Local Enterprise Authority’s (LEA) fifth incubator, Kutla Incubation Centre has graduated 29 entrepreneurs after two months of practical training and business management skills.
The graduates who acquired skills in bread and biscuit making, liquid detergent making and toilet roll manufacturing were the first batch to graduate the pilot phase of the incubator.
According to the Authority’s director Innovation and Sector Support, Lesitamang Paya, the Kutla incubation is slightly different from the existing ones as it is more skills training based.
“When we implemented the other incubators, we realised that there was lack of entrepreneurial skills hence the reason why we went to benchmark in India and we noticed that unlike us, they managed to develop entrepreneurs even beyond the incubation process,” he said.
Paya said they realised that SMEs need to be empowered with hands-on training and decided to open an incubation that would mainly focus on that.
In 2014, a project was then conceptualised as an ideal platform to incubate trainees for a short period of time with a view to impart practical, technical and business management skills on site.
LEA then partnered with the Office of the President (OP) through the Poverty Eradication Coordinating Unit, which funded the project.
He said as part of the pilot phase, OP assisted with selecting about 31 entrepreneurs across the country who were trained for two months adding that only two did not complete the training.
About 11 entrepreneurs were enrolled
However, Paya said the incubation has the capacity to enrol about 100 entrepreneurs per batch as their 10 machines can accommodate about 10 people per machine.
Further he said they have issued out public announcements to invite possible entrepreneurs adding that they will be working with financial institutions to help make this project a success.
“We want to train people who have assurance of funding with skills so that they can go and help bridge the unemployment gap.
We have realised that financial institutions have been funding businesses which fail afterwards because they lack the business training and hands-on experience,” he said.
The facility has 12 plants installed . They include toilet roll manufacturing, maize flakes manufacturing, biscuit and bread making, sunflower oil extraction, liquid detergent making, packaging solutions (granules and powder) tomato ketchup, wire nail making, socks knitting, Soya milk extraction, potato wafers making and ice cream cone manufacturing.
Meanwhile, the Authority has four incubators across the country being the Leather Industries Incubator and the Glen Valley Horticulture incubator, both in Gaborone, the Light Industrial Incubator in Francistown and the Pilane Multi purpose incubator, which are reported to be performing well.