FRANCISTOWN: The Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng, recently informed young entrepreneurs that his ministry will find land on behalf of youth-operated businesses funded by the government.
He said that his ministry intends to see young entrepreneurs succeed and become reputable businesspeople who can sell their products internationally.
“I have presented your idea to cabinet and I am happy to inform you that it has been approved. My ministry will start looking for land on your behalf,” said Olopeng, who followed on the suggestion that government should consider looking for land because the shortage was crippling youth-ran businesses.
He stated that during his numerous tours around the country, the main problem that the youth complained about was shortage of land which they said hinders their growth as entrepreneurs.
Olopeng said his ministry would identify suitable spaces within the city and villages and then negotiate with the Department of Lands to see if it is possible to allocate the land to the youth to use for business purposes.
He also revealed that he is in talks with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) to accommodate young entrepreneurs in open spaces within schools if there are any.
He added that he would ask various government departments to accommodate youth entrepreneurs whenever the space is available within those departments in order to alleviate the shortage they face.
“I urge you to also not rest on your laurels and look for open spaces in the city, which you can temporarily use for your businesses,” said Olopeng.
He advised the youth to follow the town and regional planning regulations if they are allocated land.
Some of the youth expressed happiness at government’s effort to find land on their behalf.
Fumani Tekere, founder and CEO of Garero Multimedia Agency, said that shortage of trading space has troubled the youth for years and led to the collapse of many businesses.
Tekere said renting space to trade in the city is very expensive for young entrepreneurs because they compete for space with already established businesses.
“We pay rent, salaries and other business overheads with the little money we get from government. I think the initiative is a step in the right direction,” said Tekere.
Another youth, Tlhabologo Chingapane, of Horizons Investments echoed Tekere’s sentiments.
He said he pays P5,500 rent at Dumela Light industrial site.
Chingapane’s company specialises in making rubber linings, fibreglass, construction maintenance and sand blasting among other services.
Dineo Mosaninda of The Nail House Beauty Spa said the new initiative is a welcome solution that they have been waiting for.
She said that currently she pays P1,500 per month as rent, but the premises she is renting does not allow her business to expand and grow.
She revealed that shortage of land has forced some youth to operate at places that are not strategically located for trading.