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Women talk business over a cup to tea

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Women in business have been advised to maintain a firm and strong ground in operating and running their business enterprises. This is a necessary trait for an entrepreneur especially for women who amongst others face challenges that include; intense competition from male counter parts, and cultural norms that tend to constrain full female entrepreneual participation. This was a discussion sparked at the WIBA annual high tea held this past weekend where female stewards gathered to explore the theme; ‘Be empowered and being a rare gem.’ This year’s installment was designed to teach aspiring entrepreneurs about the fundamental skills, attitudes, and discipline it takes to be an entrepreneur, through inspirational stories from accomplished entrepreneurs.

The guest speaker, Batsho Dambe-Groth told those in attendance that endurance goes a long way in achieving goals and reaching targets for any entrepreneur. She added that endurance does not mean that you have to burn yourself out, but rather means setting priorities, making a plan on how you are going to achieve those priorities and sticking to it. “Endure to achieve goals. If you are building your own business, you will have to keep setting and trying to meet higher and higher goals. Be prepared for that and for taking advantage of the occasional ‘plateau’ to draw breath and take stock,” she adds. Founder of Business Kraal, Neo Tlhaselo topped that up to say in enduring the process of becoming a sought after business person, one needs to learn to ignore the negatives at all costs.

“In becoming you, you will have people who will continuously feed you with negative talk, you will go to places full of negativity and negative personal relationships, but it is crucial that one ignores the negative voices,” she emphasised. Ntombi Setshwaelo who has grown to be a success in her own right said with a world full of dualities, it is important to choose wisely. “Work on the woman within, build her up, do right by her in every aspect of the way. If its relationships, job, or business deals, choose those that will enhance a better you,” she says. Thabo Mhlanga, a mentor, coach and personal development strategist amongst others, highlighted that any successful woman is a woman who has first learnt to build the woman within. “A broken woman cannot make it in business, the business world needs a strong, firm and bold beings that do not crack so easily.

Mhlanga also encouraged business women to look at being different as a bonus rather than a demerit. “Choose to stand out rather than fit in, that which stands out is noticeable and most likely to set trends and influence the business market as a whole,” he highlights. WIBA high tea aims to provide value for women’s involvement and excitement, something to look forward to on an annual social calendar. As an association, WIBA had the sole mandate of spearheading the concerns of women in business. To achieve this, WIBA continues to encourage members to interact and to engage in effective forms of networking which brought about various economic initiatives.

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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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