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Youngster takes over aluminum business

Keikantse Lesemela

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Young entrepreneur, Dikgang Ntala Tlhabuswe has seen his hardwork and loyalty elevate him from a labour to a business owner, taking over from Botswana Alluminium founders

The company provides construction services specialising in installing, alluminium windows, door frames, curtain walls, skylight and partitions. Speaking to the Business Trend, Tlhabuswe said he started working in the company as a labourer for 15 years and has been working hard being loyal to his employers. He said his employers offered him to buy the business as they are going back home.
“ I completed my JC in 1998 and I was employed as a labourer in this company.

My bosses loved me because I was hard working and very loyal and trustworthy. So when it was time to go back to Serbia in 2016 they left me with the company,” said Tlhabuswe. He bought the company in partnership with his brother.

Tlhabuswe told Business Trends that he has never thought of running a company but through this offer he realized that it was not difficult to be an entrepreneur as his bosses encouraged him to take the offer because he had skills and experience in the business. He bought the company at a value of P300 000 and continued with the previous employees. He said he started gaining entrepreneurship skills in 2016 by attending business seminars such as Gabane Youth Business Pitso.

“I come from Gabane so when I heared about the Youth Business Pitso I decided to attend it so that I can learn more about how to operate a business. Currently, I want to enroll for business courses to upgrade my skills,”

He said the company is doing well above the competitors as he offers special alluminium from Europe compared to other local and South African suppliers, who offer lighter alluminium. Currently the company has six employees. Tlhabuswe said most of his clients are individuals and few contractors but he is currently satisfied with the profits.

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‘Manufacturing holds key to economic growth’

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Barclays bank’s economist Naledi Madala has urged the country to consider manufacturing, as a key tailwind to drive the economy and reduce inequality.

She was speaking at a gathering organised by the bank which focused on economic outlook for 2019. “We should not make a mistake of leapfrogging without manufacturing,” said Madala, lamenting that the country’s diversification remains a pipeline dream, as the diamond is still the economy’s mainstay. She bemoaned that mining activities in the country could not spring forward diversification, though non-mining GDP has been steady over the years.

“Extractive industries are not good stepping stones for diversification, the sector does not prepare us for the next step,” said Madala at the Barclays’ Economic Outlook Forum Review 2019. The economist further noted that government should confront head-on challenges of productivity and competitiveness to attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Though diversification efforts continue to hit a brick wall, Madala said the country should expect increased activities in the mining sector hinged to ramp up in coal production in the year ahead.

She also implored government to consider a welcoming attitude towards foreign investors and generous tax incentives to businesses that set up in the country. Madala is also upbeat that the use of public private partnership model could also help diversify the economy coupled with privitisation. “Privitisation will offer opportunities for growth, through the renewed optimism from government, as business confidence has improved,” said Madala.

She implored the government and the business community to access what is going to drive and hinder growth highlighting that key headwinds to growth are income inequality, diversification challenge and productivity, among others. “The pace of poverty reduction has slowed down, while income inequality goes up,” said Madala

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MINISTER BEWAILS BAD REPAYMENT BY YOUTH

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama has told parliament his ministry continues to face challenges on the repayment of Youth Development Fund (YDF) loans.

Recently presenting the budget to Parliament, Khama said this financial year the ministry has received a total of 2582 YDF applications and approved 983of them to the value of P98 million. He said the programme attracts a high level of interest from youth but the ministry is only limited to funding a maximum of 1200 youth projects annually due to budget limitations.

“However the greatest challenge for the Fund is the repayment of the loan component by the majority of the youth businesses. The youth have advanced number of challenges for this including high rentals for operating spaces, low market access owing to tight competition and limited production capacities,” said Tshekedi, adding that they continue to pursue beneficiaries to repay the loans.

Out of the 919 businesses funded 1058 jobs have been created. The minister highlighted that disbursements of funds will continue to be undertaken until the end of the financial year. “The YDF is currently under review in line with the pronouncement made by the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in the State of the Nation Address, to improve beneficiaries through training, and encourage consortia and cooperatives,” said Tshekedi.

The ministry assists YDF beneficiaries in marketing their products and services through fairs and exhibitions. The ministry also runs entrepreneurship-training seminars for youth and in the past year 3692 young people were trained. Over 600 youth businesses attended fairs and exhibitions to market their products and services. Currently the ministry is collaborating with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), First National Bank Botswana and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) on training in entrepreneurship development and mentorship of YDF beneficiaries.

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