As an entrepreneurial walk in centre, The Business Place (TBP) engages with both existing and aspiring entrepreneurs on a day to day basis. Most people who visit TBP almost always want assistance to start a business.
The centre receives about 20 walk in customers every day, mostly aspiring entrepreneurs, which indicates that the drive to start a business is prevalent in Botswana. However, TBP believes it is important for a business to be opportunity driven, which is not the case with walk in clients.
“We have realised that most aspiring entrepreneurs want to start businesses for the wrong reasons. This is not what entrepreneurship is intended to achieve,” said representatives from TBP.
In most cases, young Batswana want to start businesses for mere survival purposes, which implies that they will operate as survivors as opposed to entrepreneurs. Some people are just looking for an escape from the clutches of poverty and therefore present ideas that are not well thought out and lack the basis of enterprising. Others come as depressed and unsuccessful job seekers who are looking for an escape from their hostile circumstances.
“There are also those who just want to start a business so they can access particular funding projects that are on offer,” said TBP.
Very few however come with intent to start a business out of discovering an opportunity that can be exploited in exchange for profit.
TBP pointed out that the structure of the education system is one of the causes of lack of intent in starting a business, as it unfortunately trains people to become staunch job seekers instead of catalysts for employment creation.
“People must start a business for the right reasons. These include a desire to achieve financial independence, a wish to meet a grave need and turn an idea into a profitable business, as well as an aspiration to maximize contribution to sustainable development,” said TBP.
It has been observed that most start up businesses, particularly SMMEs end up failing, which reverses government’s efforts at creating employment by financing businesses. Without a doubt, a sense of urgency is needed to thrust the engine of the SMME sector, provide jobs and diversify the economy. Intent on entrepreneurship is therefore an issue that deserves acute attention so that businesses are not started only to be destroyed later.
“Entrepreneurs must not fear risk and they must be passionate about what they want to do,” said TBP.