Beneficiary hails the programme for making him dream big
One beneficiary of the De Beers/Stanford Seed Transformation Programme, Lerang Selolwane, has urged other entrepreneurs to enroll for it as there is a lot to gain from it.
Selolwane - CEO of Lucient Engineering and Construction Services – is one of the first 10 Batswana who participated in the first programme which is aimed at transforming businesses that are already in existence as opposed to start-ups.
The programme’s objective is to transform Small and Medium Enterprises that have an annual turnover of P1.5 million, and Selolwane was fortunate enough to have been selected to undergo training which has equipped him with the right tools and a powerful network.
Selolwane said the programme is not for start-ups, but for company that having been there with the objective being to turn them into something different.
Participants from Botswana were enrolled into the programme last year and would be taking part until December this year which is duration of 12 months. The programme was started by Stanford University with a view of making a difference in the continent.
“The whole idea is to transform businesses of each country into bigger enterprises that employ a lot of people,” Selolwane, a former employee of De Beers, said.
From the programme, Selolwane said he expects to gain a Pan-African perspective as he would like to see his business develop into a continental one. He said he would like to use the tools and methodologies he will gain to take his business to the next level and contribute to Botswana society.
So far participants have attended classes in Accra, Ghana as well as in Ivory Coast and soon they will be in Nairobi. Lucient is an engineering company that maintains large equipment for mining companies and currently employs 450 people with 300 based in South Africa while the remaining 150 are in Botswana. The business was started in 2014.
Selolwane has credited the programme with giving him the know-how to crack the South African market. It has also helped Selolwane to dream big.
“I have always wanted my company to be a Pan-African company and the programme is giving me the right tools and networks to achieve that,” he said. In the next five years his target is to employ over a 1, 000 people in at least 10 countries.
His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to stop thinking about it and do it and urged those who are already in business to sign up for the programme as it would make a big impact on their businesses.
Selolwane said the biggest challenge that entrepreneurs are facing is skill level, noting that entrepreneurs need training which is exactly what this programme is about.
Being a small concentrated economy that Botswana is, Selolwane said local entrepreneurs should look outside for opportunities and has urged them to be innovative in order to get their products or services to the market.