Sechaba Breweries Limited, the country’s leading┬á brewer, unveiled┬á a new set of prospective entrepreneurs under KickStart programme for the eighth year running┬á as it tries to bolster its citizen economic empowerment scheme.
The listed entity is the parent company to both Botswana Breweries LimitedÔÇötraditional brewing armÔÇöand Kgalagadi Breweries that it is largely involved in clear and cider beverages.
The two companies that are 60 percent controlled by Botswana government through Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) have fallen victim to government’s imposed alcohol levy that has erased over P100 million from its balance-sheet in the last financial year alone.
The government imposed alcohol levy threatens the companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative┬árun┬áunder the Kgalagadi Beverages Trust umbrella and┬áthat injects┬áfinancial assistance to the vulnerable youths to uplift them from poverty while at the same time creating jobs.
Over the years, the┬áKickstart initiative┬áhelped government┬ádiversify the economy ÔÇô something that┬áhas been elusiveÔÇöaway from minerals, especially diamonds.
“A couple of months ago thousands of young Batswana submitted their applications for Botswana’s largest entrepreneurship program run by a group of private sector companies. These young people exercised their optimism, spurred on by the desire to change their lives for the better,” KBL Managing Director, Hloni, Matsela said┬áat the occasion marking the eighth KickStart sponsorship.
┬áMatsela added: “In their overwhelming numbers, they were encouraged by our companies’ vision of a people working with business for the greater good of all by fighting unemployment and putting a dent on poverty.”
The Kgalagadi Trust Entrepreneurship Development annual programme is designed to establish and grow small businesses owned by Batswana youth and has since flourished to become the country’s leading brand in the private sector- attracting small enterprises who gradually become a successful hit, which requires a benchmark for others to emulate.
Since its launch, Kgalagadi Beverages Trust KickStart has benefited more than 100 young entrepreneurs galloping a total investment in excess of P7 million with over 60 small beneficiaries so far established.
“We also recognise that business, broadly defined, is the only wealth-generating mechanism in society. There is nothing more exciting than seeing young people ÔÇô often who are unemployed ÔÇô actually come up with good ideas, set up a business, get going and make a good living ÔÇô not just for themselves ÔÇô but for their families and within their communities,” Matsela said.
Through this project BBL and KBL intends to build a sustainable businesses rather than just pumping money into the beneficiaries. The companies would also take interest in how these businesses can contribute meaningfully to the economy of the country and to its people.
So far many of the KBT KickStart businesses have gone on to help a significant number of┬á companies┬á that employ a great number of people .
“These companies have contributed to both job creation and the Botswana economy. I believe that in the not so distant future, some of our KickStart enterprises will grow to become multi-million Pula organizations, employ great numbers of people and embed themselves into the value chains of many world class businesses,” he noted.
Besides injecting money into these projects, KBL and BBL monitor their products with last year winner Tebogo Modiapane of Ngami physiotherapy scooping the award of P20,000 for keeping the promise- her project sustainable and worth a venture.
Matsela thus urged 2011 winners Tshephiso Matlapeng, Otlaadisa Boepetswe and Reginald Ramongale, who went away with a P100,000 cash to bolster respective their businesses, to ┬áfollow suit and keep the brand alive.
Each year, the programme is inundated with budding and existing youthful entrepreneurs ranging from 18 to 30 years, daring to enter the competition with this year’s trio winners promising a successful projects.