By Neo Kolane
A sum of M600, 000 was shared among the eight businesses that won the Standard Lesotho Bank (SLB) COVID-19 entrepreneur support competition launched on September 17.
The money is intended to boost the businesses to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The winners were in the sectors of agribusiness, retail and service categories and were announced live on a local TV programme last week.
From Maseru Region, Denim Printing won M75, 000.00 for printing while Mofoka Agri-Project received M45, 000.00 for Vegetable farming. From the Retails (groceries)’s Falimehang general dealer received M100, 000. 00 and Bataung General Dealer received M50, 000. 00.
Hair Lounge and Beauty Clinic for the beauty services walked away with M90, 921. 84 and Chembi PTY LTD for their manufacturing of soap production walked away with M50, 000. 00
Sibusiso Poultry Farm PTY LTD in the poultry farming from Butha Buthe received M90, 650.00 and from Berea region, Sekamane farming in the piggery and poultry sector they walked away with M60, 000. 00.
A statement released this week says the bank launched this competition to lend a helping hand to fully Basotho-owned businesses that have been impacted negatively by COVID-19 in order to ensure that they keep their businesses opened.
The intention of the competition was primarily to provide financial support to enable businesses to re-stock and revive business activities, and also position them for success as economic activities gradually go back to normal.
“The competition forms part of the bank’s initiatives to bring to life the new brand positioning of IT CAN BE, which is premised on how the Bank continues to find new ways to make Basotho dreams come true. The competition also doubles as a commemorative event to mark the 25th anniversary of SLB,” the statements says.
The prizes in this competition are not a loan, but capital grants that will be monitored to ensure that winning businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic and grow.
The competition was open to businesses that are fully owned by Basotho nationals who are either sole proprietors, companies, partnerships or cooperatives that have been in operation for a minimum of three years and employing over three employees. About 182 entries were received throughout the country in the categories of retail, manufacturing, agriculture, services, food supply and infrastructure.
“We are indeed extremely pleased that the competition went very smooth and we were able to demonstrate our resolve to revive hope in our people to say, yes, indeed ‘IT CAN BE’ despite the challenges we have faced as a nation. This is our contribution to reviving our small and medium enterprises, who remain our only hope for economic growth.” said Manyathela Kheleli, the Acting Head of Marketing.
Kheleli added that this competition is also a celebration of the bank’s silver jubilee, which is celebrated in a way that inspires Basotho to work together to build the Lesotho that we aspire for.
“On behalf of the bank, we also extend our appreciation to all the businesses who took part in the competition. Like in any competition, not all could be winners, but we thank you for your efforts,” Kheleli remarked.
This year alone, the Bank has also spent over M2.4 million in COVID initiatives on entrepreneurship, the health sector and food security.
Standard Lesotho Bank was established in 1995 in a merger between the former Lesotho Bank and Standard Bank. With the asset book in excess of M9.2 billion, Standard Lesotho Bank commands over 50 percent of the market share and remains the number one bank in Lesotho by assets and profit, and the most recognized financial services provider with representation in all the districts of the country.