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Debswana empowers youth

21 Mar 2023

After a series of elevator pitches to a panel of judges, Maru Farms won P50 000, entrepreneurship and mentorship development courtesy of Debswana’s Entrepreneurship Challenge, which ended last Saturday.

Second and third positions went to Scents and Columba who won P30 000 and P20 000 respectively.

Speaking at the grand finale, Debswana Finance Performance Analyst Ms Onneile Maripe said the entrepreneurship challenge provided real and practical paths of developing entrepreneurial mindset, personal development and an elite business acumen amongst university students.

“This pilot challenge partnered with Botho University, University of Botswana, Botswana Accountancy College and Botswana International University of Science and Technology to provide learners an opportunity to explore and test ideas in a rigorous, fun, and supportive environment,” she said.

She said the challenge formed part of Debswana’s Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development Programme (EEDP) initiatives.

Ms Maripe said through partnership with TheNeoHub innovation lab, the Entrepreneurship Challenge had provided higher educated learners with a balanced blend of first in class entrepreneurial skills and a successful mindset to create ideas and subsequently test their problem solving adequacy.

“The company’s focus on ‘Making Life Brilliant’ for all Batswana as a strategic imperative was driven by entrepreneurial activity, mindset change, collaboration and partnerships, among few aspects,” she said.

Ms Maripe said the challenge was a path to Botswana’s economic pivot through indigenous solutions that created employment, and most importantly, generated a pipeline of high value young Batswana entrepreneurs.”

Deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Entrepreneurship Ms Helen Chilisa encouraged all aspiring to become entrepreneurs to exhaust partnerships that government had with private companies in the space of entrepreneurship development.

Ms Chilisa said these partnerships had the capability to nurture talent and turn ideas into well-crafted businesses that had potential to create employment for the masses.

She said capacity development programmes, including among others business model design, Intellectual Property awareness and mental health and presentation skills were necessary for every new business to adopt, therefore, it was ideal to make use of programmes such as the EEDP to leverage from their expert advice and mentorship.

Ms Chilisa further indicated that through EEDP initiatives, learners often got exposed to real industry experience which often translated to quality learning and best business acumen. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Marvin Motlhabane

Location : Gaborone

Event : Grand Finale

Date : 21 Mar 2023