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LEA’s mentorship programme hailed

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LEA's mentorship programme hailed
CABBAGE HAVEN: Ovine farm owners Mr and Mrs Ramonameng

Media tour reveals undocumented entrepreneurship success stories

Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) was given a nod of approval by entrepreneurs in Boteti, Serowe and Palapye during a recent media tour.

LEA paid a visit to 10 projects that they are currently mentoring, and from the feedback by project owners, the authority’s involvement in their businesses has been a revelation.

One such project is Ovine farms in Letlhakane. The company, registered in 2007 is owned by husband and wife, Oduetse Ramonameng and Keneilwe Ramonameng.

The family started off with small stock production and later diversified to horticulture. Today Ovine farm produce cabbage, tomato, green mealies, spinach, green pepper, water melon and rape.

“We started small because the project was self financed. But after realising growth in small stock production we decided to invest in horticulture,” said the beaming Keneilwe Ramonameng.

The farm owner said they had very little knowledge about vegetable production hence their decision to rope in LEA.

The company registered with LEA in 2008 and has since benefited from numerous interventions like entrepreneurship development training, horticulture techniques, trade show readiness, business plan facilitation and many others.

“We learnt a lot through the LEA mentorship programme. They have walked with us step by step which has motivated us stay the course despite the challenges associated with farming,” she said.

Ramonameng said as part of their training they went on a benchmarking trip to Glen Valley Incubator to learn tomato production under protected cultivation and at Tuliblock and Mogale Farms to learn centre pivot irrigation system operation and management.

“Thanks to LEA today we supply hawkers, retail stores such as Choppies, Spar and Sefalana. We have also employed seven people,” she said.

Another beneficiary of the LEA mentorship programme is Gladys Mothei, who own Lalla Villa Guest House in Letlhakane.

The 10 roomed facility which is still under construction will be offering affordable lodging facility, laundry, full complimentary breakfast, ensuite ari-conditioned rooms to business people and tourists.

Lalla Villa registered with LEA in 2016 as a pre-start business and just like others immensely benefited from interventions such as business plan compiling, facilitation of access to funding from CEDA, lease and business profile drafting.

“We had already financed the project with P1.8 million and asked for further funding from CEDA,” she said.

Mothei further told Voice Money that they managed to build the structure up to window level and will use the P1.4 million from CEDA for roofing and furnishing.

“We did our market research before embarking on the project and are confident that it will be a success. We have too may tourists passing through Letlhakane but there’s very limited accommodation,” said the self made business woman.

The lodge Manager, Ronald Mothei, said upon completion, Lalla Villa, will employ at least 15 people.

“With the support we have been receiving from LEA, we are confident that soon Lalla Vila will play a significant role in the country’s economic diversification drive,” he said.

“This is no ordinary lodge, we are aiming for a project that will be the identity of Boteti region as a whole,” he said.

Other projects visited include Copel Rancho Chicken Abattoir in Serowe, Task Manufacturers in Palapye, Mathudi Shades Hotel, Kanlee Fruit and Veg in Dikabeya.

LEA’s mandate is to help small business owners with pre-start and post-start services.

They interview and screen the entrepreneur to ensure the suitability for business training.

After the screening process is complete, the person then proceeds to the Entrepreneurial Development Training (EDT) for five days.

Upon completion of the EDT programme, the trainees develop a business plan to qualify for start up finance.

After the pre-start, clients then move to the post-start stage which comes after receipt of finance for business start-up.