Development Advance Institute head, Otto Von Rudloff
A novel entrepreneurship advancement scheme championed by the Development Advance Institute (DAI), termed Gabz FM MADE BW has coalesced with soccer boss and retail linked tycoon Jagdish Shah to embed seeds of entrepreneurship to in due course produce numerous Batswana youth millionaires.
The initiative which is billed to be an annual entrepreneurship contest comes in the form of a competition where applicants develop a business proposal to be submitted for assessment after candidates will be shortlisted to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.
After the applicants have made their presentations and their proposals have been put through the judging process, a winner with the most innovative and viable idea will be selected and be taken through a 1 year Entrepreneur Development Program where they will be assisted with tools that will aid them to become a successful entrepreneur.
Development Advance Institute head, Otto Von Rudloff who urged Batswana youth to move from a mind frame and outlook of entitlement and donations said that as the country grapples with the sticky quagmire of joblessness, the Development Advance Institute has become convinced that its antidote is not the handing out of contributions and food parcels but in offering the youth a launch pad to take up their ideas.
The DAI, Von Rudloff said is convinced that if an individual conceptualises a business idea they are more likely to be more fervent and enthusiastic in its execution thus easily succeeding.
Von Rudloff also signalled that the competition is open to all business sectors and entrants who have to meet three qualifying requirements being that one has to be a Motswana, be under the age of 40 as well as being registered and accredited to enter the competition; a process that will take back an individual entrant P1 200 back.
He continued saying that all major national cities will have training centres responsible for schooling the competition entrants with basic business blueprint and document preparation such as business proposals and plans, which they have proposed that training classes accommodate 35 learners.
Additionally the winner of the contest will receive a 12 month worth of mentorship from Jagdish Shah to further their opportunity to successfully set up their business idea.
The ultimate contest winner is at present set to bag the overall prize of 1 million pula which Von Rudloff hinted could be increased, inclusive of a BWP100 000 monetary prize, 12 months worth of office space, 12 months worth of radio advertising airtime as well as newspaper advertising, 12 months worth of web accounting service, 12 months of a digital marketing strategy as well as business coaching and corporate branding.
Gabz FM MADE BW benefactor and business mentor Jagdish Shah who expressed immense faith in Batswana youth, said in a retort one-liner that “the initiative’s elemental goes back to me as I am made in Botswana.”
Shah also said that as much as he is going to be offering tested business counsel to the sole ultimate winner, all the competition entrants’ are victors since they will be motivated enough after going through a rigorous lawfully accredited business crash course and business mentoring.
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The recent study on youth entrepreneurship in Botswana has identified difficult access to funding, land, machinery, lack of entrepreneurial mindset and proper training as serious challenges that continue to hamper youth entrepreneurship development in this country.
The study conducted by Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) in collaboration with University of Botswana has confirmed that despite the government and private sector multi-billion pula entrepreneurship development initiatives, many young people in Botswana continue to fail to grow their businesses into sustainable and successful companies that can help reduce unemployment.
University of Botswana researchers Gaofetege Ganamotse and Rudolph Boy who compiled findings in the 2022 study report for Botswana stated that as part of the study interviews were conducted with successful youth entrepreneurs to understand their critical success factors.
According to the researchers other participants were community leaders, business mentors, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture, financial institutions, higher education institutions, non-governmental institutions, policymakers, private organizations, and support structures such as legal and technical experts and accountants who were interviewed to understand how they facilitate successful youth entrepreneurship.
The researchers said they found that although Botswana government is perceived as the most supportive to businesses when compared to other governments in sub-Saharan Africa, youth entrepreneurs still face challenges when accessing government funding. “Several finance-related challenges were identified by youth entrepreneurs. Some respondents lamented the lack of access to start-up finance, whereas others mentioned lack of access to infrastructure.”
The researchers stated that in Botswana entrepreneurship is not yet perceived as a field or career of choice by many youth “Participants in the study emphasized that the many youth are more of necessity entrepreneurs, seeing business venturing as a “fall back. Other facilitators mentioned that some youth do not display creativity, mind-blowing innovative solutions, and business management skills. Some youth entrepreneurs like to take shortcuts like selling sweets or muffins.”
According to the researchers, some of the youth do not display perseverance when they are faced with adversity in business. “Young people lack of an entrepreneurial mindset is a common challenge among youth in business. Some have a mindset focused on free services, handouts, and rapid gains. They want overnight success. As such, they give up easily when faced with challenges. On the other hand, some participants argue that they may opt for quick wins because they do not have access to any land, machinery, offices, and vehicles.”
The researchers stated that most youth involved in business ventures do not have the necessary training or skills to maintain a business. “Poor financial management has also been cited as one of the challenges for youth entrepreneurs, such as using profit for personal reasons rather than investing in the business. Also some are not being able to separate their livelihood from their businesses.
Lastly, youth entrepreneurs reported a lack of experience as one of the challenges. For example, the experience of running a business with projections, sticking to the projections, having an accounting system, maintaining a clean and clear billing system, and sound administration system.”
According to the researchers, the participants in the study emphasized that there is fragmentation within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, whereby there is replication of business activities without any differentiation. “There is no integration of the ecosystem players. As such, they end up with duplicate programs targeting the same objectives. The financial sector recommended that there is a need for an intermediary body that will bring all the ecosystem actors together and serve as a “one-stop shop” for entrepreneurs and build mentorship programs that accommodate the business lifecycle from inception to growth.”
Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) is said to have recorded an operating surplus of P61 Million, an improvement compared to the previous year. The housing, office and other building needs giant met with stakeholders recently to share how the business has been.
The P61 million is a significant increase against the P6 million operating loss realized in the prior year. Profit before income tax also increased significantly from P2 million in the prior year to P72 million which resulted in an overall increase in surplus after tax from P1 million prior year to P64 million for the year under review.
Chief of Finance Officer, Diratsagae Kgamanyane disclosed; “This growth in surplus was driven mainly by rental revenue that increased by 15% from P209 million to P240 million and reduction in expenditure from P272 million to P214 million on the back of cost containment.” He further stated that sales of high margin investment properties also contributed significantly to the growth in surplus as well as impairment reversals on receivables amounting to P25 million.
It is said that the Corporation recorded a total revenue of P702 million, an 8% decrease when compared to the P760 million recorded in the prior year. “Sales revenue which is one of the major revenue streams returned impressive margins, contributing to the overall growth in the gross margin,” added Kgamanyane.
He further stated professional fees revenue line declined significantly by 64% to P5 million from P14 million in the prior year which attributed to suspension of planned projects by their clients due to Covid-19 pandemic. “Facilities Management revenue decreased by P 24 million from P69 million recorded in prior year to P45 million due to reduction in projects,” Kgamanyane said.
The Corporation’s strength is on its investment properties portfolio that stood at P1.4 billion at the end of the reporting period. “The Corporation continues its strategy to diversify revenue streams despite both facilities management income and professional fees being challenged by the prevailing economic conditions that have seen its major clients curtailing spending,” added the CEO.
On the one hand, the Corporation’s Strategic Performance which intended to build 12 300 houses by 2023 has so far managed to build 4 830 houses under their SHHA funding scheme, 1 240 houses for commercial or external use which includes use by government and 1 970 houses to rent to individuals.
BHC Acting CEO Pascaline Sefawe noted that; BHC’s planned projects are said to include building 336 flat units in Gaborone Block 7 at approximately P224 million, 100 units in Maun at approximately P78 million, 13 units in Phakalane at approximately P26 million, 212 units in Kazungula at approximately P160 million, 96 units at approximately P42 million in Francistown and 84 units at approximately P61 million in Letlhakane. Emphasing; “People tend to accuse us of only building houses in Gaborone, so here we are, including other areas in our planned projects.”