Medical entrepreneur Lebeho Teboho Ntsepe’s dream of building the first private hospital in Qwaqwa, Free State, is slowly becoming a reality following the success of the three medical practices he started with the help of the Free State Development Corporation (FDC).
He has received a further R2 million in funding from the FDC to buy a vacant plot of land suitable to build the new hospital.
The FDC was established by the Free State Provincial Government to promote small business development in urban and rural areas of the province.
Ntsepe currently owns and runs Dr LT Ntsepe Surgery, which he started eight years ago. Here, he juggles entrepreneurial duties with his tasks of being a medical doctor – he attends to his patients daily.
He says he found himself in “dire need” to expand his medical services business to meet the demands for medical attention in the region.
He then approached the FDC offices in Phuthaditjhaba, where he applied for financial and material support.
“I have known about the FDC, which makes an effort to make itself known to the community. When I opened my first general health services practice in Phuthaditjhaba, I set my sights on expanding my business.
“The FDC helped me buy the house where I currently operate from and provided finance to me for equipment and stock,” says Ntsepe.
A cash injection by the FDC saw him buy a house opposite the premises he now uses as a general health practice, which he then converted into a fully functioning optometrist and dentist practice.
Plans are already under way to set up the hospital: build it from scratch, fit the latest operating equipment, and have it operational in a few years.
The FDC’s services range from developing sustainable small businesses and commercial co-operatives through financial and other business support services.
It provides business loans of between R5 000 and R5 million to qualifying enterprises that apply for support at the organisation’s walk-in offices.
According to Victor Maleeme, the FDC’s corporate communications officer, business loans are designed to assist in growing co-operatives, young entrepreneurs, informal businesses and franchises.
To qualify for non-financial and financial backing, entrepreneurs in the province must submit their business plans at the organisation’s various satellite offices situated all over the Free State.
Maleeme says: “All they must do is apply. We will appoint an expert or mentor to qualifying businesses to help them draft a business plan. We accompany them through the process of legitimising themselves, growing their operations, and employing young skills.”
- Go to www.fdc.co.za for more information.