The Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) has partnered with Debswana to manufacture leather protective products for the diamond mining company. Through the partnership, Debswana has identified LEA’s leather incubation programme as a platform through which it can assist in growing the leather sector and at the same time empowering local SMMEs to gain skills.
LEA has produced sample products such as leather protective gloves, spats and aprons as well as non-leather items, grease drum lid covers and tool kit bags as part of the project, which was conceptualised in January 2016. As at January 2017, 60 tool kit bags had been supplied to Jwaneng mine and a further 60 and 20 grease drum covers are ready for dispatch to Orapa and Letlhakane mines.
The project forms part of Debswana’s citizen empowerment strategy that among others aims to develop local supply by capacitating local suppliers of goods and services to provide services to the mines and enterprise development around the mining areas using raw materials within those localities.
The initiative will entail a special dispensation whereby LEA assisted enterprises produce leather goods for Debswana mines with sales proceeds used for capacitation of incubatees. The long term objective is to capacitate Batswana entrepreneurs so that in future they can form their own companies and compete with other suppliers to supply such products to Debswana.
The partnership between the two organisations is aligned to Government’s call for the facilitation of local production and consumption, by Government departments, including Local Authorities and Parastatals to purchase locally produced products and service from locally based manufacturers and service providers.
LEA is currently working with Debswana to test the samples in order to meet the mine standards in terms of safety and quality. Thereafter, the products will be quality tested by the both Department of Mines and Botswana Bureau of Standards, with opportunities to access the supply chain not only of Debswana mines but that of the De Beers and Anglo American group of companies in future.
LEA values this partnership and has committed to ensure that the beneficiaries deliver as per Debswana requirements to benefit from the myriad opportunities that are available in the mining sector supply chain.
The concept of business incubation as a general rule refers to the practice of providing low-cost, property based facilities and shared services to nurture the development of new firms. LEA business incubators provide –on a temporary basis- shared premises, capital equipment, business and technical services, as well as access to finance, including venture capital and business herald network.
The modeling of the incubator program is tailored on the premise of agreed priority sectors in Botswana and forms part of entrepreneurial centers focused on development of skills necessary and the creation of an enabling environment for accelerated growth of businesses. This focus targets sectors with high growth potential.
LEA has four incubators namely; Pilane Multi-Purpose Incubator, Leather Industries Incubator, Francistown Industrial Business Incubator and the Glen Valley Horticulture Incubator. Plans are underway to open yet another incubator in the 2017-18 financial year.