Proper mentorship and support strategies should be put in place to ensure that entrepreneurs stay focused on their goals, says 2019 Creative Business Cup winner Segametsi Balosang.
She said that small scale entrepreneurs are still faced with several challenges and stakeholders including government could put a few measures in place to cultivate talent and skills, harvest potential and ensure that entrepreneurs reach their full potential. The entrepreneur in the food processing and indigenous food perservation sector, said that there is no point in implementing policies to empower entrepreneurs if there is no support structure in place to support them after that.
She also said that it is also important to implement monitoring quality standards across board. “This will ensure that we are able to compete at an international level which will open up market access, what is the point of funding my project if I cannot even sell it in local retail stores?
“At the end of the day we seek funding to enable us to execute our go to market strategy locally and internationally to commercially sell our products,” she said. Balosang, who runs True Afribites, which produces flavoured phane, recently emerged the winner of the Creative Business Cup 2019, beating 14 other competitors. She is already preparing for her trip to Copenhagen, Denmark in June, where she will get the opportunity to network, seal business deals and partake in the global Creative Business Cup competition - an international platform to encourage entrepreneurs to think out of the box in developing business models and also build brand awareness of local products in the creative field.
It is also a point of entry to engaging with international retail stores and to drive online sales. Balosang expressed hope that the win would give her exposure to relevant skills and training workshops to comprehensively sustain her growth. She said that competition was tight as every business had an innovative and globally competitive idea that was presented well.
She admitted that for her, it was a challenge to sell her idea within a limited time because as much as she is a serial entrepreneur she has always been terrified of addressing large groups of people so this pushed her from her comfort zone and made her master a new skill. “I practised how to pitch and speak in front of people but now have decided to engage a professional because I think there is still room for improvement.” Meanwhile, Creative Business Cup Botswana coordinator Nicoletta Chimonoma conceded that one of the hardest things that entrepreneurs encounter is lack of mentorship and exposure to entrepreneurial networks.
She said that this year they had engaged speakers from the entrepreneurial space with the hope that they would inspire young entrepreneurs by exposing them to more success stories from those who have made it and continue to grow their businesses day-by-day. She said the reason they held a final event where finalists had to pitch was to help them improve their communication skills, which she said is vital for anyone in the business space.
“Not everyone is an extrovert or is chatty, but you need to be consistent in communicating messages about your start-up; you need to stay on top of your communications.”