The 12 applicants who have made it to the next phase of the 2007 Kickstart Programme competition are under-going two weeks of business training whose aim is to guide them to write their own business plans which they will be judged on. The training is also intended to convey basic business knowledge to the applicants before they are given grants.
These aspiring men and women include Wapula Matshambane (Tour Operator), Kealeboga Ranko (Engineering Services), Otsile Oteng (Reconditioning Batteries), Teboho Choto (Direct Marketing), Haimbiri Mandevu (Maintenance of Exhausts), Mpho Kgaupe (Ceiling Decorations), Elias Nageng (Pottery), Kelebogile Mekgwe (Catering) Moagi Mokgosi (Website Development), Tsitsi Ngobeni (Beauty and Health Parlor) and Mabutha Morongwe (Safari Services).
Hloni Matsela, KBL Group Managing Director, said the training that these aspiring business novices are undergoing is arguably the most critical tool that they would need to Kickstart their business. He said the reason why a host of businesses fail and continue to fail is because those who run them have never had an opportunity of business training.
Matsela urged the nominees to take their training very seriously and to apply their minds to it as this would either make or break their dreams.
“Obviously you’re in a race, competing against each other,” he stated.
To those who might not win this competition, he said they should not let this deter them from living their dreams, adding that the training itself was the best ammunition ever to fight battles or challenges that may come their way. Botswana, he said, needs strong willed people who will not simply submit or have their spirits dampened by the fact that they did not win a grant.
“This country needs visionaries who can take Botswana forward and you are the torchbearers of that dream. You are the symbol of hope for this country and the country expects a lot from you,” he stated.
Mtatshelwa Bozongwana, the candidates’ trainer and a consultant from Global Business Development Solutions, said that the training was expected to put these applicants in a better position to run and manage their own businesses, some of which are already running.
Addressing the budding business aspirants, Bozongwana highlighted that to be self-employed is much more dangerous than when someone holds a conventional job.
“When you are self-employed, you are exposed. Starting point: make sure you understand your business and always do what is required,” he said. Further, he pointed out that Batswana lack discipline and that there is dishonesty amongst them. He appealed to the candidates to be honest and urged them to make a difference and make names for themselves.
Bozongwana urged them to select opportunities that they are passionate about, something that makes them tick and would not mind doing for free. “You should learn to volunteer because at the end of the day it pays. Also learn to be positive and always make sure you stay focused,” he appealed to the nominees. He said entrepreneurs should be able to identify opportunities and be able to make a living out of them, adding that they should learn to focus on one thing at a time and make it a success first before moving to other things.
One of the nominees, Teboho Choto, stated that as young Batswana, they had never been taught how to run a business but were only given the mentality that education is the key to the future. He stated that they have been programmed to go to school and work for other people when they finish.
“The other challenge we face as Batswana is lack of market research; Batswana don’t do thorough market research,” he said. He appealed to Batswana to do market research so as to have a competitive edge. Make sure you are on top of your game, he said, and have something extra to offer your customers.
Winners of this year’s competition are expected to outdo their predecessors who have built a very good legacy by leading very successful businesses which are contributing to economic growth and employment creation.