Faced with the possibility of staying unemployed for many years, five women took a leap of faith and approached Gender Affairs to help fund their cleaning chemicals business idea.
Through the help of Local Enterprising Authority (LEA), they drew up a business plan, which was approved by Gender Affairs.
12 months later Elite Chemicals Pty Ltd is slowly gaining prominence under the safe wings of LEA’s incubation programme.
The business started in November last year and produces a vast assortment of cleaning products such as liquid soap, pine jelly, tile cleaner, engine cleaner, floor works polish, shampoo, tyre polish, scouring cream, floor stripper, degreaser and many others.
“This company is currently being run by four women. One of the founding members left the group to pursue her personal interests. She’s the one who planted this idea into our heads as she had 16 year experience working in the same industry,” explained one of the founding five, Gaolapelwe Bulayani.
Located at the LEA incubators at Light Industrial in Francistown, Elite is one of the many small enterprises under LEA’s mentorship programme.
The quartet of Bulayani, Esnath Mafale, Elizabeth Mmusi and Pretty Moleele wake up early every morning to tend to their infant yet fulfilling business.
“We buy raw materials from South Africa, which we mix to produce the various cleaning products,” continued Bulayani, stifling a yawn which suggests she was up in the early hours again.
The company trades with individuals, cleaning service companies and agents, who also help to market the business.
According to Bulayani, LEA’s involvement from the business’ inception is what has kept them afloat thus far.
“LEA has been instrumental in our survival in the last 12 months. From helping us with the business plan, market research and exposing us to more customers through exhibitions and workshops,” Bulayani told Voice Money in an exclusive interview.
Although she admits the business faces many challenges, Bulayani is optimistic they will soon graduate from LEA incubation and rise to the very top, ultimately becoming one of the country’s leading cleaning chemicals supplies company.
“One of our biggest challenges is that we buy all of the raw materials in South Africa. This is time consuming and expensive,” she highlighted.
The market is also extremely competitive, with similar businesses emerging all over Botswana.
“Right here in Francistown, there are about four companies doing exactly what we do!” noted Bulayani.
The entrepreneur urged other women to take advantage of programmes offered by Gender Affairs and LEA to empower themselves.
“There’s help out there. All one needs to do is go out to government offices and enquire; who knows one day you may be a reputable businesswoman and be featured in The Voice,” she concluded with a sly chuckle.