About 50 interns from different parts of the country this week attended a youth empowerment workshop organised by Accenture at President Hotel, Gaborone. The workshop was aimed at helping them manage their personal finances and also to encourage them to start their own small businesses through a program called Skills to Succeed.
“Within Accenture, advancing our people’s skills is at the heart of our business. We aim to apply this same focus in the communities we live and work in and thus this initiative combines Accenture’s financial support and the employees’ skills to empower and build the people and communities,” Ogone Mothoagae, Head of Systems Integration, Accenture Botswana said.
He went on to explain that Skills to Succeed draws on one of Accenture’s core competencies, which is training and grooming talent, to help address the need for skills that open doors to employment.
As stated above, the program also seeks to encourage interns to look at entrepreneurship as an alternative source of employment. Skills to Succeed was launched globally by Accenture in 2009, and is driven locally by Visionary Grooming Empowerment Association, (VGEA), a Non-Governmental Organisation that aims to contribute to the grooming and empowering of the youth through seminars and workshops.
When giving welcome remarks, Bashi Gaetsaloe, the Managing Director of Accenture Botswana, informed the interns that this workshop gives them an opportunity to network with those already in the corporate world, and emphasized that networking is not just about exchanging contacts or business cards, but it is to make valuable connections with the person who can take you somewhere in life. Furthermore, he encouraged the participants to always think outside the box.
“At Accenture, we are committed to innovation” said Gaetsaloe. To underpin this point, he gave an example of a digital pen, used in medical centers, which is the brain child of Accenture. The pen enables doctors to capture information as it is being written on paper forms. Once the form has been completed, a doctor would only have to dock the pen in a docking station for the information to be downloaded to back-end systems for processing.
Harry Koata, Acting Head of SME Banking at Stanbic Bank, was on hand to give a well detailed presentation on essential money management and financial life-skills and consequently introduced the interns to a number of important topics related to personal finance, which included budgeting, investing and saving. He took the participants through a step-by-step detail of how to draw their own financial plan and gave them plenty of ideas on potential pitfalls to avoid.
“Always prioritise when drawing up a budget. The key is to pay items that are critical first, such as rent or mortgage, grocery …” Koata said. He went on to explain that the key to avoid overspending is to stick to the budget that you have drawn up no matter what. Finally, he took the participants through a process of how to start, register and run a business.
Available to share the life experience of an entrepreneur, and inspire the interns, was Kabelo Binns, former Group Corporate Communications Manager of Debswana, who is now the owner and Group Managing Director of Hotwire PRC & Wired Y&R.
In his remarks, Binns emphasized the importance of staying focused and hard work, highlighting that contrary to what people think, all that he has achieved has nothing to do with who his mother is, but that it was a result of his hard work.
He encouraged the participants to welcome any job that they can find as the experience gained can become invaluable in the future, citing the fact that he once worked in a printing room when he was at Debswana, a job he hated a lot, but as it would turn out, the experience he gained there has benefited his company immensely. Binns also told the interns that they should consider volunteering at local NGOs if they don’t get a job, as that would give them valuable experience which employers nowadays tend to consider on top of a university qualification.
At the end of the event, all the interns were given financial literacy material from Stanbic Bank. They were also asked to fill a form, highlighting their specific needs so that they can each be assigned a mentor that can best help them meet their aspirations. The mentors include, amongst others, Dr Pheko from the University of Botswana, Barulaganyi Mogotsi, Corporate Citizenship Manager from Debswana, Dorothy Tlhagae; Country Representative from Project Concern International, and the Accenture team led by their MD. Plans are at an advanced stage to hold a similar workshop for interns in the northern part of Botswana in October.