Local business woman, Joy Simakane, recently placed Batswana businesswomen on the international business map when she was nominated for the 2nd Empretec Women in Business Awards.
Her nomination is largely viewed as a giant leap for Botswana businesswomen. The award ceremony will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, on the 26th of April, with representatives from over 196 countries in attendance.
Entrepreneurs nominated for the 2nd Empretec Women in Business Awards have either established or expanded successful companies that have created job opportunities in the challenging environment of the current global recession. Simakane currently has over 190 employees worldwide on her payroll.
Empretec is a training and motivational program intended to encourage entrepreneurship in developing countries like Botswana. Its centers are supported by UNCTAD and they operate in 32 developing nations. To date they have trained over 150,000 aspiring entrepreneurs.
Thirty-six-year-old Simakane is the Managing Director of Extramile Express, a customs clearing company.
Extramile Express has been chosen by Empretec as a nominee for the award, amongst nine other women-owned businesses from different countries. Established in 2004, Extramile Express is the first local company to have its head offices based in Botswana, with branches spred in countries like the United Kingdom, South-Africa and Namibia.
“By March 2010, we will be operating branches in China and Singapore,” she said.
The company will also open local branches in Mahalapye, Palapye, Selebi-Phikwe, Maun and Kasane.
The company offers services like customs consulting and clearing, warehousing, bonded warehousing, freight forwarding and messenger delivery services. It uses all kinds of transportation to carry out its services. Cross border goods are transported by air, water and road.
Dennis Maswabi, the Managing Director of Enterprise Botswana, a company that trained and mentored Simakane with entrepreneurial skills through workshops, said that her nomination is an achievement for Botswana and, most importantly, for women.
“Simakane is a motivation to Batswana women. She went to great lengths to reach this point. She started with nothing and today she is Botswana’s leading business woman,” he said.
Simakane, however, faces stiff competition against Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ethiopia, Guyana, Yoda, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe.