A new business platform for all aspiring and established Batswana entrepreneurs is emerging, which aims to offer mentorship and motivation, and enable local business products and services to flourish. Key to this platform would be to establish a culture of collaboration to discourage a solo-oriented approach to engaging in business.
Speakers during the first UEB business symposium - (l - r: Hezborn Chintu, Thobo Kerekang, Joshua Grace, Paul Marakalala, Kate Nkawana)
What is United Entrepreneurs Botswana?
UEB is a pioneering project of uniting Batswana entrepreneurs from all walks of life, who are at different levels of engaging in business activities seeking to work collaboratively with one another. The project seeks to bring together business aspirants and the established businesses, including those that are struggling and those doing well to collaborate in business for independent growth.
The project uses symposia for interaction and mentorship through a presentation of targeted topics to the members and all other interested business persons. The mentorship activities are led by business leaders who generally share practical experiences of running a business. In addition, the group provides a platform for exhibition of products by members to display their products and services to confirm that individuals indeed act on the guidance they receive.
Who are United Entrepreneurs Botswana?
The name of the group is referenced as United Entrepreneurs Botswana, spear-headed by a few local individuals. Its membership is made of any Batswana who seek to come on board as members by virtue of being individual business persons. The members are expected to provide all support and administrative work for the conduct of the group’s affairs. The forum operates on a public limited company (PLC) model with every one having equal stake in the group’s activities.
It has been evident for a while that local entrepreneurs operate on their own, individually and independently with no effort for collaboration. In addition, local entrepreneurs tend to go into business without business skills – and the resultant pattern is that whereas those who go into business for money, their businesses collapse when money is not coming in; and those who are successful tend to have poor financial management skills.
Nationally, Batswana have access to institutions such as LEA, CEDA, etc, which have been established by government to provide support to local entrepreneurs. Likewise, UEB too compliments that support by targeting basic starters with no knowledge of running a business and bringing them together with those who are established in business. In addition, the group provides funding and mentorship especially to the marginalized, who doubt that they can do it in business! Targeted motivation is given to close a gap between the successful and the less able to ensure that no one is left behind!
Hence UEB has adopted the motto You Are Not Alone!
There is an increased acceptance of establishing Botswana on a knowledge-based economy, UEB aims to help Batswana premise their businesses on appropriate business skills. This will be extended to encourage the introduction of business curricula even at primary school levels.
Symposium participants being awarded certificates of attendance
UEB conducted its first symposium on the 10th October 2020, with a 100% attendance rate of the only 50 booked and allocated slots restricted by the Covid-19 pandemic protocols. The event was sponsored by the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) a semi-autonomous government agency that supports local businesses, Botswana Accountancy College (BAC), and Keno Customs Suites a privately owned business. The audience was made up of local businesses who were lucky to find a slot in the much-awaited event!
Line up of Speakers
Various topics, made by a good line-up of speakers, were presented to the audience of aspiring entrepreneurs, with the proceedings presided over by Kefentse Lesego.
Director of Ceremonies - Kefentse Lesego