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Women make strides in business

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Local women entrepreneurs gathered to share their success stories in penetrating the international markets despite the challenges. Speaking during the Lionesses of Africa breakfast seminar hosted by Stanbic Bank Botswana, Sleek Food Founder and Director, Nkata Seleka said running a successful business does not require a lot of money to start but it requires ambition. Her company recently penetrated the international market by winning a tender to supply the Multinational Franchise, KFC with Chakalaka relish.

She started the company in 2010 and is currently operating from the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) Pilane Multi-Purpose Incubator. The company produces self-developed condiments, an assortment of relish, in different flavours made from locally produced vegetables. Seleka started selling her products at small events such as parties, family fun day events and individuals and later started to supply the local retailers such as Choppies, Sefalana, Spar and Pick & Pay. “I was so determined to grow this business.

I knocked on all these retail shops and never took a no for an answer. Retail was my start, my dream was to become the international brand,” she said. Founder of RH Diamonds, Rutang Moses said she has always dreamt of working in international organisations. After working for 13 years in various organisations she realised that she can own a company and work for herself.

She then registered her company last year. She said she chose the diamond sector because it is a sector which drives the economy of Botswana and it is mostly dominated by men. Through her company she wants to partner with international investors and also attract them to buy rough diamonds in Botswana.

“I have always dreamt of big things when I was young and I managed to penetrate the international job market and now I am working for myself and my company deals with international investors, everything is possible when you believe in yourself,” said Moses. Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) Group Chief Executive Officer, Catherine Lesetedi said mentorship is important for any entrepreneur as many challenges exist on the way. “Mentorship and coaching is important as it will help you to focus and be disciplined and also be strong to face the challenges,” she said.

She grew up with dreams to do big things and she continues to believe that she can do big tasks and succeed. Lioness of Africa is an online platform where successful women entrepreneurs from across the African continent share their stories and encourage others to work hard to take their businesses to the international markets. Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of Personal Markets, Omphemetse Dube said the bank is delighted to partner with Lionesses of Africa as they are committed to supporting women and ensuring that they take part in economic development.

“This is premised on the belief that we have a great wealth of talent in Botswana when it comes to women entrepreneurs, there is much to be done however in acknowledging, celebrating and empowering these women further,” she said. She said the bank continues to build on their existing efforts to support women including Women In Business Association (WIBA) through engagement with Lionesses of Africa.

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Matambo calls on financial sector to pick GDP

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Finance Minister, kenneth Matambo

Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo has announced that government is committed to support financial service sector to prop up the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Currently contributing over 13 percent to GDP, Matambo said the sector has potential to increase its share. “Hence government’s interest in the sector,” said Matambo addressing delegates at the inaugural Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), Global Financial Summit.

The country has built a strong, resilient and fast growing financial sector underpinned by a robust regulatory framework. The finance minister who is expected to step down next year, noted that government’s commitment to the financial service sector has this year been buttressed by a number of laws passed in July relating to money laundering activities.

In addition, Matambo said the continued investment in the development of information, communication and technologies (ICTs) backbone infrastructure is also to support local banks’ rising appetite for online services.

The Minister said the country remains committed to maintaining micro-economic stability to spur private sector participation in the economy. “Our vision is to become a high income country by 2036,” said Matambo, challenging the private sector to step forward and help government to develop the country, bemoaning the low levels of financial inclusion and shallow domestic capital markets.

He said the private sector should come up with more initiatives to develop further the local capital markets. The Minister’s sentiments were also shared by Martin Davies, Managing Director for Emerging Markets and Africa at Deloitte who has challenged the country to start dealing with its low manufacturing value add.

“How do we start to diversify beyond the single commodity economy,” quizzed Davies, adding that manufacturing increase is vital for low inequality across the country.

“Inequality results in bad public policy, as the state starts to believe and think they have to intervene more,” said Davies, highlighting that the country needs to move away from the absolute concept of state drive growth. Meanwhile, minister Matambo has applauded the private sector for leading economic dialogue in the country through events such as the BIHL Global Finance Summit.

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First Lady advises women entrepreneurs

Keikantse Lesemela

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First lady, Neo Masisi

First Lady, Neo Masisi has urged women entrepreneurs to bring change in the economic development of the country and the rest of Africa.

Speaking during the Lioness Lean in Africa breakfast on Friday, Masisi said women entrepreneurs are remarkable engines of economic growth and job creation. “I believe women entrepreneurs hold incredible potential and credentials on the continent because Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world.

It is projected that millions of much needed jobs will be created over the next decade and these will be created predominantly through small businesses which are mostly run by women,” said Masisi.She highlighted that women entrepreneurs are also the most powerful engine for equitably distributing growth and they are also solutions for addressing inequality on the continent.

“It is a proven fact that for many generations, women understand the simple concept of barter and commerce. These are the role models of our past and our present and they will continue to inspire new generations to do more for business to grow,” she said.

The Lioness Lean In Breakfast Series brings together inspirational and successful women entrepreneurs to share, inspire and connect with the next generation of great women-led start-ups.

The platform is based on a breakfast networking and speaker presentation format, which has been organized in locations across the African continent for the past year by Lionesses of Africa, empowering over one million women entrepreneurs across the continent.

Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of Personal Markets, Omphemetse Dube said they are pleased to bring the Lionesses of Africa Lean In platform to Botswana once again to bring together women entrepreneurs in the country and help to nurture their growth further.

“Botswana is blessed with a number of thriving female entrepreneurs, and the potential for the next generation of talent is strong. Platforms such as this are therefore paramount in growing the cause and we as a bank are proud to help champion that movement further,” said Dube.

Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa,Melanie Hawken noted that Gaborone is a growing and exciting centre for women’s entrepreneurship in Africa. “This is a must-attend event for women entrepreneurs in the country as it gives them the opportunity to hear the inspiring entrepreneurial stories of women who are building great businesses here,” she said.

The annual Lionesses of Africa event allows entrepreneurs to benefit from the insights and advice of women entrepreneurs who have seen and experienced it all and to also provide an excellent opportunity for networking.

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