The Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) continues to intensify its mission of community engagement through supporting and contributing to the economic development of the local community through the provision of entrepreneurship training. On Thursday 28th June, 2018, BIUST graduated forty-two (42) grant recipients of the Youth Development Fund (YDF). The University trained the YDF recipients for a period of six-weeks (6) on “Sustaining Your Business” on part-time basis, at the request of the Sub-District Office of the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC). The course was meant to equip trainees with critical skills in managing business finances, marketing products/services, as well as record-keeping in order to ensure sustenance and growth of the funded projects.
Congratulating the 2018 graduants for successfully completing the programme minister of youth, sport and culture, Thapelo Olopeng, urged them to be torchbearers for groups that will follow. He said the programme came at the right time when his ministry is overwhelmed with challenges that negatively affect the progress of youth businesses. "Some of the challenges facing young people include: lack of marketing skills by some YDF beneficiaries; lack of financial management skills; poor record keeping skills; lack of skills to manage other resources such as human resource, ICT and time. We therefore need partnership and technical support of different training institutions to address them," he said, adding that the success of youth businesses contributes to employment creation, while failure results in loss of public funds invested in the project.
The programme is aimed at equipping participants with practical knowledge and skills to successfully run and sustain their businesses. Both the funds and the training are an investment on the youth. Some of the key focus areas for the programme include: managing business operations; managing human resources; managing business finances; marketing goods/services to ensure sales that would sustain the ventures, to mention but a few. "It is my belief that our young people can become successful entrepreneurs if they are given the right membership and support," said Olopeng.
Earlier when welcoming guests, BIUST Vice Chancellor Professor Otlogetswe Totolo said as a
place of public convenience, and funded by taxpayers funds, the university continuously
seeks to be relevant and responsive to the aspirations and desires of citizens We at BIUST
can do this only if recognize that we have the resources, expertise and presence that is
unique to ourselves but which can be used by our nation to improve the lot of our people.
Why is BIUST involved in the Sustaining Your Business course? There are two main reasons,
says Professor Otlogetswe. The first reason is that since middle 2016, BIUST has adopted a
Strategy to guide it through the next five years wherein one of the strategic initiatives is to
engage in community development. Offering the course to young entrepreneurs is a way
for the University to demonstrate its commitment to uplift the lives of the communities
that it serves. It also ensures that youth employment is encouraged because the youth entrepreneurs who go into business and succeed create employment for
themselves as well as for others. "The nation of Botswana is committed to seeing every
public body, such as BIUST, serving the needs and interests of the community that it serves
while also ensuring that youth employment is achieved. The second reason is that the
relevant department within MYSC asked BIUST to offer this program of study to the youths it funds," he said.