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Savvy businesswomen to watch

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Their beauty is striking and so is their sharp business acumen.

A chat with these two young and savvy business women was inspirational, as despite their busy schedules they commit to uplifting and supporting other young aspiring people.

Gobonaone One Modisane

32-year-old Self-driven entrepreneur Gobonaone Modisane graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Home Economics) from the University of Botswana in 2008.

She is the owner and Director of Young Chefs Academy Botswana.

An outfit that is child-centric, designed to provide interactive learning experiences that give children the opportunity to develop a life-long love for the culinary arts.

Amongst Modisane’s responsibilities of managing day-to-day activities of the business, she also actively seeks opportunities to further grow the brand.

Such include a recent partnership with Botswana Television to produce a television programme that appeal to young minds to learn healthy eating habits, healthy meal preparation, kitchen hygiene and overall etiquette.

She also extends her skills to children with special needs and prides herself in the wonderful relationships she has fostered with the little ones and those that care for them.

“My business combines my greatest passions. I love working with children and I love food.

My mum taught me so much about food and it is humbling to pass on this knowledge.

Young Chefs Academy becomes a bridging gap as unfortunately most of us lead demanding lifestyles and time spent with our children is often limited.

Children learn important survival life skills during their visit to the cooking academy.

Despite her young years and busy schedule, Modisane has become a sort after figure sharing her experience of running a business with audiences at numerous institutions.

These include speaking engagements at Limkokwing University, Botswana Accountancy College, The African Women Leadership Academy Mentoring programme and Botswana Youth, Sports and Culture.

“We all have a responsibility to play in uplifting our communities. Supporting other young people is important hence it makes part of my schedule. Amongst her focus areas Modisane regards working with children with special needs, orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), as her greatest work.

“Knowing that it is not just another after school activity money can afford but rather a rare opportunity to engage with others in a safe, friendly and nurturing environment where they have a greater chance of doing well. It allays their fears of the future as they learn skills they can trade with. They normally struggle with academics but do very well with practical subjects. Vocational training is very important to them.”

Despite the commendable work Modisane does, she points out that it is not easy to pursue a dream; one faces a lot of challenges however it is important to believe in oneself and the work at hand so as not to be easily shaken.

“One must be tenacious to achieve success. At Young Chefs Academy we strive to make our customers happy and support the community in which we do business. We create an environment where children are always respected, listened to and involved in the learning process.”

“When not at work, I make sure I attend to “me”, my family and other social responsibilities by getting involved as much as I can so nobody feels left out. I also look forward to Sunday school classes, which I conduct. It is yet another opportunity to serve the little ones in a totally different set up. “ Says Modisane.

TECLA EVANS

SELF STARTER: Tecla Evans
SELF STARTER: Tecla Evans

“I am a 29 year old, God’s child, proud mother, wife, sister and an entrepreneur in the business of manufacturing home textiles such as bed linen, curtaining and banqueting linen to supply the hospitality, health care, educational institutions and individuals in Botswana.”

After a short stint as an employee, Evans who studied decided to start her own business.

I was curious as to where all the hotel linen came from. We all enjoy the treat of a hotel stay and often wish we could also have that kind of linen in our homes.

I did a bit of research and thought with all the hotels we have locally surely it could be a lucrative business.

When the dream is big and the light shines so bright at the end of the tunnel, waking up every day is worth it.

I know failure is not fatal as it provides learning opportunities but for me it is not an option, the fear of failure makes me work harder.

It is gratifying to realize my dream and also contribute to some family’s survival through the employees I have and of course feedback from happy clients makes the hard work worthwhile.

Business can be tough. Without proper processes and systems a business cannot grow, one needs to treat a business professionally to see growth despite the challenges.

Clients not paying on time, big clients squeezing one’s margins, poor systems, managing relationships, finance for expansion and getting the right people (resources) prove to be daily challenges.

However as Rome was not build in a day, I strive to do my utmost best and keep the ship afloat.

I read a lot and listen to those with wisdom and I’ve learnt to Trust my instincts, exude passion, innovate, take ownership, foster teamwork and remain humble.

Even though business can be demanding, Evans says it is important to create time for all the important aspects of one’s life including family.

I have a daily routine that includes bonding with my daughter and ensuring we have at least one meal as a family to catch up on each other’s days.

I also avoid missing work for no reason as I would be setting a bad example and if I have to take work home, I prefer doing it as early as 3am after a few hours of sleep.

There is so much untapped talent in Botswana and I do my part to encourage and mentor other young people to seek opportunities available to them.

There is a plethora of programmes on offer that can be taken advantage of.

To the consumers, I would like to say support local produce, it is only through the support that local businesses can grow and even start exporting and to those in business; accept feedback, take note and learn from your mistakes.”