CEDA’S “KE MOGAKA TOURS” unveil first -rate goods
- Over 60 businesses so far profiled - Second CEDA office recommended for the Okavango
It has been two months since the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) appointed journalist Sonny Serite as its Brand Ambassador.
In this role, Serite goes on a cross-country expedition to profile businesses of Batswana that have benefited from the development finance organization.
Through the “Ke Mogaka Tour,” he has so far profiled over 60 projects that have benefited from CEDA funding in six different branches across the country. There are 11 branches in total, and Serite aims to have covered 131 projects by the time the tour ends. The campaign is his brainchild that he successfully presented to CEDA. Its key purpose is to showcase success stories of Batswana business countrywide in an effort to inspire entrepreneurs - budding and prospective - to consider CEDA as a partner in the growth of their businesses.
“The campaign is intended to inspire and educate Batswana that CEDA exists for them,” he explains. “Having practiced journalism for such a long time, I realised we always focus on the bad that these entities do, which is good for keeping them in check, but we need to balance things out by telling their positive achievements as well.”
That is the reason that he approached CEDA with a proposal to go around collecting positive stories that can inspire other Batswana to pursue their business goals. “I am delighted to say the objective is being met because more people are showing interest in what CEDA does and want to know about its products and services,” he asserts.
“But we sample only a few projects from each branch. This is because individual branches have hundreds of projects and we cannot cover all of them and therefore pick about six or eight projects per branch across different industries such as manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure and agriculture.”
Serite’s role as CEDA Brand Ambassador has seen him morph from the highly critical journalist that he was to an intermediary between CEDA and the nation. In the course of his visits to the businesses, he sees the challenges and hears the concerns and recommendations to CEDA. “In short, I am the eyes and ears of CEDA,” he says.
During his tours, Serite has realised that obtaining land is one of the biggest impediments to businesses. “Many struggle to get land from land boards in time while those who have land struggle to get title deeds,” he says.
To overcome this, Serite recommends a close interface between government departments, including and especially land authorities. Some challenges that emanate from CEDA specifically include turn-around times from when a person applies for funding to the time that the person is finally funded. “People feel it takes too long to get feedback on whether the loan has been approved or rejected, something that is often due to the applicants not submitting all the documents required,” he notes.
He recommends establishment of another CEDA branch in the Okavango because people in Seronga have to travel over a long distance to Maun for the services of this critical development finance agency. CEDA recently introduced new guidelines to address the many challenges faced by Batswana business owners and potential entrepreneurs who want to get financial assistance from it. Loan repayment periods have been extended and loan ceilings increased.
Speaking about the most memorable encounter with enterprises, Serite singles out a stationery manufacturer in Selibe-Phikwe. “It is difficult to pick one because many of them have really impressed me,” he says. “I have seen Batswana producing goods I could never have imagined were possible to make in our country. One of these is Better Stationery in Selebi-Phikwe that makes first-rate envelopes and soft cover and hard cover exercise books for use by students.”