MMB unveils landmark initiative
Project Kickstart seeks to help the young generation venture into sustainable businesses
By Bereng Mpaki
MASERU- Maluti Mountain Brewery (MMB) yesterday launched an ambitious initiative codenamed Project Kickstart, which seeks to help the youths start and develop sustainable businesses.
Project Kickstart would train and finance budding entrepreneurs selected through an application process by an independent team of business experts.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony held at the Lesotho Sun hotel, the MMB Managing Director Mr Tom Mpedi said Project Kickstart is a corporate social responsibility programme that is heeding the call made by government for private sector-led growth anchored on employment-creation.
“Lesotho, as a country, faces many social challenges and one of them is bettering the lives of her people. The National Development Strategic Plan highlights one of the priorities for Lesotho as reducing poverty through creating employment opportunities and also reducing social vulnerability.
“Therefore, the launch of this project is Maluti Mountain Brewery’s way of heeding this call and is in line with our sustainable development priorities which include enterprise-development and benefiting the communities in which we operate. I am pleased to announce that we are investing M500, 000 into Project Kickstart as our way of accelerating youth entrepreneurship in Lesotho,” Mr Mpedi said.
Explaining how the project would run, the company’s Corporate Affairs Director Mr Mosuoe Mapetla said applications from prospective youth entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35 years would be considered.
The applicants, Mr Mapetla added, could either be unemployed or employed, although those in employment would have to make an undertaking to leave their jobs once they are selected as winners of the project.
“The application forms will be screened and evaluated by the Kickstart Adjudication Panel, which will shortlist the top 20 applicants to attend a 10-day Business Skills Training Programme, to equip them with the necessary skills and competencies to write Business Plans, start-up a new business and improve their management of an existing business.
“The Kickstart Adjudication Panel will then interview the applicants subsequent to the re-submission and convene to select the winning applications, which will be awarded funding for their business idea and/or business expansion of up to a maximum of M100, 000 each,” he said during the launch.
Mr Mapetla also said successful project-winners would further receive post-award business mentoring and coaching to ensure the sustainable success of their business ventures.”
Asked how many winners could be expected from this year’s edition, Mapetla said the number of eventual winners would depend on how well the applicants do during evaluation by the panel of judges after having undergone training.
“We are not looking for any specific kind of business idea to finance. What is important is the originality of the business idea, viability, the ability to employ some people, and also the passion for the business by the applicant.”
Meanwhile, on behalf of SAB Miller Africa, of which MMB is a subsidiary, Mr Larona Makgoeng applauded MMB for the initiative which has the potential to shape the future of Lesotho.
“As SAB Miller, we take a good learning experience from this initiative, to say that in our view they are demonstrating leadership as a good corporate citizen. In today’s world, the expectation for business is to do more than just business; to look beyond what they do on a day to day basis and look at what opportunities through which they can impact societies within the community in which they operate,” Makgoeng said.
“Given what they have done with this initiative, we do hope society at large, other corporates and stakeholders, will come on board to put their weight behind MMB to ensure the successful running and delivery of the Kickstart programme for the youth for the future of Lesotho.”