By Cross Kgosidiile *
The Business Den is a project that we as BDC hold dearly. It aims to reach out to budding, ambitious and self-driven youth entrepreneurs, to allow them to secure funding on a grant basis accompanied by mentorship and networking opportunities. The competition was opened to young citizen entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-35, with ideas for either a new or existing business seeking expansion opportunities.
As Botswana’s main investment arm with a mandate to finance commercially viable projects, we are happy to have launched this initiative, to help our young entrepreneurs in their quest to take their ideas to the next level. The competition was open to businesses across all sectors, to align with our mandate of investing in commercially viable projects in all sectors of the economy.
Entrepreneurs are naturally attracted to each other; they enjoy sharing each other’s experiences, they create partnerships with each other whenever such opportunities arise. Building such an ecosystem takes years of effort, and most of all, it requires an approach to business growth and planning that sometimes is hard to appreciate. It is my hope that from this initiative, many more partnerships will flourish amongst yourselves.
What is striking about entrepreneurs is that they do not fear failure. If you were to meet an entrepreneur or innovator who has not had some kind of failure, you might question whether they’ve done anything meaningful.
The truth is that among entrepreneurs, failure is welcome as it provides a learning plat-from. The great inventor Thomas Edison was once asked how he could remain optimistic, after failing thousands of times. He responded that he had not failed, but rather discovered 10,000 ways that would not work. This also pointed out that failure is just delayed success, and that is the kind of attitude that is at the heart of success.
Why are we here today? We are gathered here today to recognise talent and determination. Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting these young people where they delivered their business pitches to a panel of seasoned judges, battling it out for funding of up to P500, 000.00. Once again, let me commend you for the work and passion that you put into your presentations. There is not a grain of doubt in my mind that you will all go far.
With that said I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Alosa Group of Companies for their outstanding delivery and proving to be worthy of the Business Den prize. Invention and innovation do not occur without a strong and powerful motive. Great ideas come from great minds, and great minds go where they are welcome.
The winning project of Alosa Group of Companies will be kept in the Business Den for eighteen months, where BDC will provide constant monitoring and evaluation while playing a mentorship role until the project is mature and can graduate. Through BDC’s collaboration with Africa Youth Entrepreneur Summit (AYES) and Angel Networks Botswana (ANB), support through mentorship and networking opportunities will also be provided.
Congratulations ALOSA and to all the finalist, may you continue to shine, persevere, and grow in all your future endeavours.
*Cross Kgosidiile is the Managing Director of Botswana Development Corporation (BDC). This is part of his speech the prize giving ceremony of The Business Den competition which has been won by the Alosa Group of Companies.