Citizen Entrepreneurship Agency (CEDA) CEO Thabo Thamane has said the agency has spent a whooping P4 million on the CEDA\DBSA University challenge competition which is collaboration with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).
Thamane was speaking during the CEDA/DBSA University Challenge TOP 10 presentations in Gaborone on Friday. He said it will take a lot of investment for Botswana to be an entrepreneurship hub.
According to Thamane, all stakeholders should take play a part in promoting entrepreneurship amongst young Batswana; urging the business community to support and fund youth enterprises.
“We are all supposed to partake in supporting the local businesses. It is crucial to always put first into consideration buying local whenever we buy products. CEDA\DBSA challenge has since its inception three years ago produced viable businesses owned by our youth,’’ he said.
He said spending millions of Pula in sponsoring the start-up businesses for university students signals CEDA’s commitment to empowering young people so that they participate in the economy.
Moreover, he said giving top 10 finalists a chance to present their concepts accords them the opportunity to sell out their ideas in a highly competitive manner; hence growing competition.
He said the challenge has managed to meet its objectives as demonstrated by the increase in the number of applicants across tertiary institutions on the annual basis.
One of the finalists Thabisang Letsamao – a third year BSC Computer Forensics at Botho University – wants to undertake a pencil manufacturing by recycling paper materials.
Letsamao said his business idea is spurred by amongst others the need to protect the environment, arguing that most pencil producers’ use wood hence paper will save the nature.
He said his business idea will be crucial in reducing export bill for the government which mostly imports educational material abroad whilst opportunities to economise lie untapped.
CEDA\ DBSA University Challenge came out bigger and better last year as the prize money from 2018 edition increased from the then P200 000 prize to P300 000 for the competition winner.
Winners of the challenge will be announced next week with a female winner set to take home P350 000 while a male winner will get P300 000.
The 2020 top 10 finalists comprised of six (6) male participants and four (4) females coming from both government and privately-owned universities.