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Businesses must support each other - CEO
08/02/17

It is important for businesses to support one another by using each other’s services and products.

Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) chief executive officer, Mr Thabo Thamane, said this at a client appreciation forum hosted by CEDA for their Gaborone clientele.

He said the forum presented an opportunity for the agency to engage with businesses on their challenges and successes.

 In the past, Mr Thamane said businesses accused government of not doing more to support citizens in business.

“But what you need to ask yourselves as local businesses is, are you supporting each other,” he quizzed.

Mr Thamane said CEDA was looking at making a business directory for easy identification and for purposes of knowing each other and working together in business.

 “Currently, we have 12 branches countrywide and two mobile units to service our clientele,” he said.

He noted that on an annual basis, CEDA spent approximately P6.5 million on business advisory services.

“This money we spend outside of the funding we give to businesses,” said Mr Thamane, further adding that CEDA failed dismally with regards to some projects that needed mentors.

He informed participants that CEDA introduced an electronic feedback machine in 2015 to help the agency with advice on their services and suggestions.

Mr Thamane further spoke on a customer survey done for the year 2015/2016 in which the agency scored 66 against a target of 67 per cent.

“We failed and what you are saying to us is that we are not servicing you well in other aspects such as turnaround time and us being rigid in forms of payment,” he said.

The customer survey he said prompted them to draw up a customer service culture plan.

“We want employee behaviour to be consistent all around our branches,” he said.

He indicated that part of the survey also spoke on customer segmentation.

“Clients that have been in good standing with CEDA and have a proven track record should be segmented instead of just treating everyone the same way,” he said.

“We also did a business model review which showed us that we are still relevant in the current business environment, but we have a risk of unsustainability,” he said.

Mr Thamane advised customers on what they needed to do, to have a fruitful relationship with CEDA.

He said viability of a project depended not on who one knew at the agency adding that political interference was not something he took lightly.

“My contract ends in 2020 and I want to assure you that I am not going anywhere. People sometimes try to influence you by using political connections but that is not how we do business.

Everything we do is above board and we try and help everyone accordingly without any favours,” he said.

One of the most important things one can do for their business is to keep a record of everything. Records are everything, whether it is a big or small business, he said.

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