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Basotho entrepreneurs connected with potential investors

By :Liapeng Raliengoane

MASERU – Relationships Inspiring Social Enterprise (Rise) in partnership with The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN) held a networking event for Basotho entrepreneurs dubbed Rise Connect last Thursday.

Rise Communications and Marketing Manager Mojabeng Ndebele disclosed that the purpose of the event was to connect start-ups to potential partners and investors, and to create a platform for building relevant relationships for the growth of Basotho entrepreneurs.

She indicated that after two years of being online, rise Connect this year was hosted in-person. “Rise Connect is a Rise initiative that aims to create a platform for young entrepreneurs where they can access resources that they otherwise do not have access to, resources for business incubation, market access and more.”  

Rise Country Director Reitumetse Nthako introduced rise as a United States and Lesotho registered non-profit social enterprise. “Through our professional network in the design and architecture industry, we link aspiring entrepreneurs in vulnerable communities in low income sub-Saharan African countries to essential resources they do not have access to. Resources provided include technical and soft skills, business and entrepreneurship training, work experience in the built environment sector, access to market and other business incubation services.”

Nthako made known that rise has an In Loco programme, which engages local Non-governmental organizations, students and young graduates from local architecture and construction courses, as well as international participants with an interest in architecture, development, sustainability and the built environment to create a network of shared knowledge and experience to help change the cities and rural villages of tomorrow.

On behalf of TEN, Stephen Monyamane stressed the importance of grooming local entrepreneurs in pursuit of sustainability. He said Rise brings solutions to Basotho, for Basotho by Basotho.  He also spoke about the importance of meaningful collaborations to counter the challenge of limited resources in Lesotho.

While presenting the Innovation Bridge Portal Digital Incubation (IBP500) Program by the World Bank, Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Consultant Grace Legodi revealed that its objective is to give entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn different elements at their business development digitally.

Legodi indicated that this program will benefit entrepreneurs who are at various life stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Those that graduate from the program will be provided with mentorship and coaching support for market access and investment readiness, and will be get opportunities to connect to both private and public investors.

One of the three entrepreneurs who pitched through the IBP500, Lead Entrepreneur Limpho Lepheana from Kingdom Diagnostics said this entity aims to bridge the gap which exists in Lesotho of lacking proper laboratories both in human pathology and animal technology, lack of adequate skills on radiology screening and many more.

This event was in partnership with the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO), the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Partial Credit Guarantee Fund, Innovation Bridge and the World Bank Group.