Having assessed the dairy and beverage market, five business minded women from various villages, took a bold decision, way back in 2009, and ventured into the country’s multi-million Pula dairy industry under the name Dream Flavours. As they often say, the rest is history.

This week, the company Managing Director, Litah Malejane told Botswana Guardian that while the journey has been a rollercoaster, there is light at the end of the tunnel. “Initially, Dream Flavours centered solely on producing yoghurt, particularly incorporating exotic fruits. However, upon transitioning to crafting it with wild fruits, ‘we observed a remarkable embrace from the community, as the fruits (wild) held a deep resonance with them,” disclosed Malejane. The company uses indigenous fruits such as Morula, Mogorogorwane and Mmilo for production of their various beverages. Currently, the company’s product line consists of Ice Pops, Juices, Madila and Yoghurt, which is their main line. As mentioned earlier, the market is controlled by foreign companies, mainly from South Africa, with isolated cases of citizen-owned companies who managed to stay afloat.

Dream Flavours, which has been operating for 14 years now, has tightened its strategy to ensure their products are relevant in the market. “Through our innovative flavour combinations, commitment to sourcing high quality ingredients, and a unique customer – centric approach that prioritizes our consumers, we are set apart from other established entities in the same sector,“ said a confident Malejane. In Botswana, Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have often had their well thought out business ideas going up in smoke partly because of lack of access to funding. However, Dream Flavours, has been fortunate enough to receive initial funding from the Department of Gender Affairs. The company would later get additional financial shoot from Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA). As things stand, the main task that lies ahead for the company is to list their various products in many domestic retailers as much as possible. The company has been in close relations with Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) which manages Brand Botswana, responsible for promoting #PushaBW campaign.

“BITC’s initiative, '#Pushabw', advocating for locally produced goods has greatly supported our company. As a result, we’ve expanded into a few stores like Pick N Pay, Food Lovers, Mr Veg, and we are on the verge of supplying Fours Cash & Carry” Malejane told this publication. The #PushaBW campaign was launched in December 2018. The campaign is a national initiative aimed at encouraging and rallying Batswana to actively grow the local economy by supporting and buying locally made products, supporting local initiatives and using local services. The drive challenges Batswana to grow the economy by deliberately purchasing and using products made and grown in Botswana. “The #PushaBW has made strides in changing people’s mindset on local products. Through information sharing, exposure and profiling of local products through various platforms, Batswana now appreciate local products and their quality. The manufacturing sector has developed as there is now increased production due to an increase in demand for local products,” stressed BITC Brand Management Executive Director, Kutlo Moagi.

Moagi added that BITC, through the #PushaBW campaign continues to avail platforms for local producers like Dream Flavors to showcase their products to garner awareness and interest for their products Dream Flavours has conceded it continues to experience challenges. For the past 14 years, Dream Flavours has encountered challenges of capacity due to shortage of resources,” states Malejane, adding they also grapple with the challenges as their growth remains gradual. Strategic relations is key to business growth. This explains why Dream Flavours, which employs ten people, has collaborated with Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) which assists with product standardisation and quality controls. According to Malejane, the next growth of the company might arise from expanding into new markets or innovation with unique product lines that cater to evolving consumer preferences. But are there any plans to expand into the regional market? I ask the Dream Flavours boss. “Certainly. Expanding to regional markets will help us diversify our customer base, and also reduce dependency on a single market, it will allow us to reach new demographics and potentially increase revenue and brand recognition,” she answered with conviction.