When Raidox Enterprises first knocked on the doors of Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) in 2012 it was discredited as a fly-by-night company that sought to make a quick buck and vanish into thin air. This was because the company did not have a proven record of the product that it wanted to sell to WUC, but just an idealistic proposal on how it could assist WUC to treat water.
Raidox Enterprises had obtained exclusive rights from a Canadian registered company for distribution of a water disinfectant and treatment product that contains hydrogen peroxide. The product’s selling point was that unlike chlorine, which is used to kill bacteria in water, the product doesn’t reduce the nutritional value in water. WUC later granted Raidox permission to test the product for trial purposes.
It goes without saying that water is a scarce resource in Botswana and the country often goes through long, drawn out dry spells. As fate would have it, WUC was also looking for certainty. The Corporation was not getting satisfactory results from the product that it had been using to treat waste water, which gave it impetus to try out the Raidox product. However, another problem emerged. The business model that Raidox had presented to WUC in 2012 was no longer applicable. Initially, Raidox Enterprises was set up as a distribution channel with the sole responsibility of distributing the water treatment product.
“We preferred distribution because it was a less risky business model. Again, we did not want to go all out because we were trying out a new product,” said Theodore Fulele, co-Director of Raidox Enterprises.
However, the model has now changed as government has floated the idea of Raidox Enterprises setting up a manufacturing plant where it would manufacture the water cleansing product. Government simply tied a social benefit, in this case creation of jobs that will come from the plant, to a proposal that stands to benefit not only WUC but the economy at large. It makes sense for government to drive Raidox Enterprises in the route of manufacturing, particularly in the face of rising unemployment.
A product such as the one offered by Raidox Enterprises therefore presents an opportunity to absorb a portion of inactive young people into employment. It appears that water shortage and unemployment have both become matters that need to be addressed with urgency. While the distribution model seemed ideal in 2012, it is now clear that manufacturing is the way to go given the current circumstances of rampant unemployment. Should the product be approved by WUC, Raidox Enterprises will now have a wider array of water dependant economic sectors to service, including the mining and agriculture industries. However, Fulele stressed that their interest is in inducing organic growth for the business rather than immediately profiting from the project.
“There is no doubt that WUC backing will build a convincing business case to sell to financiers,” he said.