‘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.”
On 26 – 29 May 2021, BOCRA, in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and United Nations University, hosted a virtual workshop on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).
Bringing together Statistics Botswana, Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) and the Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control, the objective of the workshop was to equip Botswana with tools to record incoming electrical and electronic goods to better estimate the quantities of electronic waste that will be produced when these products reach their end-of-life cycle and become e-waste. Botswana, currently, does not have a legislation to address to the issue of e-waste.
E-waste is a health and environmental hazard as products containing toxic additives or hazardous substances are mostly dumped or incinerated rather than being collected for treatment and re-use of recoverable substances. This is especially so among most of the developing countries.
E-waste includes discarded household or business items that have electrical and electronic circuitry components with a power or battery supply such as mobile phones, computers, printers, televisions irons, refrigerators, kettles etc.
The Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 report estimates that 53.6 million metric (Mt) tonnes was generated in 2019, making e-waste the fastest growing domestic waste stream. The report also indicates that only 17.4 percent of the 2019 e-waste was collected and recycled.
The ITU estimates that e-waste quantities have been rising rapidly in the past 5 years due to several factor such as rapid growth of the digital society, higher consumer demand for digital devices, short life cycles and few options for repair.
According to the ITU, e-waste is a challenge and an opportunity. The ITU calls on member states to develop legislations and strong partnerships with industry and businesses to protect human health and the environment from the consequences of inadequate handling of our discarded devices.
Modipane based brickmaking company Katlego Bricks received a brand new stock brick machine and mentorship from leading cement producer PPC Botswana this past Wednesday.
“Community development is important because it provides the foundation a society builds off of to improve the lives of its citizens. It creates strong, diverse communities that can attract and keep talent, start and grow businesses, and overcome issues that arise. Katlego Bricks has been a loyal PPC Cement consumer in the Mmodipane area.
What is more impressive is that this brick yard is led and managed by a lady who understands the craft of brick making so much,” said PPC Botswana Head of Business Unit Tuelo Bolthole.
The arrival of the new brick-making machine is expected to increase productivity at the Modipane based Katlego Bricks which has been using 25 cement bags in a day and will be expected to use at least 40 bags in a day due to the new machine.
During the brick-making machine handover, Katlego Bricks and Modipane residents were also equipped with highly advanced brickmaking skills by PPC Botswana experts. Through this highly advanced mentorship, the trainees are also expected to start producing high-quality and competitive bricks.
“We have brought highly skilled experts that will be drilling you with the latest skills of molding bricks, these are experts that have worked on some of the best projects in Botswana. Remember PPC Botswana cement has also been used to build some of the iconic structures we have in Botswana such as the iTowers, Dikgatlhong dam, and the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. I am giving these examples to show that PPC Botswana does quality work and after this workshop, all the brickmakers involved will be producing high-quality work too,” Botlhole said.
Katlego bricks founder Patricia Katlego Mokgwa was in a jovial mood after receiving the brickmaking machine. She believes that the mentorship and machine will improve the business operations and will improve productivity in her business.
Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) through its Corporate Social Investment initiative has donated over Five Thousand Eight Hundred (5800) washable, reversible 3-ply face masks and related COVID-19 essentials to Motswakhumo Junior Secondary School in Lentsweletau, Kopong Junior Secondary School and Letsholo Primary schools in Kopong, in the Kweneng district. The respective schools received two (2) face masks for each pupil, teacher and the rest of the staff; 25 litres of sanitiser and dispensers, all at an estimated cost of One Hundred and Eighty Nine Thousand Pula (P189,000).
Ms Tsaone Ruth Thebe, BOCRA Board Chairperson, officiated at each of the handover sessions held at the respective schools. Representing the Mmopane/Lentsweletau Constituency Office was Mr Masego Thantshane, Administration officer. Mr Puso Gaotlhobogwe, District Commissioner (Molaodi) also graced the three occasions.
BOCRA recognises its role as a corporate citizen and believes that the COVID19 pandemic calls for responsive and relevant inputs to the immediate needs of the community.
In receiving the PPEs, school authorities expressed gratitude to BOCRA, noting the dire need for PPEs in their schools. They all echoed that the gesture would go a long way in filing the gaps.
For more information, please contact:
Mr Aaron Nyelesi
Director, Broadcasting and Corporate Communications