LRA, BEDCO and Standard Lesotho Bank join hands to address youth unemployment

09 Jan 2015

According to the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL), of the estimated 7,500 graduates who enter the job market every year, over half do not get jobs. This startling reality paints a picture of a bleak future laced with despair in the minds of our otherwise educated, talented and motivated young graduates who immense but untapped potential to make a meaningful contribution in the economic growth of Lesotho.

In an attempt to arrest poverty that is exacerbated by rising youth unemployment, particularly educated youth, Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO), in collaboration with the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) and Standard Lesotho Bank have joined efforts to assist young unemployed graduates between the ages of 21 and 35 to become employers and drivers of economic growth by becoming entrepreneurs in a project called Bacha Entrepreneurial project. The project is intended to build a crop of young entrepreneurs who can break the barriers to become job creators, not job seekers. The three partner organisations are calling for viable, sustainable and profitable business proposals that will be financed for a combined start-up capital of M500,000.00 for the youth.

Who is eligible?

Bacha Entrepreneurial Project specifically targets young graduates between the ages of 21 and 35. These graduates must have completed their studies and have never had any opportunity of any type of formal employment after attaining their qualifications.

Proposals will not be limited to any particular area of interest or discipline, but selected only on merit based on viability, a strong business case and longevity. All qualifying graduates who are Basotho in all the ten districts of the country are eligible to submit their proposals.

Selection and adjudication process

A competent and experiences panel of adjudicators drawn from partner organisations and collegial institutions will appraise all submitted proposals. Out of all the proposals received, the top twenty five (25) proposals will be short-listed for final selection. Shortlisted candidates will then be given a wide ranging entrepreneurial training, after which they will be presented with another chance to fine-tune and resubmit their proposals for final selection. The adjudication panel will then select the three winning proposals which will be eligible for the combined start-up capital of M500,000.00 to execute the proposals.

Selection criteria

The proposals will be selected based on:

  • Originality of the business idea: this will be measured through creativity of the idea as well as ability of the idea to add value to the country’s economy.
  • Viability and sustainability of the business idea: this will be assessed from the financial projections within their proposal, especially through the cash flow statement.
  • Reducing unemployment: the enterprise should show potential and intentions of hiring people as another means of reducing the high rate of unemployment. The enterprise should at least intend to hire a minimum of three people excluding the business owner.

After fine-tuning and re-writing of proposals, the panel will further go through the re-written proposal to select only three winning proposals which will be financed. The other 22 proposals will not just be ignored, it is expected that BEDCO and other stakeholders will assist with any identified needs and/or sourcing funding elsewhere for those proposals.

During the implementation phase of the projects, candidates will be constantly mentored and provided with entrepreneurial, financial and tax compliance guidance and support in order to transform their ideas into fully-fledged businesses that are fully operational and integrated into the mainstream economy, thereby creating revenue and opportunities for employment in the wider community.

Submission and deadlines

The critical factors that must be sufficiently covered in order to have a comprehensive business plan must include the following:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Company Description
  3. Organisation and Management
  4. Market Analysis
  5. Service and or Product Line
  6. Marketing and Sales Strategies
  7. Funding Requirements and Financials

Graduates interested in submitting proposals can hand deliver their entries at the following designated offices;

  1. Bedco offices throughout the country
  2. LRA Advice Centres in Maseru, Hlotse and Mohale’s Hoek
  3. Standard Lesotho Bank Branches in
    a. Teyateyaneng
    b. Maputsoe
    c. Thaba Tseka
    d. Mokhotlong and
    e. Quthing

Entries can also be submitted in word format by email on the address: [email protected]

THE FINAL DATE FOR THE SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS IS 13th MARCH 2015. Enquiries can also be made via telephone at Bedco on the following numbers; +266 22312094 +266 52502094/5/6

Bacha Entrepreneurial project is a collaborative effort that seeks to redress unemployment amongst the youth. It intends to breed a crop of entrepreneurs who can inspire change and prosperity by becoming the creators of jobs and not job seekers. This project sets the stage for the youth to shape and determine the economic agenda of their country. Here is a chance for the youth to turn a crisis into an opportunity, especially at the time when unemployment for the youth population in Africa is increasing at a rate higher than in other parts of the world.

Bacha Entrepreneurial Project is a social responsibility project proud brought to you by BEDCO, LRA and Standard Lesotho Bank.