The third edition of the Founders Dinner was held at Nonna’s Italian Food Bar in Gaborone on August 3. The dinner brought together entrepreneurs from around the country for an intimate session with the restaurant having been closed to cater exclusively for this.
The panelists included Alpha Direct Managing Director Arun Iyer, Incepta Communications Director Thabo Majola, Thebe Modikwa from Old Mutual Life Botswana and Mompoloki Lerumo Mogobe of Mogobe Incorporation.
The panelists seemed to be in no rush as they bared their souls out, sharing experiences about business under the topic; ‘How to spot scalable business opportunities in emerging markets’.
Iyer encouraged entrepreneurs to make sure that they find purpose outside money in order to keep existing, warning that when an entrepreneur chases money only there is always a problem especially that in entrepreneurship it can be quite difficult.
He started making money at the age of 14, and that was because in the beginning of it all he cared about was accumulating money. He encouraged local entrepreneurs to know that there is a lot that they can do and reach other markets.
“There is nothing special that South Africa is doing; you can be able to make products and offer services that are not there in South Africa. It is done by other people and that means it is possible. You should never look at Botswana as the only market,” he said.
Majola said when he started he looked for companies to affiliate with, but never saw that from the companies that they wanted.
“This opened our eyes and made us realise that we needed to build our brand even more and take it out there before we try to define ourselves with something else. I have realised that it is very important in a business. I am glad that the affiliations we wanted in the beginning were not fruitful because now we know what we want and our identity,” he said.
Thebe Modikwa of Old Mutual highlighted that it is very important for local entrepreneurs to explore other markets, even places like Nigeria where it can be easy to penetrate the world from.
She encouraged them to stop limiting themselves and know that they can find business anywhere.
Mogobe said when it comes to business, he wants people that are very much focused, and as such everyone who aspires to be an entrepreneur should know that it needs due diligence in order to be able to make an impact and also build connections that will propel their business forward.
He said that he had to take risk and quit his law office in order to focus on business, and that is a risk that he will never forget because it turned out to be the best decision ever.
The event is brought together by Matshego Lethola with the aim of offering powerful connections through the networking sessions, profound mind shifts, intimate conversations and unique opportunities to help each other grow.
“The platform offers an environment to discuss business challenges, ideas and network with fellow business leaders, pioneers and other stakeholders of note in the different spheres,” he said.
The next Founders Diner will be in October.