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Barclays opens Enterprise Development Center

Publishing Date : 12 August, 2019

Author : ALFRED MASOKOLA

Barclays Bank of Botswana recently opened a state of the art enterprise development centre, becoming the country‘s first commercial bank to have an in house, all services incubation base for local entrepreneurs.


When official opening the centre in  Gaborone last week Minister of Investment, Trade & Industry Bogolo Kenewendo said Barclays has set itself apart and proved beyond reasonable doubt its commitment to supporting government business  development efforts especially in the areas of Small Micro & Medi,.um Enterprises (SMMEs).


The Barclays Enterprise Development Centre is an extension of Enterprise and Supply Chain Development program launched in 2018, this time to assist the bank’s SMME customers with training and mentorship, conference room for meetings, a space to work for those who don’t have permanent offices, work stations, wifi and printing services.


Kenewendo says the Barclays Enterprise Development initiatives   speak to her Ministry‘s SMME development apex  contained  in the 2018 Roadmap  in which   MITI committed to  prioritizing  entrepreneurship and advancement of SMME’s as a catalyst to achieving economic growth and development as well as economic diversification. “These initiatives by Barclays Bank are proof that indeed the private sector is supporting our efforts as government, and that is commendable” she said.


Honorable Bogolo noted that her Ministry has since setting out the new road map been busy with programs aimed at increasing and broadening local production through Buy Botswana campaign which promotes the production and consumption of locally produced goods and services. These initiatives includes amongst others the Street Market Day held periodically where local producers, display their goods and services to a pool of consumers and retailers in the end  unlocking value chain business opportunities, partnerships and sales networks.


“Our campaigns and initiatives such as the Street market day has enabled us to partner with local retailers towards providing shelve space and market uptake for our locally produced goods, we are all about creating wealth and ensuring that Batswana have meaningful participation in the growing economy “highlighted Kenewendo.


Deliberating on the new offering Barclays Head of Enterprise and Supply Chain Development Ms Kushatha Chilisa said the Bank has embarked on the initiative as a away  to address the challenges  SMME’s are currently battling with , which are access to finance and lack of security for loans, lack of office space amongst others . 


Chilisa highlighted that with SME development efforts by government, parastatals and other organizations advancing local supply sector the new centre should argument these existing offerings and help SMMEs flourish. “Our Enterprise Development Centre is open on Mondays to Fridays, between 8am and 5pm, for our SME clients. It is located along Old Lobatse Road, above the Barclays Industrial Branch and access will be free on pre booking basis” explained Kushatha Chilisa.


Managing Director of Barclays Botswana Mrs Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane said with the Enterprise and Supply Chain Development the bank supports SMME’s as they are the drivers of economic growth and employment creation. “At the core of our ESD Programme is opening up the supply chains of large corporate for the benefit of SMEs as well as providing bespoke financial and entrepreneurship support. This is all done to facilitate sustainable business enterprises” said Barclays Boss.


ESD will positively impact the business community and in turn benefit the whole country. “Barclays will continue to support the government efforts to ensure it has a robust economy that can compete and attract Foreign Direct Investment” she said. Last year Barclays launched the Enterprise and Supply Chain Development Programme, a bespoke initiative by the bank aimed at enabling SMMEs access to finance and credit facilities. 


The program which laid foundation for the development centre launched last week , was explained as  purchase order financing scheme for  small medium enterprises engaged in supplies and procurement  ,both for government and private sector  intended to  capacitates  the SMMEs with access to markets, finance, and business support.


“We will be giving loans to qualifying SMMEs with evident financial discipline and book keeping record without asking for security.” explained Kushatha Chilisa early last year. The Barclays ESCD programme has since commencement dispersed over P80 million to SMEs in different sectors of the economy. In 2019 just above P50million has been spent as at end of June with a total of P100 million targeted to be disbursed by the end of financial year. Barclays revealed that the SMMEs loan book will increase year on year, pursuing the banks ultimate target of P1 billion after by 2022.

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