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Motswana furniture manufacturer in Kanye aims high

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Kefentse Baitshoki was inspired to start his own company, Baitshoki Investments, and create employment for other youths in Kanye after working as a furniture manufacturer for four years. Baitshoki, 33, told Sun Business that he started the furniture manufacturing company because he wanted to use his skills to meet people’s needs and also create employment. The company specialises in manufacturing couches, slay beds, car seats and upholstery.

He also repairs damaged furniture and car seats. Baitshoki was motivated by his experience gained in working for a furniture manufacturing company. “I was employed as a furniture manufacturer and through the skills and knowledge I acquired I realised that I can also do this business and create employment for other young people and contribute to economic development,” he said.

He acquired business skills through training at Local Enterprise Authority (LEA). “I enrolled in LEA training in 2012 when I was still working with my friend who was also running a business”. He started the business using his own personal savings. “The business required a lot of money to start but I was so determined and could not see lack of funding as an impediment to start, so I used the little money I had to buy the manufacturing equipment,” he said. While still doing business, he applied for Youth Development Fund and was funded to the tune of P100 000.00 to boost the business.

Currently he has five employees. Baitshoki says the business is doing well and the demand for furniture is very high but he is limited by low production capacity. His major clients are the corporate sector and government. “The market demand is very high. The problem is I have little capital which does not allow me to beat my competitors because of less production,” he said. To expand the business Baitshoki said he needs the industrial machines to increase production capacity. “Currently we are using small machines.

The big machines will help us increase the speed of production and will be able to manufacture more furniture,” he said. He is determined to grow the business beyond its current market in order to penetrate the national market. “I see the business being the supplier of other furniture shops countrywide, as our major service is manufacturing. I want to approach CEDA to seek more funding,” said Baitshoki.

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LEA partners with Ministry for youth businesses

Keikantse Lesemela

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Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, (MYESCD) has partnered with the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) to create a pool of competitive and sustainable youth businesses.

Through the partnership, business management and mentoring services will be provided to the Youth Development Fund (YDF) beneficiaries to enhance their efficiency and capacity to manage and sustain their businesses.Speaking during the signing ceremony MYESCD Deputy Permanent Secretary, Kago Ramokate said the ministry has always had a challenge with lack of expertise mentorship to young entrepreneurs so partnership with LEA will assist the ministry to effectively deliver its mandate.

“Training and mentorship has been a challenge for us because our officers mostly do not have business background so this partnership will address this,” said Ramokate.In his remarks, LEA Chief Executive, Racious Moatshe said the partnership is paramount to achieve government initiative of creating a pool of competitive and sustainable Small Medium and Micro Enterprises that will significantly contribute towards the diversification of the economy. It is also expected to meaningfully impact local communities through employment creation and import substitution.

“We want to ensure that youth businesses are run properly with proper funding. Both institutions will jointly conduct research that has direct impact on scaling up of youth owned businesses in Botswana,” said Moatshe.

He said over 2 500 youth businesses have received LEA intervention. “We want to see more youth businesses succeed”. Meanwhile, the ministry has been urged to come up with a better strategy to effectively deliver the YDF program and produce successful youth businesses. According to the Auditor General’s report for the past year, Pulane Letebele pointed out that the operation of the fund was highly unsatisfactory because of lack of proper monitoring and mentoring of the beneficiaries, financed from the Fund on a 50 percent grant 50 percent loan basis.

The Auditor General complained that two years after the Public Accounts Committee called for a stream lining of the Fund’s accounting system to allow for proper debtor accounting, nothing has been done.The 2015 Auditor General’s report has revealed that all five regions that had been selected for audits during the year show that the fund has failed. “In Maun about P20 million was disbursed in loans and only P400 000 has been paid while P640 000 was the total of arrears covering the entire period from inception of the fund in 2009,” reads the report.

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Ex Debswana boss counsels graduates

Keikantse Lesemela

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Speaking at the graduation ceremony of Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) on Saturday, former Managing Director of Debswana, Balisi Bonyongo said graduates and citizens need to position themselves to develop a clear technology and innovation strategy and roadmap that would enable the nation’s transformation into a knowledge-based economy.

“We need to create an entrepreneurship centre that would bring industry and the college together, to form a powerful force that would co-create breakthrough solutions capable of diversifying our country’s economy,” said Bonyongo.

The college released 645 graduates from different fields on Saturday. Since inception 22 years ago over 11 000 professionals graduated from the school. Bonyongo highlighted that graduates should approach problems creatively to provide sustainable, scalable and exponential solutions that could yield tremendous economic value.

“I urge all graduates to leverage technology and innovation to deliver practical solutions to society’s most urgent problems. Use your qualifications to seize opportunities to do what you love and enjoy,” said Bonyongo.

BAC Executive Director, Serty Leburu said between 2017 and 2018 they have experienced growth in the number of new students both full time and part time. “This mark of quality has inspired us to spread our wings and expand into other markets through various collaboration models,” she said.

Leburu revealed that they are currently in the process to introduce online learning to effectively support part-time students as well as provide some programs digitally. The college has partnered with several international universities including, University of Derby, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Sunderland and SAP University Alliance as well as Microsoft and the Cisco Academy.

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