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Gaone Mabalane, perseverance embodied

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Driven by passion for business and love for children, young entrepreneur, Gaone Mabalane realised that she can create employment by taking care of children. She registered a business in 2014 and started operating a day care centre in February this year through the assistance of Youth Development Fund. Her school, Little Saviours Academy, enrols children from one to six years. It is located in Block 8 Suburb of Gaborone. In an interview with Business Trends, Mabalane said the school is an innovative solution that acts as virtual parents, broadening the children’s skills and enriching each child’s cognitive, social and spiritual development. The school is different from other Pre-Schools as it has combined the national Pre-primary curriculum framework combined with ABC Jesus Loves Me, which focuses on academic development and the Bible.

“My passion is to develop children at a young age, so I have constructed my programmes and learning experiences that will give children endless opportunities to learn and grow in six areas including nurturing creativity, developing lasting life skills, growing a healthy body, making new friends, building brain power and communicating with others,” said Mabalane. She wants to contribute to economic development through education. “I love children and I always want to train them and help them realise their potential at a young age.

Looking at unemployment rate I decided to turn this passion into a business concept,” said Mabalane. Starting up the business was not easy as she had no funds and all financial institutions believed that the business was not viable. She needed more than P200 000 to start-up but she was only funded for P100 000, however, she managed to do other projects including the upgrading of infrastructure. Although several institutions and regulators including Gaborone City Council and Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development rejected her, Mabalane was determined to see her business operating so she persisted and never got discouraged. “It was not an easy path for me to arrive at this stage.

I was consistently rejected by youth funders and the city council also refused to grant me the license. I had to go through courts, lost cases and I appealed and finally got approved. Starting up a business is not easy, it takes courage and faith,” she said. Currently, she has enrolled 10 students and employed two people. She will employ up to five teachers when students enrolment increases. The school is licensed to enrol 50 students and has a ratio of 10 students per teacher. School fees are offered at an affordable price of P3600 per term or at an instalment of P1200 every month.

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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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