Through the FNBB Foundation, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) identified and came to appreciate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on two particular areas of the economy: the creative industry and the tourism sector. Through its charitable arm, the bank then introduced a competition dubbed “Bodiragatsi Jwame, Lentswe Lame” in support of the local creative industry.
The next round of the competition is scheduled for next month, June, the inaugural one having been in 2019. FNBB Senior Credit Analyst – Accounts Management and Bodiragatsi Jwame, Lentswe Lame Project Owner, Oagile Moeti, says the idea came about after FNBB became intentional about giving back to the community that supports the bank as business in order to create shared value. “We then identified the arts as one of the industries with the least investment, hence we became dedicated to making a difference and supporting this industry,” Moeti told The Business Weekly & Review in an interview.
This initiative is set to address five categories (groups) which form part of areas that COVID restraints affected for a longer period and more intensely. A call for submissions was made and those shortlisted will compete under the Futuristic Botswana theme. Moeti says the idea is to showcase what Botswana is right now and where it wants to be in the future.
Botswana content in terms of culture and tourism will be of the essence. Selected categories include Fashion: Futuristic Fashion, Poetry: Compilations of Poetry in Different Native Languages and Places of Interest, Music and Dance: Compilations of Dance and Music Representing Different Places in the Country with a Fusion of the Future, Virtual Art: Paintings, Drawings, and Pictorial Representations of Tourism in the Future, Photography and Videography: Visual Representations of What Tourism would Look Like in the Future and what the Future of Tourism is in Botswana.
Each category of the FNBB Foundation’s competition will have five participants competing for cash prizes in Positions One, Two and Three while Positions Four and Five will receive business startup packs in monetary form. “We have an approved budget of P640,000,” Moeti said.
He disclosed that the FNBB Foundation has already shortlisted 25 participants and that the bank is in the process of inviting them for onboarding into the competition and to start preparations for the big day. “Fifteen of the participants will be up for Positions One to Three cash prizes while the rest of the 10 participants will receive business startup cash,” Moeti explained.
In addition to the cash prizes, participants will go through training to equip them with skills that include running a business, covering topics such as bookkeeping, business banking, business branding and marketing as well as fundamentals of penetrating the industry in Botswana and globally.
FNBB found that most creatives lack business acumen, exposure, as well as the financial, legal and branding savviness required to thrive in their diverse industry. The initiative therefore will support participants through training at a chosen external training institute and from internal experienced FNBB staff members to address all departments in a business and how to run them. “The aim is to produce participants who have skills and money to either start or enhance their business to make an impact in the recovering economy,” Moeti said.
The artists in the categories selected will take “us on a journey around the country in the different tourist attractions under the theme of Futuristic Botswana using their different arts and talents,” said Moeti. He noted that these productions will have content that is rarely seen and which, once released, will attract both local and international interest to explore Botswana after tourism was battered by the pandemic. Travel restrictions imposed to contain the virus meant that the tourism sector had to rely solely on domestic tourists for revenue.
“We want to be a part of the hand that grows Botswana tourism by giving foreign tourists different views of what Botswana offers,” Moeti said. “This initiative is supporting the government to enhance intellectuality, fosters sustainable socio-economic development and lets us develop and stimulate other smarter and better ways of doing things in the era of the fourth industrial revolution.”
Since inception in 2001, the FNBB Foundation has been giving back to society and offering meaningful contributions to the socio-economic environment of Botswana. The foundation focuses on national priorities encapsulated in NDP and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In 2018, the foundation re-focused on youth empowerment and skills development. To extend its support to the youth, the foundation runs a staff volunteer programme, a flagship initiative that allows FNBB staff to empower youth through different programmes of their choice, one such initiative being Bodiragatsi Jwame, Lentswe Lame.
The first round of the competition focused especially on the fashion industry after the bank found that most local designers – new entrants as well as longest serving designers – were faced with challenges in attempting to derive a lucrative business model out of their talent. FNBB established that there was no active structured association that brought together fashion designers and to train those bubbling under to prepare them for the market.
Members of staff in the retail segment of the bank embarked on an exciting project to support the creative industry, more specifically Fashion Design. The team ran a four-day intensive training under the theme Fashion in the Age of Technology.