Okavango Diamond Company has launched youth-focussed programme that equips them with skills and knowledge that will enable them to take advantage of opportunities in the local diamond industry.
Speaking at the launch recently, ODC’s Deputy Managing Director Marcus Ter Haar said they have selected ten local entrepreneurs who will be the first to benefit from the programme, which is the first of its kind in Botswana. “Botswana currently suffers from a pronounced lack of entrepreneurship skills as well as broader diamond industry knowledge.
Entrepreneurship has been identified as part of a number of solutions to address unemployment in Botswana. There is demonstrated interest from Batswana to explore opportunities in the diamond industry,” explained Ter Haar. He went onto to add that, through its networks, ODC had an opportunity to expose Batswana to elements of the diamond sector an industry which has previously been perceived as inaccessible.
Kutlo Thathana, the company's stakeholder relations executive, further explained that after several ideas were investigated, finally ODC Youth Entrepreneur Programme (YEP) was conceptualised as the initiative. Thathana said, “the programme which targets entrepreneurs aged 18-35 years will be exposed to the diamond value chain, provided with entrepreneurial development training and equipped with the skills to complete a business plan which can be used to establish their businesses.”
ODC YEP is in two parts: 7 months training by University of Stellenbosch Business School which will be delivered through a combination of assignments, class lectures, correspondence and online sessions. The second part is a 1 week Diamond Foundation Seminars by World Diamond Manufacturers Botswana (WDM Botswana) which will be delivered through industry presentations and tours. It is anticipated that 10 young Batswana will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to take advantage of opportunities in the local diamond industry or further afield.