FRANCISTOWN: The chief executive officer (CEO) of Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), Thabo Thamane has said freebooting of other people’s ideas is the major cause of the entrepreneurs’ business collapse.
He said this during the Francistown clients engagement forum, which aimed at recognising and appreciating customers financed through the Francistown Client Service Centre (CSC) recently at Cresta Marang gardens.
Thamane indicated that the biggest problem is that most of the entrepreneurs do not perform well because they do not tap into the opportunities provided by different markets available in the country, but prefer to copy from other existing businesses.
“As promoters we must research for the market before engaging in the business. People should consider to venture into manufacturing because there is a huge market that is worth testing,” he said.
He disclosed that most of the funded youth projects are not performing well because they do not take their businesses seriously.
He said that entrepreneurship is a process and it needs one to be committed and dedicated to their business so that they can conquer their challenges.
Thamane said that CEDA has a portfolio valued at P1.8 billon with Francistown contributing to nine percent of that at P162 million creating employment for 567 people.
He revealed that the service sector is the most dominant in the area with 116 businesses funded at a value of P116 million and having created employment for 348 people.He added that agriculture businesses and the property and manufacturing sector are also represented.
When recognising committed clients, he disclosed that in 2007 CEDA responded to government’s call of employment creation for the out-of-school youth by establishing the CEDA Young Farmers’ Fund.
He added that through this fund hundreds of youths were funded for start-up and expansion businesses in the agriculture sector.
“As we all know, agriculture is a demanding sector with a lot of challenges, which makes it difficult
He added that in the Francistown region they have the likes of Kagiso Johane and Milikane Taba who are both in horticulture. “Johane started with a hectare production of fruits and vegetables and later graduated to more than three hectares with additional funding. She and Taba survived the drought that dried the Shashe River, which is their main source of water,” he added.
Thamane mentioned that textile is one of the industries with endless challenges ranging from shortage of raw materials, lack of skilled personnel and market challenges.
He noted that one of their clients, Idah Knitters (Pty) Ltd, managed to survive despite the odds.
He said that Destiny Car Rentals Company has managed to overcome challenges they were encountering too.
“For businesspeople to survive they should engage in helping each other,” he said. Thamane said that they would soon be launching a mobile service so that they can bring services closer to clients in remote areas. He added that they would also engage in mystery shopping and install electronic feedback machines so that they can improve their customer service.
Thamane said that they have partnered with BotswanaPost with regards to facilitating payments in areas where there are no CEDA offices.
He said that they would soon launch their micro-finance product, which will help the hawkers, street vendors and others.
Thamane further said as a way of keeping close to its clients, CEDA management has devised a plan of interacting with clients in all its centres on an annual basis.