Local time: Monday, 20 October 2014 10:06:30hrs
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Starting a Business
Ideas for Opening a Business

One of the key success factors for the local SMME sector is the continued generation of new business ideas which are essential for the achieving the diversification of both the sector and the economy. The Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) has, at its disposal, several sources that provide opportunities for generation of new ideas. Among these are, the numerous trade agreements between Botswana and her trading partners such as the SADC Trade Protocol, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Cotonou  Agreement, Southern African Customs Union Agreement (SACUA), and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

These trade agreements provide preferential market access to members states. They also provide investment opportunities for the business communities in the members states. For instance, under AGOA, which seeks to improve trade and economic co-operation between the United States of America(USA) and Sub-Saharan Africa(SSA), there are 6500 products lines which can be exported to the American market duty free. Local SMMEs have the opportunity to start businesses in the production of these items with the assurance of the readily available market.  Investing in these new product lines will relief those sectors that are already overtraded. The initiative will further add resonance to the quest for sectoral and economic diversification.

On the home front, LEA continues to work with different stakeholders to identify new business opportunities within its four main sectors. In tourism, LEA encourages SMME entrepreneurs to harness opportunities availed by the local eco-tourism sub-sector. There is great potential for the development of new businesses and products in this sub-sector through the harnessing of the culture heritage, historical sites, folklore products, arts and crafts, to name but just a few. As a popular destination and transit point for international tourists, Botswana's SMMEs will reap significant benefits from investing in these products. They will also make a measurable and noteworthy contribution to a sector that has been foreign dominated in a long time.

The manufacturing sector also provides major potentials and opportunities when one looks at Botswana's import bill. The country consumes more than 80 % of finished products which are imported from neighbouring countries. This situation presents great manufacturing opportunities with noticeable market potentials both locally and regionally. LEA has already taken some initiatives intended to assist SMMEs harness these opportunities. One such an initiative is the Business Linkages Programme which has component targeting the utilisation of waste and by-products from local copper mines, the beneficiation of copper, and the supply of mining inputs.
Enrollment Process

A Potential Entrepreneur registering with LEA undergo a process called screening to determine entrepreneurship skills, characteristics and traits as well as competencies that would indicate if he / she can start and run a sustainable growth oriented business.

The screening process provides us with a 'gap analysis' to assess what the entrepreneur actually needs even before starting the business. Once this has been established, LEA is then able to provide business development skills to bridge the gap and to create a more holistic entrepreneur. The application / screening process is clearly detailed out below:

  • A potential entrepreneur approaches LEA for services.
  • The entrepreneur's business idea is assessed and discussed with the Business Advisor. Once the entrepreneur's idea falls within the key sectors, and the Business Advisor is fully satisfied with the business idea, the promoter is advised to fill in the application form.
  • Entrepreneur is given application form to fill. Application form is thereafter checked by the Business Advisor for completeness.
  • The application form is then screened and scored according to LEA rules and regulations.
  • To qualify for LEA services, applicants must score 60% and above.
  • Upon acceptance into the LEA program, a meeting is conducted with the applicant in order to ascertain the current situation with regard to the business idea. Applicants who were unable to meet the minimum requirement of 60% are advised to wait for a period of six months before seeking LEA assistance again.
Local Business Authority Support for New Businesses
  • Business Skills Training - Entrepreneurs are given skills to improve their business and enable them to grow. The required skills are imparted to entrepreneurs by Business Development Service providers (trainers, mentors and consultants). These skills include among others management skills, marketing and financial skills.
  • Access to Finance - LEA facilitates access to finance through credit facilitation and loan application. To built relationship with financiers LEA has signed Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Credit Facilitation – The clients will be shown all the available financiers, their requirements and products and the benefits they have for small businesses. However, the final decision to choose a financier lies with the client.
  • Loan Application - Through Business Advisors, LEA assists clients to apply for financing.Assessment is made on the financing plan prior to selection of a suitable product.
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