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Entrepreneurs get inspiration in Denmark

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Three local youth-led enterprises had an opportunity to join hundreds other international youth-led enterprises in Copenhagen, Denmark at the Creative Business Cup International Final, and are back to make an impact in Botswana. Creative Business Cup is the global initiative for entrepreneurship and innovation that supports startups, connects entrepreneurs to investors and global markets. The three are Martin De Klerk Moatshe of IFirsh, Donald Ramotshebe of Medmall Africa and Leungo Tebogo of Ba Hana Farmers Market.

IFirsh

Martin De Klerk Moatshe runs Ifirsh, a technology company that develops Applications. The company has developed an app that refines purchase processes and does among others; purchasing analytics, provides information on where ‘your’ customers are and how much they spend. The app also sources customers strategically and manages them. According to Moatshe, the trip to Copenhagen came at the right time when they were seeking an international audience for their app. “This app is relevant to the current environment in both private companies and governments, especially now that governments are implementing e-government strategies,” Moatshe told Sun Business. This app is expected to optimise operations and promote transparency in procurement in government especially at lower levels. “This opens the market to even SMEs. For example, if a government department needs stationery worth P5 000, there is a transparent process where this procurement can take place.” Moatshe said in Copenhagen there is a high level of belief in startup businesses as key drivers of the economy from key stakeholders like government, investors and incubators. IFirsh is now working on setting up a startup in one of Europe’s leading tech countries after they had fruitful discussions with the country’s ambassador in Denmark who found their app to be relevant as an e-governance solution. “Now that we are back in Botswana we are working on repackaging our platform, making it more robust, increasing it’s functionality and build traction to it. The Business Cup is a great platform for all entrepreneurs because there is an international community out there that will help you develop your business model and put you on the map.”

 

Medmall Africa

Medmall connects doctors and patients and brings critical health care information to people in rural areas by creating content catering to their needs. Medmall representative in Denmark, Donald Ramotshebe said in an interview that going to Copenhagen was a good and rare opportunity that enabled him to rub shoulders with other hi-tech young entrepreneurs from around the world. “It was encouraging and motivating. I learnt a lot about what other people are doing to change the world, one startup at a time,” he said. One thing that Ramotshebe realised is that the level of competition in the area of technology and innovation in Europe is high. “I learnt that I cannot do projects with a monoscope of Botswana, but I need to think big and cater for global scale,” Ramotshebe said. While in Copenhagen, Ramotshebe met a local medical team that seeks ways of effectively and efficiently sorting medications in facilities and discussed possibilities of collaborating. “Now that we are in 2018, I am hoping for great opportunities of working with them going forward,” he said. Ramotshebe found the networking sessions to be beneficial as he met different people from startups, entrepreneurship partners and investors. “Some of the insights I got from the trip are ways in which to make my startup concept better and get it ready for market. I also got insights from other entrepreneurs on which markets to focus on.”

 

Ba Hana Farmers Market

The highlight of the Copenhagen trip for Leungo Tebogo of Ba Hana Farmers Market was the bootcamp. This is where they met and interacted with several other young entrepreneurs from other countries. They were taught vital skills of running global businesses and running startups in workshops and sessions that were designed to suit each entrepreneur. There was also a market day where winners exhibited in a global expo. Ba Hana Farmers Market is an outdoor grocery store that gives local startups a platform to showcase their products. It helps farmers and other entrepreneurs in the agricultural value chain to grow from small scale to large scale. They provide a unique platform where farmers get the opportunity to sell directly to their market and interact with other entrepreneurs and share skills and experiences. One thing that Tebogo learnt from Copenhagen is the fusion of technology and agriculture, which she plans to implement in Botswana over time. “We managed to form relations with other young people who are in similar businesses like us and were exposed to unconventional farming methods, which we believe could help us and even our clients deal with the current challenges of agriculture in Botswana,” Tebogo said. Tebogo encourages every entrepreneur especially startups to never let such great opportunities go without giving them the best shot. “Creative Business Cup is a great way to give your startup the necessary push in the right direction.”

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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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