They say risk is a more acceptable word to the young than the more mature. And indeed the fact that young people continue to break virgin grounds in establishing new enterprises bears testimony to this. ‘Made BW’ winner Leungo Tebogo adds to the list of these fearless young people worldwide who are propelling their ‘unusual’ ideas into fruition. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the popular social network Facebook; Steve Jobs, co-founder of mobile electronics company Apple; and Bill Gates, the founder of software giant Microsoft are but some of the world’s acclaimed entrepreneurs who conceptualised business ideas at quite a young age and transformed such into billion Dollar businesses which have grown beyond measure and continue to change lives worldwide.
The recent winner of the Development Advance Institute’s (DAI) entrepreneurial initiative titled ‘Made BW’ winner Leungo Tebogo adds to the list of these fearless young people worldwide. The 22-year-old graduate of Accounting and Finance from the Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) decided to try her luck in the competition late last year after graduating. “I saw a post calling on young people to apply for funding and immediately came up with an idea of how I too could benefit from this,” Tebogo recalls. Ba Hana Farmers Market is the business idea that won Tebogo P100 000 from Made BW and various other prices to make a full P1m award – and it emanates from a niche in the agricultural sector. “I realised that all these young people, including young farmers who were being offered funding, would need a common place where they could go and sell their products and where consumers could be sure they will find them,” she said.
Her concept detailed her plan to pioneer an agricultural hub that allows farmers and other entrepreneurs to showcase and sell their produce in an environment of likeminded individuals. “Apart from farmers, Ba Hana will also be a platform for other entrepreneurs like craft makers and other producers to showcase and sell their products,” she says. As part of her prize Tebogo is currently receiving coaching from Buca Matenge of The Fat cake Accelerator, and mentoring from renowned local businessman Jagdish Shah. She is right now working on redefining her business idea and aligning it to what the current market wants and needs. But just like with other budding entrepreneurs, it has not been an easy road for Tebogo. She explains that not knowing who to contact or where to go to for assistance was one of her biggest challenges. This, she says, is the reason why she advises anyone planning to go into business to prioritise networking. “Success is not a journey you make on your own,” she says.
Luckily for her, she says, she has a strong support system right from home that has made it a point to assist her in her quest to deliver a successful enterprise. As a contestant in Made BW, Tebogo managed to impress judges with her zeal for business, her determination, and a profound and well defined business idea. She says participation in the competition involved going through training, workshops, and pitching feasible business ideas relevant to the local market. “I have so much faith in my business idea. It speaks for itself and I suppose that is the main reason why it impressed the judges,” she says. The determined young entrepreneur says she has from experience learnt that most people are discouraged from venturing into business by self-doubt, advising that people should not doubt themselves. “I too doubted myself at first and nearly shied away from taking part in Made BW,” she discloses. Tebogo says that the prize money she won from Made BW will be used as a start- up capital for her business.