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Thato Mahube wins Orange Bonatla le Botswerere challenge

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Thato Mahube of Amazing Services is this year’s winner of the Orange Botswana’s Bonatla le Botswerere Women’s Challenge. Amazing Services, a 100 percent Botswana owned company founded by Thato Mahube was crowned winner last Friday.

The WIBA affiliated company provides communications solutions and wellness events management. The winning product is an A4 sized leather folder which doubles as a card holder and diary, offering complete convenience of holding all the necessary valuables in one folder.

The competition, an initiative of Orange Foundation was launched in July and closed in September 2015. It has been running for the fifth consecutive year. The Bonatla le Botswerere Women in Business Corporate Gift Challenge, targets all women entrepreneurs and SMMEs.

The competition’s primary objective is to provide local women an opportunity to design and produce corporate gifts, which Orange then buys in bulk for its stakeholders. Orange has specifically reserved a budget of P100, 000 to buy the gifts from Amazing Services.

This initiative is one of Orange’s many women empowerment initiatives aimed at boosting women SMMEs, given the challenges that they face as small businesses operating in the country.  In addition to the P100 000 worth of supplies to Orange, Amazing Services will get additional benefits.

“Her company gets to enjoy free opportunities to exhibit her products at different platforms facilitated by Orange Foundation. So this is a great opportunity for women such as Mahube who are trying to grow their businesses and penetrate the market,” says Orange PR and Foundation Manager Boga Chilinde-Masebu. 

Since the beginning of the initiative in 2012, over 100 candidates from all over Botswana have participated, with 52 entries having been received for this year’s competition alone. These are women involved in different areas such as arts and crafts, fashion design, textiles, bakery, body and beauty, food and beverages, upholstery and linen making.

According to Chilinde-Masebu, the 52 submitted proposals went through an internal evaluation process to select the winner. “The main focus points for evaluation criteria covered among others; creativity, innovation, craftsmanship, usefulness of the proposed product and durability. The fundamental selection criterion was based on the applicant ability to demonstrate that they manufacture or make the products themselves,” she says.

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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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