In the next couple of issues of TRUTH we will be featuring entrepreneurs that have been successfully assisted by Tokafala and have grown their ideas into profitable and sustainable businesses. So, who is Tokafala and what exactly do they do? To answer these questions Truth sat down with Mr. Victor Monggae, Hub Manager of Tokafala.
We were founded by Debswana, DeBeers, Anglo American and the Government of Botswana and were launched in 2013, with our Hub opening doors in January 2014, to basically support the growth of SMME’s in Botswana, even though there were other institutions that were already there the Government still felt there was a gap in the enterprise development sector that needed to be closed.
We have our business Mentorship program that basically assist SMME’S to grow and reach out to new and lucrative markets, we work with these businesses to help them close those gaps that may hinder their growth. This mentorship program is targeted at what we may call mature businesses, they have been in business for some time and are basically struggling with the nuts and bolts to make it a success. Furthermore, we also have the Advisory program that is targeted at much smaller businesses in terms of activity and that runs for 4 months with one on one sessions in between the 4 months a day workshops. Each month they will come from 0800hrs-1700hrs, after the workshops we encourage them to go out and implement on what they would have learnt. As a follow up, we visit them at their own businesses, then we conduct the one on one sessions referencing the material they would have covered in the workshops. This allows us to ensure that these companies and individuals can implement and apply what we impart. That is how we run the advisory program. Our workshops are actually very practical and the tools and skills we share have been tested and have proofed to be effective.
The mentorship program can run between 3-12 months and it is basically targeted at those that are more advanced and know what they are doing but still lack in some areas of their business competencies as I indicated earlier. We start by conducting a comprehensive business diagnostic, to try and unearth the issues that would be hindering growth in those businesses, after the diagnostic, we develop a work plan that will entail what needs to be covered to close the gap and, in most cases, you find that issues of sales and marketing, operations, HR, strategy, financials always come up. There is no “one size fits all” solution of course, each business is unique, we always look at each business and try to address their challenges on their own merits. From that work plan we start implementing and of course our interest is also on the growth of the business, that is very critical for us. Growth in terms of revenue, job creation, diversified offerings and sustenance of these businesses in the long run is what we aim to achieve with each client. But it is also true that we are interested in working with businesses where we will value add.
You would appreciate that with the government, they are interested in how many people are going to be employed in those businesses, that these businesses actually improve their revenue base. The other partners are interested in insuring that these businesses help government diversify the economy and that they themselves can also leave a lasting legacy in those communities in which they mine. Specific programs that we work with especially with the mining houses, with Debswana for example, we have the Local Supply Development program and it focuses mainly on the two mining towns of Jwaneng and Orapa where we are currently working with 10 local suppliers to make them competitive and in the long run to be able to stand on their own two feet even in the absence of the mine. These local suppliers are recommended to us by Debswana directly.
Our interest is for them to be able to sustain the business and not only concentrate on the mining jobs but diversify their clientele. However, whatever business they are doing with the mine, we want them to do it well. We appreciate that they know what they are doing and, in most cases, have the technical expertise to complete their projects, we come in to bolster the management side of their operations to allow them to set strategies that help them scale and remain profitable.
With our normal clients we put adverts through print media and at times we visit industrial areas to find who could benefit from our services. We do have a frequent slot on RB1 on a Friday to share insights on the enterprise development landscape. We also work with other institutions and organizations to tap into their databases, one example is Women in Entrepreneurship Day, Barclays Bank and Chamber of Mines. We also investigate other organisations such as BNPC and CEDA and see if there are any potential companies we can assist there.
At a personal level in this type of work, Mr Monggae is made happy when a client lands a lucrative deal that can sustain his/her family for the foreseeable future and can employ Batswana that are struggling finding jobs, .
Truth Magazine in our next issue of June, will interview and showcase just how effective this Tokafala program is and whether the interventions that it provides are impacting positively on these businesses.
Till next month, stay locked to Truth Magazine.