BY RUTH KEDIKILWE
In a bid to attain its main role of developing indigenous entrepreneurs, the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) this week announced the funding of a fishing project spearheaded by a freshly-out-of university entrepreneur – Samuel Ntshiiwa
The 23 year old Ntshiiwa recently completed his studies in Mining Engineering at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) and has already pocketed P200, 000 which was cash prize at the CEDA/Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) University challenge.
Ntshiiwa intends to pursue a career in Fish Farming through a project that will be set up in Tsamaya village in the north-eastern part of Botswana.
“My idea is unique in the sense that it is one of the first citizen owned fish farm projects to be implemented in Botswana and the product is in high demand as-well, the project does not only satisfy the need for employment but goes as far as ensuring food security in the country at large and cutting down the importation of fish”, Ntshiiwa said.
The project will also explore the possibility of fishing at a subsistence level and intends to do their best in creating sustainable employment, encouraging women empowerment and improving the lives of the impoverished in general.
Speaking at the prize giving ceremony Vice President Slumber Tsogwane commended CEDA and DBSA for their mutually beneficial strategic partnership which will is deemed to be contributing to Government’s efforts of empowering youth through financing bankable sustainable business ideas. Tsogwane further stated that this challenge has been sculpted to engage the youth in developing working solutions which will ultimately address challenges faced by society as a whole. He awarded special mention to the debut 2017 winner Lebogang Pule who came up with producing organic fertilizer using worms which in accordance with Botswana’s aspiration of feeding the nation.
This year’s competition was graced by 140 students submitting proposals, top 50 nominees were announced in September this year, the selection criteria of the top 50 involved, a rigorous evaluation process that considered among others originality, marketability, practicality of implementation, scalability and social impact.
CEDA Chief Executive Officer Thabo Thamane said the University Challenge has potential to change the lives of the Top 10 finalists. Thamane said CEDA was very impressed with the growth in numbers and quality of presentations at the University Challenge, further reiterating the agency’s commitment to nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship among the youth.
The finalists proceeded to defend their proposals verbally before a panel of three judges comprising of local corporate giants; Sennye Obuseng, Molefi Nkwete and Tiny Kgatlwane. The top ten finalists were awarded with P10,000 cheques courtesy of CEDA. The top five were announced and were awarded an all expense paid trip to China to benchmark on how to best implement their proposals courtesy of Ernst and Young. The Victor of the night emerged as Ntshiiwa walking away with P200,000 prize money, P10,000 top ten money and the all expense paid trip to China.
The grand prize money was set at P200,000 if won by a man and an extra 50,000 would have been added had the winner been a woman.