The Chief Executive Officer of the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), Thabo Thamane, has called on the private sector to assist the young, upcoming entrepreneurs by developing a philanthropist approach of mentoring, training, partnering and guiding them into business.
During the recent Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) Youth Expo trade fair in Francistown, Thamane revealed that there is need by the private sector to invest more into youth based organisations.
“Give the youth an opportunity to develop their businesses through partnerships or affiliation, and by supporting their products and services,” he said.
He went on to state that CEDA has already done a lot to support the youth such as the Young Farmers Fund, which is targeted at agribusiness. He also mentioned that there is also a strong need by the youth to collaborate and work together as a movement for empowerment and take initiative when it comes to constructive dialogue.
Thamane said youth in the country continue to experience unemployment problems, especially in urban areas, adding that entrepreneurship can be the answer to such a challenge.
“Entrepreneurship provides an opportunity to address some of the challenges faced by the youth in our country,” Thamane stressed.
However, he also mentioned that the youth need to acknowledge that the road to successful entrepreneurship is not always easy as many might think as it is littered with challenges and obstacles, which require an individual to be very dedicated.
He also said that some of the challenges which exist are access to land, lack of managerial skills, as well as credit worthiness. Thamane went on to advise the youth to take advantage of the government policies in place such as the reviewed Public Procurement Asset Disposal act which now favours local entrepreneurs.
“The government introduced a Presidential directive on the use of Locally Manufactured Goods and Services in 2004, which directs Central Government, Local Authorities and Parastatals to purchase all their products from locally based manufacturers provided that the goods are locally available, competitively priced and meet tender specifications which the youth can take advantage of,” he added.
Thamane further encouraged local businesses to enhance quality into their products to be attractive for the government to procure without compromising efficiency. He encouraged the youth to conduct their own markets research, business analysis, upgrade their skills and constantly seek for opportunities.
He also added that Botswana has an opportunity to strengthen its regional integration in business, especially in Southern Africa by improving its standards, regulations and reforming its cross border trade policies.
The BOCCIM Youth Expo in Francistown, which was the first of its kind in the country, attracted different young entrepreneurs across the country. The objective of the Youth Expo was to try and encourage, build networks and create platforms for young entrepreneurs to reveal their talents, exchange ideas and interact with other young people from different backgrounds.