Scores of youths thronged the second installment of the Gabane Youth Business Pitso last weekend to share insights into the challenges and triumphs of their businesses.
Speaking at the event held at Gabane Community Junior Secondary School (CJSS), the United States of America (USA) Embassy Representative, James Gardner said entrepreneurship contributes to equality and prosperity and creates possibilities of a better world.
Gardner further said that he was proud of the focus being given to sectors of growth, Agri-business, energy and technology and added that entrepreneurs are agents of change with a responsibility to be fair, responsive and innovative in the communities within which they live.
The US Embassy representative spoke of the Mandela Fellowship Program (MFP), a United States of America (USA) Embassy flagship programme for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which he noted has, since 2014, sent 81 Batswana to the USA on the six- week fellowship to focus on civic leadership, public management and business.
The network affords a platform to young leaders to connect as a community and also offers free online courses and information.
“The Online YALI network has 6000 Batswana registered to date,” he said.
Gardner also stated that in addition to these programmes, there are other broader economic initiatives that work on the partnership between Africa and the United States, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
AGOA has been in existence for the past 15 years and has so far created 300 000 jobs for Africans.
In the next two months, a task force will embark on a nationwide tour to talk about business opportunities for Botswana businesses to export products to the US without duty.
The US embassy representative also noted that there are over 6000 products available to export from Botswana to the US under the AGOA programme, which will be in place until the year 2025 at least.
Giving his address at the Pitso, an entrepreneur, Rebaone Seema said aspiring entrepreneurs should be selective about who they share their business ideas with.
Seema also emphasized that young entrepreneurs should know where to go for resources for their businesses instead of giving up.
The Seema Tankers Founder, also cautioned attendants, amongst them fellow entrepreneurs and aspiring businesspeople to avoid falling into the 8 to 5 work trap, which, he said has a tendency to delay a person’s chances of establishing a reputable and robust business earlier on in life until they reach retirement age or become obsolete.
He said the initiative to encourage upcoming adults to venture into business is most commendable as it creates employment and lifts the financial status of all involved.