Securing an interview appointment in Gaothogwe Radikwata’s busy schedule is no child’s play. This 39 year old mother to two from Serowe is a busy entrepreneur who juggles roles of a mother, wife and director to several companies that she runs with her husband.
To date Radikwata owns two Barcelos fast food franchise and have several mining prospecting licenses under her belt. An accountant by profession, Radikwata says after graduating and getting jobs in her field of training she knew deep down that she was cut to venture into a business of her own.
In 2007 when her husband was transferred to Selibe Phikwe she was then forced to choose family over work thus quitting her job. This however proved to be a blessing in disguise to the businesswoman in her. According to Radikwata she started off by selling hot dogs and other fast meals to students in the copper mining town during school events. She would later decide to venture into something bigger by applying for financing from the Citizen Entrepreneur Development Agency (CEDA) and buying a farm in Tuli block where she ventured into horticulture farming. When the horticulture business failed to work out, Radikwata says she did not give up. After learning that an opportunity to own a Barcelos Franchise existed in Gaborone, she would together with three other families partner to purchase the license and opened two restaurants in Mogoditshane and later another one in African Mall in 2009.
In 2011 she parted ways with her partners and resumed absolute ownership of the food stores where she serves as the managing director. Though demanding, this is not Radikwata’s only field of interest and engagement at the moment. The youthful entrepreneur tells of how she developed an interest in mining after hearing about the relocation of the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) to Botswana in 2011. According to Radikwata she immediately wanted to claim her share in the diamond supply chain as a citizen entrepreneur.
Coincidentally she would later attend a workshop organized by Women in Business Association (WIBA) (which she is currently a member of and the treasurer), in which one company which offers training on opportunities available in the diamond sector presented. It is through this company that she later learnt that an ordinary Motswana could own a prospecting license and eventually a mine if they make an effort to. Since then, she has never looked back.
Last year when an opportunity to apply for a diamond mining prospecting license poresented itself, Radikwata says she immediately partnered with three other people and applied. The application she says was not successful; this however did not deter her. She applied again late last year, for a diamond prospecting license in the Tsabong area and this time around was successful. She has since acquired several other mining prospecting licenses.
Although new in the mining business, Radikwata says she plans to expand and eventually develop into a reputable business woman in the mining sector if her prospecting efforts are fruitful. “This is another area which I want to be successful in, and to leave a noticeable legacy for my children,” she said.
Though there is belief that local financial institutions are a blow to aspiring entrepreneurs by declining to finance them, Radikwata’s take is that if done right then any business proposal can make it. “The trick is to own your business idea and being ready to explain and justify its viability whenever the need arises,“ she said.
Crediting her husband for her success and resilience, she highlighted the importance of a strong support structure in business. According to Radikwata, she will never in a life time let her family suffer just to pursue business dealings. “I have been married to my husband for 13 years now, he is my inspiration and keeps me going all the time," she said.
This however does not mean Radikwata is any less ambitious, the mother of two has as a matter of fact declared that she wants to attain millionaire status before she reach the age of 40. Her advice to other women who wants to be just as successful is that they should go for what they want and keep on trying even when things do not look positive. Above all however she urges everyone to have faith in God.