Two years ago, Alan Boshwaen assumed the top post as the Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) as Chief Executive Officer with the priority to set up a new functioning company.
Today, he is pushing the BIH agenda in order for the company to start off in a strong position to engage directly with clients in Botswana and abroad and begin delivering on the mandate envisioned of advancing science technology and innovation and serving as a vital and trusted partner to technology oriented ventures and, ultimately, contributing to economic growth and job creation.
In an interview with Sunday Standard, Boshwaen pointed out that the immediate issue at hand was to work to expeditiously resolve overhanging challenges inherited in 2011 that were impeding the more rapid implementation of this national project and even putting it at the risk of collapse.
He has also spoken about the support of the BIH Board of Directors that have set up the overall governance systems for the BIH and recruited a professional performance oriented team. He added that they are currently operating out of the temporary premises at Botswana Technology Centre in the Fairgrounds.
“We have created a sound legal and financial basis for a high level of commercial orientation and sustainability in our operations over time by enabling a special purpose subsidiary company to be in operation called BIH Properties Pty Ltd,” said Boshwaen.
He expressed satisfaction that in the last quarter of 2012 BIH received varied encouraging bids from several companies to work with and that they are at this point in time still negotiating and adjudicating internally so that some of these proposed developments can be invested into and tangible shape in due course.
He emphasized that BIH’s goal is to create a unique offering for Botswana and the region leading technology ventures in the Park and not merely to duplicate or compete with some of the real estate development going on in other parts of the city.
“As an organisation, we have now already earmarked and budgeted to spend a total of P490 million on these initial, exciting landmark buildings. The buildings’ design, which you may have seen from our publicity materials, have themselves already captured global attention featuring on “Autodesk” – an international design feature publication,” he stated.
He revealed that already BIH has registered 17 entities as BIH compliant; adding that they received a certificate to this effect and part of this compliance is that they agree that they will ultimately move their base of operations to the BIH Park and help them to fulfil their agenda.
“In return they qualify for various incentives normally accorded to priority investors in any country. They cover areas such as design and manufacture of mining drill rigs, custom design of diamond jewellery and watches, specialised ICT services,” he stated.
He also spoke about the physical location of the BIH Park next to the Diamond Trade Company (DTC) Head Quarters which creates significant opportunities to support the relocation project as it gathers momentum in areas such as providing real estate in a unique integrated park, training and support opportunities to new companies that identify various technology market opportunities in the DTC client base.
“From time to time, one gets frustrated if things go wrong but ultimately it is about team work and adherence to high standards from an ethics stand point given the resources entrusted to us but also being able to do things and think differently that moves me,” said Boshwaen.