Q: Kindly share with us your experience from the ABH programme so far.
A: I couldn’t have done it without the support of my team. I have refined my skills in financial reporting through pitching to business legends and receiving advice from them. Successfully passing the PWC Due Diligence has given us affirmation that we are on the right track as a growing business. I now have a connection to an ecosystem of entrepreneurs through group sessions and interacting with other entrepreneurs from the Top 50 through to the Top 10 which will be beneficial as we seek to expand into the rest of the continent.
Q: How did you make it to the Top 10?
A: Making it to the Top 10 required us to pass due diligence checks done by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Then we had to prepare a five-minute pitch for a panel of investors, business leaders and professionals who then determined the Top 10 finalists.
Q: How did you get to know of the 2021 ABH initiative?
A: We were nominated by the late Reginald Tebogo Selelo who was Chief Operations Officer (COO) for Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC). He suggested that we enter the ABH competition. We will forever be grateful to him. May his soul rest in peace.
Q: What can you say to other start-ups that may want to apply for next year’s edition?
A: Applicants should follow all the Africa’s Business Heroes social media pages (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) for more information regarding opening dates for applications. Entrepreneurs of all ages and genders are encouraged to apply.
To be eligible for the competition, one must meet the following criteria: The applicant should be a founder or co-founder of the company. The applicant should have African citizenship or should be the child or grandchild of an African citizen. The company should be registered and headquartered in an African country and primarily operate in Africa. The company should be in post-idea stage and the business should be three years old or more and have at least three years of revenue history.
Q: As a youthful entrepreneur in Botswana, what are some of the lessons you learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: The COVID-19 pandemic was a reminder that the way we have always done business needed to change. Some of the key lessons are the importance of having multiple suppliers such that you are not left stranded should your supplier be hit by COVID-19. Risk management should be built into product pricing to cater for inflation and foreign currency fluctuations.
Lastly, The Bulb World would not have survived without the dedication and personal sacrifice of my team. I have learnt even more to ensure that I take my team on the journey to be open and honest and give them a chance to come up with ideas to help us survive.
Q: Anything you wish to add?
A: Although we are still waiting for funding, we have started with our rooted-in-Africa expansion into the SADC market and have already established some footprint in South Africa where I am currently based.
Furthermore, I will be looking to introduce a 12-month learnership programme to equip fresh graduates with business and entrepreneurship skills. From the 12-month learnership, some of the participants will be hired by The Bulb World and some will have gathered the skillsets to enable them to either start their own businesses or to fit into work elsewhere.