Monday, March 1, 2021

Botswana’s top 5 privately held businesses

To shine the spotlight on private businesses that demonstrate strategic sustainable growth, earlier this year one of the leading audit firm, Grant Thornton partnered with Business Botswana to start searching for a privately held business that approach growth from both strategic and holistic perspective to create a positive impact beyond bottom line. The Private Business Growth Award (PBGA) is for businesses that demonstrate holistic growth and encompass a broad range of activities across their business such as innovation, market development, people and culture, strategic leadership and improvements in financial measures. Apart from the inaugural winners, Sprint Couriers, forming part of the finalists was Jamal Trading Company, Gabs Bedding, Flo-Tek as well as Security Systems. 

SPRINT COURIERS: Growing by leaps and bounds

Listed amongst the leading logistics companies in the country, Sprint Couriers was on Wednesday named the inaugural winners of the first ever Private Business Growth Award (PBGA). This was not the first award of the female led company as it was recently recognised by the Woman in Business Association. There is absolutely no doubt that Sprint Couriers has grown by leaps and bounds, from being a small operation of six vehicles, 16 employees and five offices in 2006, the Block 3 Industrial based company now boasts of 100 vehicles,over168 employees and 16 offices. This growth had made it possible for the company to expand into South Africa and Zimbabwe. 

The company directors’ shares that as their market share increased they began to also increase their product offering to include domestic, international, freight and Value added services. Sprint Couriers’s project director, who is also co-owner and founder, Michelle Gebrial said Wednesday when she received the PGBA that her company’s story of growth will not end anytime soon. Gebrial announced at the awards that her company has since partnered with Aramex, a company based in Dubai to open a branch in Gaborone which will enable them to meet the needs of yet another market. Under Aramex, Sprint Couriers clients are able to shop online and courier parcels and documents to even more countries across the globe. The company also intends to venture into renting out warehouses. 

JAMAL TRADING COMPANY: Suppliers of quality building materials

The Company is a well known household brand on Hardware Suppliers and has been in existence for over 30 years in Botswana. The company is said to be a brainchild of Jamal Ahmad, the wife to property tycoon, Mohammad Ahmad who owns sizeable land and property across the country. Sharing the story about the humble begging of Jamal Trading Company, the owners indicate that it started with five bags of cement. To date the company has developed its brand by serving different market segments. Despite having been burnt to ashes in 2005, the company says it continue to source the “best quality building material and hardware products”, both regionally as well as internationally, at the best price. It also provides various essentials services, such as, estimating from plans, site visits, and transport facility that enable it to provide the best service.

GABS BEDDING: Built by Old Naledi dwellers 

An interesting note to make about this Ray Morgan owned company is that it has been powered by dwellers of Gaborone location known as Old Naledi. The founder reveals that as a way of empowering the community by offering them jobs, most of the employees that were hired when the factory was still based in G-West industrial were from Old Naledi location in the capital Gaborone. Old Naledi is home to people who are usually classified as ‘low income’ earners. Gabs Bedding, a manufacturer of spring mattresses and base set, houseware, lounge suites, couches and Ottomans was started by Ray Morgan in 2001. Morgan is not shy to note that by then, he had began and successfully ran a distribution company. He note that Gabs Bedding started in a 600 m2 warehouse in Gaborone West industrial with six employees, a number which has since grown to over 230 direct employees. The company also mentions of some 110 indirect employees and operational space of 7000m2. Gabs Bedding sells a bulk of its products to major furniture retailers within the borders of Botswana and beyond in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

Flo-Tek: Keep it flowing for you 

While there has been a general call for water Utilities Corporation to abandon its tag line, “keep it flowing for you”, due to its recent failure to consistently supply water to Gaborone dwellers and businesses, Radical Investments, which trade as Flo-Tek Pumps and Irrigation, seems to be the most preferred owners of that tag-line. The company which manufacturers’ unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) pipes, High density Polyethylene pipes and rotomoulded products has also been named amongst the finalists of the Private Business Growth Award. Although the Commercepark based company did not walk away with the award of the night, it was perhaps the growth of the company that pushed the jury which included De Beers resident Chief Executive, Neo Moroka, First National Bank Botswana CEO, Steven Bogatsu as well as Hiran Mendis of the Botswana Stock Exchange amongst others to consider it amongst the top five privately held businesses that has a spark of greatness. At its inception, Flo-Tek only produced PVC pipes but in 2003 and 2004 it expanded its product lines to include rotational moulded products and HPDE pipes respectively. 

SECURITY SYSTEMS: Serving the industry since 1983 

With a headcount surpassing 4000, local security company, Security Systems also made it to the list of unlisted companies that have over the years demonstrated holistic growth and continue to encompass a broad range of activities across their business. With over 30 years experience, the company says it is one of the most sought after security companies in the country. It was started by Gabriel Nkgetse and Mick Reay in 1984 as a home security company. However, to date the company has expanded its operations to include guard services, CCTV monitoring services, tracking and apprehension, undercover operations, safes and locks, smoke boxes and cash transits services. Its owners admit that their company has persevered through difficult times of market resistance and the mushrooming of security companies in the country. Its fleet of vehicles currently stands at 300 while the recently opened Ghanzi office tallied the number of branches to 17 across the country.

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