Big and bullish as it is currently, Sprint Couriers – according to Pinkie Setlalekgosi, the company Operations Director – was conceptualised over a cup of coffee one random day with her friend Michelle Gebrial. “My then friend Gebrial called me one morning and invited me to coffee where upon she proposed we start our own courier company, it was as simple as that,” she said.
Within a week they have done all the paper work and their company was ready to go. According to Setlalekgosi, they started from modest beginnings, with only 16 employees and six vehicles. Fast forward to today, it is complete different picture. They now command a fleet of trucks, bakkies and motor bikes in excess of 100 and a total of 168 staff members in Botswana with 68 offices nationwide.
It was no easy to break into the courier business, which as it is the case with other lucrative industries, is male dominated. The two women had used their own personal savings as start-up capital for the business but it was not enough hence they approached banks for further financing. “We approached Wesbank to loan us money to buy our first fleet; it took much convincing but because the manager could see our determination he gave in and approved our request,” she said. The company opened doors in 2006.
Both Setlalekgosi and Gebrial came from a courier industry background hence they knew exactly what the industry needed and where to hit their competitors hard. After the first year the company had grown impressively so much that employees were given the 13th cheque that soon.
Setlalekgosi and Gebrial make a formidable partnership. “We call ourselves tigers. When we have put our minds to something, success is the only end result we want,” she said. According to Setlalekgosi, they knew from day one that for them to succeed they had to put their differences aside, put on their professional ‘masks’ , respect each other but most importantly understand each other. It is now nine years going and they have managed to be consistent in their dealings; a trait she says is the major catalyst to their success.
The two ‘tigers’ own 31 percent each of the company. Setlalekgosi has 32 years of experience within the courier industry. She has worked for among others DHL, Botswana Couriers and African Express. Gebrial, on the other hand, is a chartered Management Accountant with over 20 years’ experience.
The two women recently won big at the inaugural WIBA awards by scooping the grand ‘Business Woman of the year award’. This was just cherry on top or as Setlalekgosi puts it “proof that their efforts are recognised locally too”. The two have been winning the PMR award since 2009. In 2012 they were bestowed with the Diamond Service Award by Debswana for their outstanding service. Last year they were presented with the international Star award for quality by ISAQ at the Inter Continental Geneve Convention Centre in Switzerland. And this year in May, Sprint Couriers was honoured in the Platinum category, at the International Quality Summit in New York. The award acknowledged strong commitment to quality and excellence.