Friday, December 1, 2023

Spurring growth of private businesses by first recognising them

There seems to be a certain vigor that comes with firms being small; it is the wide parameters to which the confidence of growth can be stretched to cultivate such smallness into established corporate entities. It is this reason, among others, that the third installment of the ‘Private Business Growth Awards – (PBGA) -‘ was held this past week. 

In the year they were introduced, in 2015, Sprint Couriers took home the win. The following year in 2016 the awards were split into large and small to medium categories with Flo-tek and Nashua winning the awards respectively. 

Small within the context of the PBGA speaks to firms that report less than P100 million as per the Annual Financial statement and that employs less than 50 employees. One such company that occupies this space is Hotwire PRC. Among the three small to medium companies on which the limelight was shone Hotwire PRC proved the better one by taking the award. The other two finalists were Organic Fertilizer and Impression House.

“Every single growth has been planned,” said Kabelo Binns, the Group Managing Director of Hotwire PRC, something he said makes the company sure footed such that it doesn’t take steps that it will later retract. This was Hotwire’s first submission into the private awards, an experience the Lead Consultant, Taazima Kala-Essack, found to be a learning curve. Perhaps one might deduce that from here this small to medium company will push itself out of the smallness and reach the larger space. 

With a three year track record the PGBA has sought, as a significant part of its selection criteria, demonstrable growth in the different areas of a firm’s operations. The awards specifically recognise privately held businesses in Botswana that approach growth from both a strategic and a holistic perspective to create a positive impact well beyond their bottom line and contribute to a strong and vigorous national economy. This covers a broad range of activities across the business being product and service development, expansion into new markets, development of people and culture, improvements in efficiency and in financial measurements to mention but a few. 

“As one of the few indigenous companies in Botswana Grant Thornton was a great platform to showcase our success story,” said Israel Maruping, the Financial Accountant of Security Systems, a company that was a runner up in 2016 but finally came on top in the 2017 large category awards. It employs over 4000 people across its 18 branches across the country, making it one of the few largest employers and also one with the widest footprint in the industry. From humble beginnings of operating with 12 cars Security Systems today runs a fleet of 34 000 cars. The story of this company, which was established 43 years ago, demonstrates the ethos of a growth from once being small and along the way thrusting out into the corporate entity it is today. The other two finalists in this category were Makoro Brick and Nandos Botswana.     

Another sign of growth was seen in the PBGA itself. The awards were previously collaboration between Grant Thornton and Business Botswana (BB) but now on their third year running Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BITC) joined in the partnership. The special category awards by BITC included Investor of the Year in the Manufacturing sector, investor of the Year in the Services sector and Expansions and Exporter of the Year. BITC Acting CEO Meshack Tshekedi expressed that their inclusion in this year’s awards produced an unintended benefit to companies registered with BITC of allowing them “to take stock, reflect on strategies they set out and even more importantly take a leap of faith and step up to the plate to measure against the other best in their categories.” 


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