MARS MOBILE CAUSING A STIR ON EARTH
Though there are still challenges for the information technology industry, a former Botho University star student is aware that passion knows no obstacles.
His company Mars Mobile is proof of that.
Recently almost everybody has been singing from the ICT hymnbook with the President HE Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi leading the choir.
However, 35-year-old Steven Retshabile’s passion dates back to way before the sector became ‘trendy’.
The Maun native’s enthusiasm for technology and technological solutions led him to study for a Bachelor of Sciences in Computing, specialising in Software Engineering.
“Technology is taking over and is changing our lives and how we do things. I want to be one of those who shape the direction of things,” he explains assuredly.
After completing his studies in 2016, Retshabile sought to improve access to information, reduce cost of advertising and save the environment by reducing the need for paper.
And thus Mars Mobile was born.
The company develops applications and websites, designs graphics, animations, games, commercials and edits videos.
Mars Mobile has already launched an advertising application available on android 5.0 or later versions.
Retshabile says this app gives Batswana a chance to sell their products outside the country and provides information about available products and services via mobile devices.
Now with over 2, 000 subscribers across the country, the company’s first application was developed in 2018 and launched at the Northern Trade Fair the same year.
It has been exhibited at other shows like the Global Trade Fair last year, with Retshabile describing the response as overwhelming.
Customers who can use the application to put their information in the virtual world include corporate companies, smmes and individuals.
Unfortunately, not everyone is able to use information technologies due to the costs associated with access.
Most people access social sites like Facebook and Whatsapp because they are on cheaper data packages.
“Tech adoption is also slow with some still using old versions of platforms while we are on version 9. This affects progress because in this business we need numbers,” notes Retshabile.
Another challenge Retshabile faces is startup capital, which he is having trouble securing.
Despite these obstacles, Mars Mobile is forging boldly ahead.
They have already approached network providers in a bid to get their app under the cheaper data packages so the app can be accessed by all.
They have also embarked on an outreach programme, which they use to educate the nation through exposes, radio shows and road shows.
It may be tough but Retshabile says they are going global soon.
“In five years we will be global and selling Botswana artifacts and other products to the rest of the world. By then we will have a staff compliment of about 100 highly skilled people. We would also have integrated functionality into our existing apps and hosting in our own data center,” he states.
He further reveals that they have just completed World Tourism Experiences Shared in Harmony (WOTESH), a social media based application designed for sharing tourism experiences and for bookings.
For that, they have instant private chat for consumers and business.
Retshabile’s simple advice for those wishing to go into business, particularly this type, is to keep the passion burning.