Kgalagadi Beverages Trust (KBT) this week unveiled successful young Batswana who have received grants under its flagship empowerment initiative popularly known as Kickstart programme.
The programme, which is a social investment arm of Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) and Botswana Breweries Limited (BBL), is running into its sixth year.
This year four projects out of the nominated 10 have received grants that run to close to half a million Pula.
Hloni Matsela, the Group Managing Director for KBL, told a function in Gaborone on Thursday that the initiative seeks to make a difference on young Batswana.
“We deliberately chose to invest in the youth, for they are the future of our nation and thus present a good investment business case. In the youth, we did not see a risk as is often the common and general view. Rather, we saw an opportunity,” said the MD.
“The X factor that the youth possess is that they are daring, energetic, and agile in their approach to challenges and have the ‘power of explosive ideas’ that usually set humanity on a new pathway,” he said.
Kickstart programme started in 2004 and operates on an annual budget of P1 million and has disbursed grants to 25 young entrepreneurs to start their businesses.
Its success rate is said to be 83 percent and 75 permanent jobs have been created around the country.
“The youth provide unparalleled ideas which simply need funding and because of this, we believe that we are placing our investment in the safest pair of hands and by the same token guaranteed our returns on this investment: that we will one day look back with pride in the coming years and say ‘it was worth it, to kickstart those young people,” added Matsela.
Government has urged private sector to take the lead from two brewers and help efforts to empower the youth.
“Government of Botswana has identified public private partnerships as a critical strategy to help grow the economy,” advised Shaw Kgathi, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture.
“I therefore urge the private sector companies to partner with government in its development efforts so that together we can play the role of catalyst agents for the attainment of sustainable economic development for job creation and improved quality of life.”
The projects that have been given grants are the Kasane-based Ngami Physio Therapy promoted by Tebogo Modiagane and a dog breeder Mompati Champane of Diamond Breed based in Gaborone.
The two received P90 000 and P87 000, respectively. The two others are the trio of Kelebogile Dikgang, Modiri Motswere and Mphoyakgosi Keoagile.
Dikgang told Sunday Standard: “I am happy for what KBL has done to our business. We expect to buy what we have been in need of in our business and expect to hire some young people.”
The three budding young entrepreneurs run Bathymehic Surveys and Mapping, an outfit in the surveys industry based in Bontleng in Gaborone and they received P60 000.
The other beneficiary is Mandy Seboko who is into manufacturing. His company called Showtime makes side lamps and is running like a cottage business at his home in Gaborone West.
Seboko revealed that with the P98 000 he got from KBT, he plans to find his own space at Gaborone West Industrial area.
He told Sunday Standard he was thankful to KBT for learning more about business amongst others learning how to business plan and skills in record keeping.
“I advise young people to enter competitions like Kickstart even if they do not win, they can still take their business plans somewhere,” he advised other young people.