The year was 2010.
Vincent Goabaone Mafuta was a fresh-faced 22-year-old in his third year of a four-year Criminal Justice course at the University of Botswana (UB). He was a young man at a crossroads.
Realising it was time to start preparing for life after uni and desperate to escape the clutches of unemployment that loomed large (and still does) for many of the country’s graduates, Mafuta took his future into his own hands.
Using his university allowance, which in those days stood at P1, 900, the Shashe Bridge native formed his own security company, VTM Security.
It proved to be an inspired decision.
Eight years later, with over 500 employees and offices in Serowe, Kanye, Lobatse and Gaborone, VTM Security has established itself as a serious player in the over-subscribed, ultra-competitive security industry.
The enterprise specialises in access control, CCTV installation, providing security guards as well as conducting investigations and uncovering fraud.
Analysing his decision to start his own business, Mafuta – now 30 – told Voice Money he was motivated by a desire to provide not just for himself but for his fellow countrymen as well.
“The question was, what am I going to do that can lift the economy? That is when I decided, because of my educational background, let me form a company that can compete in the security industry,” explained the dapper-looking gentleman, sporting a fresh haircut and a smart, well-cut suit.
Proudly highlighting his company’s rise, which he described as ‘remarkable’, Mafuta revealed VTM Security now competes with established companies, some of whom are listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE), for business.
“The company has grown and continues to, especially considering where it started. It’s not easy to fund a company from the allowance I got from UB! But today we have more than 500 employees.
“We are competing with stable companies that have been in the industry for many years. It’s not easy, but who said business is easy, and who listens to complaints anyway!” he exclaimed, adding they are working hard not to become over reliant on government tenders.
“We are working very hard to diversify our financial revenues. At the moment we are doing alarm monitoring which we hope will enter the market, especially in the private sector.”
It is this line of thinking that saw VTM Security recently introduce a unique new product into the market: Electromesh.
“This is a new product we have that protects people’s sites. What happens is that it runs into two layers, high and low voltage. It is an intelligent fence as it is able to communicate with our control room, you will never want to touch it!” warned the bespectacled Mafuta cheerfully.
Quizzed on how he was able to start-up a company using only savings from his tertiary-allowance, the VTM Security Managing Director says it was difficult but sufficient.
“To form a company you need a lot of money to do a few things. So the challenge that I experienced had to do with finances. My mother assisted me as she had an old Toyota Corolla model which I used to run errands such as marketing,” he remembers with a smile.
According to Mafuta, what sets VTM Security apart from other similar ventures is that the entity has adopted a ‘shared-services’ business model.
Asked how this works, he told Voice Money, “What we have realised is that a lot of people in our country are interested in security products, but the problem is pricing.
“So we asked ourselves, ‘what can best help people at reasonable prices?’ Now we are saying we can install CCTV for you, then you pay small amounts per month. This way, we are guaranteed that for the next five years we have business with you!” concluded the business minded Mafuta confidently.