- Mokgware keeps the wheels turning
- Advises youth on perseverance
As a response to the skyrocketing unemployment especially amongst the youth, the Managing Director (MD) of Agri- Cadre Tyres, Leatile Mokgware has advised young people in Botswana to take advantage of the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) funding and venture into businesses.
Unemployment in Botswana has surpassed 20 percent, with majority of the jobless being young people. “Venturing into businesses is the only solution,” Mokgware said.
In an interview with The Business Weekly & Review, the youthful entrepreneur said his business has employed seven Batswana and easily makes between P5-P7million in a year. “The impact would be bigger if more of us were to do business. We would together employ more people and contribute significantly to the economy,” he said.
Mokgware, a 29 year old, was financed by CEDA in 2017 and ventured into the cut-throat tyre business. He competes with large foreign owned companies, but he managed to get a share in the market.
Thanks to the CEDA funding, the future looks bright for Agric Cadre, a Gaborone-based wheel and tyre fitment outfit that was financed by the Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) in 2017 to the tune of P400 000 and is now looking to expand to other parts of the country.
Mokgware’s business is doing well because well enough to feed the owner’s expansion plans. “I am currently working on my expansion plans to open branches in place like Francistown, Molepolole and Lobatse,” he says, adding that the move may encourage other Batswana to venture into the wheel and tyre fitment business which is currently dominated by foreigners.
Mokwgare believes that franchising is one way of achieving his goal of becoming the go-to tyre and wheel fitment company in Botswana and over time in the SADC region, then the African continent, and even the world. “Big regional and international brands currently hold a large share of the local market and we need, as Batswana, to get in on the action,” Mokgware says, noting that the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) is currently spearheading a public procurement drive.
The self-styled “energetic and business hungry” young man intends to increase his permanent staff of seven to reinforce the base to which he occasionally adds two or so causals. His long-term plans include extending his footprint to countries like Lesotho and Malawi
Mokgware would like to leave a legacy that will continue to grow. “Entrepreneurs should have a succession plan for their businesses so that they continue to trade even after they are no more,” he says. Because he has strong family values, he thinks entrepreneurs should look within their families for people to carry on their businesses. This ensures generational wealth of the order of multinational corporations.
But Mokgware says wheel and tyre fitment was not his idea of business at the beginning. Growing up at Barolong Farms, his inclination was agricultur, eespecially dry land farming, hence he founded Agric Cadre. However, his plans hit a snag and the enterprise went belly up.
Whereupon he got a job with a prominent tyre company where he keenly learnt as much as he could about the business. He started trading in wheel and tyre fitment shortly after leaving formal employment as a wheel and tyre fitment sales agent and has never looked back.