The Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) has completed a study on manufacturing, which was done to identify key priority sub-sectors and value chain opportunities as well as constraints faced by the export-oriented SMMEs.
According to Thamane, the product will work in collaboration with the Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BITC), as CEDA will be funding the companies that have been registered under BITC’s Export Development Programme. For the past decades, high numbers of local SMMEs have failed in their first phase of operation, which is normally the first three to five years.
Those that survive usually continue to operate in conditions of uncertainty due to market volatility, intense competitive rivalry, and lack of marketing skills and shortage of serviced land. Meanwhile, the CEO noted that the recently revised CEDA guidelines seem to have spurred Batswana into business as they have financed projects to the value of P709 million compared to P450 million that was recorded previously on the corresponding period. “This shows that the level of inclusivity is on the right track even though it's not where we want as yet.
The growth has been contributed by the reduced interest rates and relaxed security requirements, which were introduced with the new guidelines,” he said. The agency recently launched a new set of revised guidelines, which offer entrepreneurs an opportunity to be funded up to the tune of P50 million with no collateral. The move is part of President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s roadmap to create wealth for indigenous Batswana while building a strong middle class. As part of the guidelines, CEDA identified sectors that can be given special consideration and have the potential to create jobs, which included manufacturing, tourism, energy, technology, innovation, construction and the creative industry.
Under these sectors, Thamane said they can extend loans of up to P50 million and also give personal surety that they will be able to pay the debt even when the business fails. In addition, he said they have waived the security after realising that it hindered most entrepreneurs to approach them to seek funding. However, he said they have power over financed assets.