The recent establishment of the Ministry of Entrepreneurship has been welcomed with open arms by some entrepreneurs, who believe that it is long overdue. However, the hope is that the ministry will be inclusive and that there are structures in place to ensure that there is good monitoring and evaluation processes, so that the ministry better fulfills its mandate.
Speaking to this publication this week, founder and director of Market Players, Katlego Mokgethi, who is also an entrepreneur, noted that the establishment of this ministry is a welcome development because it is an opportunity for Government to roll out entrepreneurship development policies in a lean manner. She however, pointed out that it is not so much the establishment of the ministry that should be of interest but rather the governance aspect of running the ministry, as well as the monitoring and evaluation structures thereof.
"I hope to see a meritocratic and inclusive approach to setting up the Ministry. I also hope that there will be mechanisms in place to see through the efficacy, and intentionality in the demeanour of personnel in implementing its mandate. Above all else, I hope that entrepreneurs and non-profit organisations will be included in the Ministry's framework," she said.
Market Players has played a key advocacy role in creating visibility of entrepreneurs in Botswana, according them platforms for training and cementing intra-regional trade and business opportunities, and giving youth and women in particular, the necessary training and capacitation to be able to facililate best practices in their chosen fields of entreprenership. Mokgethi reiterated that the mission of Market Players, which two months ago carried out a marathon geared at raising funds for the building of an entrepreneurship hub in Gaborone, is to help reduce the failure rate of citizen owned businesses in Botswana by putting in place strategies geared at honing the quality of their business acumen and improving their access to market and funding through a range of business acceleration and incubation programs.
Small-scale entrepreneur, Maatla Theko, expressed hope that the ministry would not only benefit a select few, but all Batswana. "The high rate of unemployment, which stands at nearly 30 percent, has forced many youth in the country to consider turning to entrepreneurship to not only eke a decent living but to also contribute to growth of the economy. I would want to see young people like myself from rural and semi-rural areas benefiting from the policies drawn out by the ministry. Young people in Botswana don't only have the challenge of lack of funding, but also training and access to regional markets. Sometimes as Batswana, we have big dreams but we are discouraged by challenges such as red tape in organisations mandated to assist us. We want the Ministry to be open to all Batswana, and hopefully, along the line, we will see a flourishing entrepreneurial culture in Botswana."
When announcing the establishment of the Ministry during a national address recently, President Mokgweetsi Masisi reiterated that Government has over the years realised the importance of entrepreneurship as an economic diversification strategy. As a result, the Government has put various initiatives in place to promote entrepreneurial development, but now it was becoming important to allocate a single Ministry with the mandate to deal with entrepreneurship.
In a 2017 feature titled, The Rise of Entrepreneurship in Botswana, Shaka Senwamadi, who is a Performance and Transformational Life Coach and Neuro Linguistic Practitioner at Emerge Transformational Coaching and Neuro-Linguistics, emphasised that in order to protect and continually grow the domino effect created by entrepreneurship in Botswana, such as value and job creation, diversification and foreign direct investment amongst others, "the country needs to effectively define, map and enforce policies, processes and procedures across all sectors that allow for such individuals to flourish and thus make a significant contribution to economic progression."