
Briefing the media during the tour,an advisor from CEDA, Mr Neo Tumelo said financial inclusion formed an integral part of the CEDA shared growth strategy, adding that they were committed to developing innovative products and services that would make financial services available to rural and remote communities across Botswana.
The Mabogo Dinku initiative, he said, was easily accessible and popular because it required no business plan but an existing micro-medium business.
"The programme has so far proved to be a huge success because beneficiaries are paying back the money loaned to them in ways we had never seen before" he said.
CEDA lends from P500 to P150 000 at 5 per cent interest per annum payable over a period of five years for the small scale category enterprises.
One of the Mabogo Dinku initiative beneficiaries, Ms Matshelo Lesole told BOPA in an interview that she started a sewing business in 2016 and has five members who own different successful micro businesses.
Narrating the start of her journey, the 42 year-old said she and four other ladies discussed how they could benefit from Mabogo Dinku in one of their ward meetings at Mokwena in Serowe .
Ms Lesole was given P30 000 to boost her business, which sells men and women's clothes, school uniforms and German attire (leteisi).
Her business is situated in Serowe at Mokwena ward and she said the advantage of starting a home-based sewing business was that the capital required to start is minimal.
"To launch the business, you will need a versatile and reliable sewing machine and well developed sewing skills. With a little creativity, you can turn your love for sewing into a profitable business", she said.
Ms Lesole advised that for one to be sucessfull in the sewing business, one has to find a niche and do something they truly enjoy.
She supplies school uniforms to Tshimoyapula primary school, Institute of Health Sciences and sells clothes to individuals.
She said she opted to marketing her services during market days as it was cost effective.
She has opened a bank savings account and supports her family and pays for her own transport. Ms Lesole has two assistants.
As for her stock, she said she buys materials from Johannesburg, South Africa because of the low prices.
She said she was grateful to Mabogo Dinku as it helped her to expand her business.
Having failed Form Two some years back did not demoralise Ms Lesole instead she had to think of something to do to beat unemployment.
She was trained by CEDA on record keeping and other related courses.
For one to access Mabogo Dinku, she said, they have to be earning less than P2 000 monthly and be in a group of five.
The applicant would then be put on rigorous business training for three to six weeks before being granted the money to upgrade their business.
She applauded the Mabogo Dinku programme, saying it had helped to lift up many lives.
Her major challenge, she said was that selling clothes was seasonal and transport was expensive.
Another beneficiary that the team visted was , Ms Mompoloki Motswedi also 42 years, residing at Morwawakwena ward in Serowe
Speaking from her Tuck-shop, Ms Motswedi said she started three years back with a group named Arise and Shine.
She received P10 000 from Mabodo Dinku to purchase stock to start operating.
Ms Motswedi said prior to receiving funding she had no stable income and it was difficult to tackle day to day challenges.
"I applied for CEDA Mabogo dinku programme, and a year later I was successful and started my Tuck-shop business," she said.
Ms Motswedi, said she saves the profit made and uses it wisely.
'To tell the truth, it's a profitable business, because nowadays people in Morwawakwena ward do not travel long distance to the main mall to buy small things" she said.
She said 'success is determined by how you market yourself and treat customers'.
Ms Motswedi explained that her relatives help her with the daily running of the business.
She said her wish was to see her business growing and creating employment for others. "I urge other youth to venture into business and use the CEDA Mabogo dinku programme wisely to fend for themselves and their families," she said.
CEDA Mabogo dinku programme assists Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and strives to address challenges faced by SMEs such as lack of financial management, record keeping and lack of access to finance.
Source : BOPA