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Entrepreneurs are spark plugs of the economy

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A delegation of four young entrepreneurs arrived last Friday from India after completing a two-month entrepreneurship course courtesy of ‘Shoshong, Your Investment Destination.’ Entrepreneurs occupy a central position in a market economy.

For it’s the entrepreneurs who serve as the spark plug in the economy’s engine, activating and stimulating all economic activity. The economic success of nations worldwide is the result of encouraging and rewarding the entrepreneurial instinct that’s why  the organisation, ‘Shoshong, Your investment  Destination’ sent the four young people to India to learn more  on how to  develop businesses as well as learn about the Indians’ entrepreneurial culture. 

On December 1 2015 three ladies were sent to India and graduated in Women and Enterprise Development course which ran for two months. Another group of delegates  was also sent to India and graduated in a Trainers Trainee on Entrepreneurship and Promotion of Income Activities.

One of the participants, Lentle Tshiriletso told Business Trends that she has learnt a lot in India especially on how women manage to sustain their lives through their talents and skills. “They are not just basing on the government like us Batswana but rather they create jobs for themselves,” she said. It is very clear that in Botswana most women are so exposed to poverty though they have skills and talents that they use to sustain themselves.

Tshireletso observed that in India women take entrepreneurship more seriously and businesses are found everywhere even in small villages. “People with businesses do form groups and work together, cooperating, something that helps them to succeed.” Kelebile Gasenna said they observed that the use of technology is another factor for success in enterprises.

“In India the entrepreneurs use social media to market themselves and they have online shopping which makes it easier for them. Having access to Internet makes it easier for them to interact with customers all the time,” she said.

On future plans they said they will implement what they have learnt in India here at home by training people and encouraging Batswana to use their skills.  For his part, Nicholas Mokongwa, one of the organisers of the trip said they intend to send more locals to India to gain business skills, which they can use to transform their communities. India is known for its robust SMMEs sector.

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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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