Ngwana Africa, a 100 percent citizen owned company last week held a boot camp dubbed “Connecting the city challenge” in Francistown as part of its campaign to promote startup entrepreneurship in Francistown and surrounding areas.
The main objective of the boot camp was to provide a framework on how to build startup companies, influence ecosystem partnerships and funding opportunities for startups. A startup is a business venture founded by one or more entrepreneurs to develop a unique product or service and bring it to the market. Startup businesses are found on the internet and are technology driven.
Some of the world renowned multi billion dollar successful start ups include Amazon online retail giant(USA), Byte Dance which develops video applications(China), Andela in(Nigeria) and Alibaba which is also an on line retail business from China.
Ngwana Africa is an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) business which has branches in Francistown, Gaborone and a Subsidiary in Kigali, Rwanda
The boot camp also had presentations from Ngwana Africa Startup business partners in different countries across the world through video conferencing to share knowledge and experience on startups with the participants.
Explaining the Startup concept to the Sunday Standard in an interview, Benedict Tekere who is the Chief Executive Officer of Ngwana Africa said Startups are temporary ventures that raise funds in an unusual way. He said these companies sit on the internet and thrive on technology to solve problems by developing unique products.
“The companies sit on the internet and utilize knowledge associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We do not have enough infrastructures for manufacturing in Africa but we have human capital. Startups require human capital to thrive and Botswana can blossom in that regard. We are here today to try and promote this kind of entrepreneurship or businesses. The boot camp will give us the opportunity to share knowledge on startups,” he said.
In addition Tekere pleaded with the government to formulate a Startup Act. He said the Act will encourage the growth and viability of startup businesses in the country. He also emphasized that the Act will help unlock funding opportunities and develop infrastructure for Startup businesses in the country.
“This is what countries like Singapore and Rwanda have done. These countries have thriving startup businesses. In Botswana we only have a Business Act driven by the Ministry of Investment and Trade and organizations like LEA but not a Startup Act,” he explained.
As part of its economic diversification drive, Tekere is of the view that Botswana’s economy can equally thrive through Startups as the country has a pool of unemployed educated youth. He said Botswana can take advantage of its over 100 000 graduates in different fields to build a thriving Startup economy. He also said Startup businesses can help address the issue of unemployment specifically among the youth.
“Thirty four percent of our population is youths. Botswana can tap into the technology businesses especially startups because the country has potential in that regard. Botswana invests a lot of money in educating its citizens. The country has to get value in return for its education investment. Startups are the way to go,” he emphasized.
“In fact Botswana has chosen to become a digital economy as espoused in the country’s Vision 2036. What this means is that we need to build Innovation Driven Enterprises. These are businesses that are technologically driven,” Tekere added.
The boot camp was sponsored by among others World Bank Group, Orange Botswana, Stanbic Bank and Botswana Innovation Hub. Francistown College of Programming, Botswana Accountancy College and Botho University also participated in the Boot camp.