ALOSA group scoops BDC business den prize

Youth-driven enterprise that makes charcoal briquettes emerged the best out of a total 244 entrants and will stay at the BDC Business Den for 18 months where BDC will provide constant monitoring and evaluation

ALOSA group scoops BDC business den prize

Alosa Group of Companies has scooped the BDC Business Den prize. This follows a pitch session that was hosted by Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) on 18 February 2021 where the top 10 finalists were invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of independent judges who were also tasked with selecting the winner of the grand prize of up to P500, 000.

The finalists were selected from a pool of 244 proposals that underwent a rigorous evaluation and screening process. There was an initial compliance screening internally by the BDC Investment team where 73 proposals were selected for further and more intense screening by an independent consultant, RSM Consulting. From this process, the top 10 finalists were drawn and BDC also had the opportunity to appraise them and invite the finalists to the pitch session.

The winning project, Alosa Group of Companies, will be kept in the BDC Business Den for 18 months where BDC will provide constant monitoring and evaluation while playing a mentorship role until the project is mature and can graduate. BDC has also collaborated with Africa Youth Entrepreneur Summit (AYES) and Angel Network Botswana (ANB) who will provide support through mentorship and networking opportunities across the region.

Alosa Group of Companies comprises Alosa Feeds and Alosa Biomass-Charcoal Briquettes that are managed by Samuel Ntshiwa in partnership with Tshegofatso Ntshiwa. The duo has designed biomass charcoal briquettes and a carbonising unit for Alosa Briquettes. They were inspired by the need to be innovative in business to drive decent employment, to fulfill sustainable development goals for Botswana and to reduce the national import bill by the country becoming self-sufficient in biomass charcoal briquettes.

Said Boitswarelo Lebang - Kgetse, Head of Corporate Affairs and Strategy, who is also Chair of the BDC CSR Committee: “As BDC, we are committed to our Corporate Social Responsibility programme through which we have been able to touch the lives of many Batswana. Our economy and future prosperity depend on many factors, but high among this list is the ability of entrepreneurs to develop ideas into great enterprises. The Business Den is one such initiative that the Corporation seeks to give back to the community through by empowering young business-minded people to take their ideas and businesses to the next level.”

The BDC Business Den was designed to allow budding, ambitious and driven youth entrepreneurs to secure funding on a grant basis accompanied by mentorship opportunities. The competition was opened to young citizen entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 with ideas for either a new or existing business for expansion.

Said BDC Managing Director Cross Kgosidiile at the award ceremony: “As Botswana’s main investment arm with a mandate to finance commercially viable projects, we are happy to have launched this initiative to help our budding entrepreneurs take their business ideas to the next level. The competition was open to business ideas across all business sectors to align with our mandate of investing in commercially viable projects in all sectors of the economy.”

The top 10 finalists that were invited for the pitch session were, in no particular order, African Store Online, Organic Naturals, Debtum Green, Legitimate Projects (Pty) Ltd, ALOSA Group of Companies, Floyd Tech (Pty) Ltd, Klaas Safaris, Rantape Contractors (Pty) Ltd, Collections by BK Proctor (Pty) Ltd and BATSH Grocery Delivery.

BDC said it intends to support the youth by cultivating entrepreneurship, providing an enabling environment and exploring opportunities for scalable businesses that will drive Batswana and Botswana in the right direction as the Corporation gears towards advancing Botswana’s economy.