The third edition of the annual Youth Business Expo took place in Gaborone during the week with the youthful entrepreneurs continuing to showcase their money making ventures to the public, some of which are unique and exceptional.
“I decided to start this business because I wanted to give Batswana affordable service yet more advanced than those available,” said Thuto Molapo of Brode Geo Designs. A company established in June 2016 in Gaborone which specialises in ICT and innovative solutions. Its services include Web & Mobile Development, Drone Services, Land Surveys, GIS Solutions and Project Management Serv. Molapo has a partner and they have employed a total of seven young people.
According to Molapo as graduates of Information and Technology they made a deliberate move to instead of looking for employment; create work themselves with the skills they have acquired in their tertiary school. She is a software engineer and a graduate of University of
They have so far developed a number of applications that they haven’t published yet and are sold to individuals and companies where they have to subscribe on a monthly basis.
With their drone services the innovative company conduct land surveys, mapping and event for agricultural purposes e.g., tracking yield and monitoring livestock. In mining the service can be used for inspections of utilities and other data gathering.
They also sponsored Global Expo Botswana last year by developing their mobile application.
“Technology in developed countries makes life very easy and convenient. Some of the services that we offer such as the Drone services will make such a life possible for Batswana,” Molapo said.
Though she acknowledges that the uptake of their products and services is not yet where they would want it to be, Molapo accept that the consumers might not be entirely to blame as some of the shortcomings emanate from their side.
Brode Geo Designs are also into social entrepreneurship and have a program called Malepa, whereby they teach kids how to code. “As experts in the field we observed that kids could actually do better later in life in the field if they are introduced to the subject at a tender age, said Molapo.
Meanwhile two youth from Lobatse, who are into arts and crafts, decided to exhibit that one can actually make a living out of their gifts and talents. The two; Taolo Dipatane and Letsweletse Motlhageng run DOM KOP arts & crafts a company they established in 2015 which specialises in manufacturing leather products ( sandals/shoes, traditional dance attire, bags and other leather products), wood crafting and interior furniture designs to mention but a few.
According to Dipatane their main aim is to eventually empower young unemployed individuals with talents as a way of also uplifting and promoting local culture and to increase domestic production arts and crafts.
It is common knowledge that though Botswana is one of the highest producers of beef in the world, the country hasn’t so far been able to utilize and trade on by-products from cattle slaughtered such as leather.
The artistic Lobatse duo according to Dipatane saw this niche and intend to close the gap by cutting the costs of having leather raw materials and products being processed outside Botswana and intends to be the best arts and craft service providers locally.
There were a total of 300 exhibitors, which is the same number which participated last year. In 2016 the Expo attracted 224 exhibitors.
Meanwhile the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development Thapelo Olopeng said government will continue to create a supportive business environment that stands to benefit the Youth as well. According to the Minister the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has been implementing restrictions to support local businesses, especially for goods and services that are available locally and said this presented the youth a chance to compete fully with other businesses.
“Government’s commitment to empowering young people signals that the time for our youth entrepreneurs to make their mark is now,” said Olopeng.
He also that government is fully committed and has placed the Youth agenda at the top of its priorities, saying the newly appointed President Mokgweetsi Masisi has consistently maintained that investing in the Youth equates to enriching the lives of the present-day young person, while creating wealth for future generations.
“It is an accepted reality that the Youth are creators and innovators for the modern economy. You in this hall have the potential to turn around the world economy for the benefit of us all,” he said addressing the young people who attended the official opening of the five day event in Gaborone.