‘BancABC took the time to understand our business. They recognised the potential in us.’
“Our story as business owners begins when we founded SignXpert together in 2013,’ begins Kefilwe Ruwona. I wasn’t always an entrepreneur.
In the years before we formed the business I would help my husband with his signage operation on a part-time basis. I loved to keep myself busy on evenings, weekends and holiday with mostly administrative tasks he didn’t have time for. That’s my strength.”
She continues: “He was working very hard and I could see there was potential in this industry. After a couple of years, I made the big decision to resign from my job, and join him full time to help grow the company. In the beginning, we were very small: a tiny premises with three staff members. But we had everything we needed to make this company a real success, a strong work ethic, good understanding of the industry and a handful of happy customers who were giving us repeat business.”
“However, there was one key ingredient we were missing. The only way to unlock the next level of growth was to upgrade our machinery. We needed top-of-the-line new printers so that we could expand and diversify. But we didn’t have that kind of money, and that’s when we started having a meaningful dialogue with BancABC. They took the time to understand our business and seeing the potential in us, offered us a loan to acquire the machinery we needed to grow — and grow we did,” she smiles.
“The new machines enabled us do a lot of new things that stimulated the business. I estimate that we grew tenfold in a short space of time,’ explains Jackson Ruwona — who currently divides his duties between being the co-owner and front-line operations manager of the business.
‘We have been able to transition into a full-service signage and branding business. Very few citizen-owned SMEs in this industry are able to make that leap,’ he adds, it is the financial backing we have received from BancABC has given us the confidence to scale up. We have qualified for additional funding over time because we always honor our loan agreements. Never missed a payment!”
Ruwona reflects on the COVID-19 shutdowns and the impact they have had on the family business. “During the Lockdowns, our factory was running at full capacity because many of our clients needed us as they responded to the pandemic. We were printing labels for hand sanitizer bottles and new signs for all kinds of workplaces.
We also make branded buffs which are a great alternative to face-masks. We have stayed relevant to the changing needs of our customers. Our marriage gives the business its stability and foundation as we are united in our vision for what this can one day become, we share the workload, the ideas, the setbacks, and the credit — everything is equal.”
Letshego Holding Limited (Letshego Group) has officially launched the LetsGo Digital Mastery Programme at an event held at Masa Protea Hotel in Gaborone. This follows their recent recruitment campaign for 10 candidates across Botswana, where over 1,000 applicants applied for the programme.
The Letshego Group is a truly African multinational organisation committed to achieving social impact through its retail financial services strategy across 11 sub Saharan markets. Letshego first opened its doors in Botswana 23 years ago and today has over 3,000 employees including Direct Sales Agents, or “Digital Eagles”.
Letshego customers include individuals, as well as micro and small entrepreneurs (MSEs). Letshego Holdings Limited (holding company) is listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, with subsidiary listing on the Namibian stock exchange. Presence markets include Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Eswatini, Lesotho, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria and Ghana
Following the rigorous selection process of the candidates. 15 brilliant minds were announced for the enrolment in the programme, compromising 10 members of the public and 5 Letshego employees from across its 11 country footprint. This is part of Letshego’s people-first strategy that aims to build future-fit communities where digital or tech is used as a strategic enabler for growth and economic development.
“Today we confirm the successful candidates for Letshego’s inaugural LetsGo Digital Mastery Programme, as you are our first COHORT of Digital Associates to our Digital mastery Programme in the region, you will be trail blazing a path and setting the standards for our future cohorts in Botswana, as well as our next Mastery cohorts set to launch in other Markets,” said Letshego’s Group Chairman Enos Banda.
Qualifying applicants demonstrated foundational digital expertise, and a passion to expand their aptitude into digital financial skills and hands on regional experience within the swiftly evolving financial sector.
“By 2100 one in a three people will be African- this means that by the end of this century, our region, Sub Saharan Africa, will be home to almost half of the young people on the globe. Finding innovative ways to empower fellow Africans with digital and entrepreneurial skills will not only build future leaders but also support future economic growth”, said Banda.
Recruitment was managed by Letshego’s education and leadership training partner, ‘Fast Forward innovation’ compromising a world class approach with a series of exercises, tests and interviews. Psychometric assessment were used to measurable, objective data and comprehensive view of suitability, enabling scientific credibility and objectivity in the selection process.
In congratulating the candidates Banda said that they are excited to welcome the 15 bright young individuals to LetsGo and they look forward to seeing them flourish and grow in to tomorrow’s bright young leaders. Banda further added that these Digital Associates have managed to navigate and process through a thorough and intense selection and today they are awarded their tickets to a journey that is destined and designed to open doors and dynamic opportunities for personal growth to ultimately brighten their future
This was followed by practical projects where candidates were introduced to Agile Methodology and tested on their digital ideas, personal planning and ability to deliver. Finally, the candidates were taken through a series of interviews with Letshego Executives to discuss potential, verify experience, qualifications, drive and organisational fit.
Letshego’s Intern Group Chief Executive Aupa Monyatsi added that The LetsGo Digital Mastery Programme is a unique way they are extending the benefits of digital transformation outside of their organisation. “Though this programme we are supporting the Botswana Government’s objective to build a knowledge-based economy, as well as empowering individuals with entrepreneurial mindsets and skills to spur sustainable and innovative development to grow future leaders and benefit our nation,” Monyatsi concluded.
The 18-months LetsGo Digital Mastery includes a practical learning sponsorship worth over P500, 000 per candidate to develop a digital business idea through training and practical learning. The candidate will gain expertise and become confident digital leaders with international exposure. At the end of the programme, the candidates will be enabled to grow innovative digital ideas from the sand box and ideation phase to a minimum viable product and to grow and scale existing business ideas by harnessing digital technologies.
On Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st June 2022, Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet) will hold breakfast seminars with the banking and financial services sectors to engage on data protection and cyber security issues.
The aim of the seminars is to create awareness about the impending Data Protection Act (2018) and how BoFiNet can partner with the industry to assist them to comply with the Act. During the engagement sessions, the Data Protection Commissioner, Ms. Kepaletswe Somolekae will address the industry on the Data Protection Act, which came into effect in October 2021; and a grace period of 12 months was given to persons and organisations that have custodianship of personal data, to ready themselves to comply with the Act.
This grace period comes to an end in October this year. Another speaker at the event, Mr. Chris Johnson of African Cyber Security, will share with the attendees, the latest trends and insights on cyber security in Africa.
BoFiNet will also share with the stakeholders an update on the data centre project currently being undertaken by BoFiNet at Botswana Innovation Park in Block 8. Known as Digital Delta, the data centre is a 1,000sqm, 400-rack vendor-neutral facility that BoFiNet will complete later this year, that will provide colocation and Internet Exchange Point (IXP) solutions for the local market.
BoFiNet is a wholesale provider of telecommunications and ICT services to licensed Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Value Added Network Service Providers, Public Telecommunications Operators in Botswana and internationally. The company owns and operates the largest fibre network infrastructure in Botswana.
The new sustainability initiatives aim to contribute towards greater best practice efforts and supporting the local community
Introduction of the New Executive Chef who aligns to the sustainable food and dining experience
Gaborone, Botswana – March 29th, 2022 – Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone has officially launched its new and innovative sustainability initiatives as part of Travel with Purpose, Hilton’s Environment, Social and Governance strategy meant to redefine and advance sustainable travel globally.
The initiatives extend into the dining and culinary experience, with new Executive Chef, Shaneil Dinna, championing a new approach to food at the hotel. Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone has made deliberate efforts to incorporate local “touches” thus presenting local signature dishes on the new menu.
Beyond the new sustainable culinary approach, Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone will be implementing other initiatives such as:
Meet with Purpose – Meeting Impact Calculator – Hilton is launching Meeting Impact Calculators which uses data gathered from our Light Stay platforms in partnership with South Pole, one of the leading developers of emissions reduction projects worldwide. This is in effort to track and measure our carbon footprint, with the end goal of reducing emissions. The report produced from the calculator details the predicted carbon, energy, water, and waste generated by meetings and events.
Hilton Africa Big 5 – Through our drive to prioritise sustainable travel and tourism in Africa, Hilton has launched a campaign to focus on five key areas, namely: Wildlife Protection, Local Sourcing, Youth Opportunity, Water Stewardship and Anti-Human Trafficking. This is in line with the buy local #PushaBW campaign, which also prioritises local sourcing and youth empowerment. This initiative will be highlighted at the upcoming #PushaBW Brunch in May.
Ms. Thabani Ndlovu, General Manager at the hotel, said, “At Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone, we pride ourselves in being an establishment that exemplifies sustainable tourism, development, and leadership. The hotel is moving towards aligning itself with the Botswana national eco-tourism strategy.
We are purpose-driven and constantly strive to represent the brand’s commitment to building a sustainable environment, all the while contributing towards protecting the planet for generations to come. We have also welcomed a new team member, Executive Chef Shaneil Dinna, whose menu incorporates traditional and home-grown ingredients. He will no doubt also contribute towards recognising and preserving cultural heritage.”
Chef Shaneil brings more than 18 years of experience in an array of contrasting and complex environments within the hotelier industry. His previous roles include working at The David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa (in Zambia) and The Hyatt Regency in Johannesburg. Shaneil’s focus will include working to define the menu for more local food appreciation, as well as incorporating more local brands and produce into his kitchen.
With the world becoming even more aware and concerned with the impact travelling has on the environment, the hospitality industry is working towards creating a lasting positive impact on the planet. The continuation of environmental sustainability is essential for businesses such as hotels to grow and evolve – an outlook synonymous with the Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone brand.