FIRST National Bank (FNB) Lesotho this week injected R1 million into 10 of the kingdom’s small businesses who won the bank’s Covid-19 Business Funding Competition.
The competition was meant to boost small businesses while mitigating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on their operations. It started in January this year.
The top 20 finalists received a full-day mentorship session to equip them with skills to run and manage their businesses during the prevailing tough economic times.
The winners were Dingane Super Tech Construction, House of Linford, Mofoka Agri-Projects, Monono Farm, Kuna Sounds, Mellow Snack Bar, Ralebakeng Farm Produce, Lehakoe Seed Company, Chembi Manufacturing and Bobatsi Products.
The winners shared among themselves M1 million while the losing entrants will participate in a training session to improve their business planning.
FNB chief executive officer (CEO) Delakazi Mokebe told guests at the award ceremony that her bank understood the importance of small businesses. She thanked all the businesses that participated in the competition adding that she was proud to have successfully completed the first business competition.
“Your contribution plays an important role in the survival of our economy and we believe that together we can overcome the many challenges that we face,” Mokebe said.
She ccongratulated the winners and encouraged them to continue working on rebuilding the country’s economy.
“We are excited to start this journey with these businesses. The resuscitation of the economy is key, and we all must acknowledge that small businesses are essential in ensuring sustainable growth.”
On behalf of the winners, Neo Sekhesa from House of Linford expressed her appreciation to FNB for the initiative which will help stimulate small businesses.
She said running a business was difficult especially during the prevailing Covid-19 conditions.
“Starting a business is easy but keeping it alive is difficult. We are glad that FNB has assisted us grow our businesses especially now when small businesses are faced with many challenges,” Sekhesa said.
Ministry of Trade and Industry deputy principal secretary Tśereletso Mojaki congratulated the winners and thanked the FNB for helping small businesses by offering a rare opportunity.
“FNB has greatly assisted the small businesses and we are grateful for that. We hope other banks see the good work that FNB is doing by helping businesses during these difficult times,” Mojaki said.