Tonota youth collaborate to raise funds for their businesses
With Covid-19 causing chaos in the business world, 20 pragmatic Tonota youth have come together to help each other’s businesses stay afloat.
On Saturday, their Motshelo, which was conceptualised in December 2020, got off to a perfect start as the first two members received their dues.
The group mainly consists of food vendors, poultry owners, and hairdressers, with each member contributing P500 a month.
Speaking at the launch, the host, Lebogang Ntsosa said after realising that accessing money for small businesses is not easy, they decided to come together for group funding.
“Young people are struggling to finance their small businesses, and it has become even worse today since the outbreak of Covid-19. A poultry owner may struggle to find money to buy live chickens which may threaten their business,” noted Ntsosa, who is a founding member of the group.
Appealing to the village leadership that included area Councillor Andy Boatile, to lend a supporting hand to youth in the area, many of whom are unemployed, Ntsosa further said she hopes their initiative will inspire other Tonota youth to follow suit.
Another member, Daniel Tshoganetso said as young business owners they had thought the Corona pandemic would be over by now. But with the virus now deadlier than ever, it is evident there’s a need to do things differently in order to survive.
“Our businesses have collapsed and Covid-19 is not coming to an end anytime soon. We’ve to come together to help each other sustain them. The intention is to see this initiative growing and even attracting well-established businesses.”
Tshoganetso, who hires out luxury cars for weddings and parties, said since the restrictive regulations on wedding celebrations and parties, his business has suffered greatly.
“I’m also an artist, so you can imagine how Covid has really affected me. We were in the process of importing limousines to add to our fleet but we have since been dealt a heavy blow. This initiative, however, gives me hope. The P5, 000 each member receives every month could be a lifesaver for anyone in my position,” said Tshoganetso.
His sentiments were echoed by Shawn Kgokong, who encouraged group members to remain focused on growing their enterprises.
“Gone are the days when a Diploma or Degree guaranteed you employment. This initiative increases your value as a human being,” Kgokong stated.
Businesswoman and mentor, Masego Kobokobo, advised the group members to never be ashamed of what they do for a living.
“I’m living proof that if done well ‘motshelo’ can change someone’s life. I used to sell fat cakes right here in Tonota as most of you already know. But today I’ve multiple streams of income. I’m a member of similar groups in Gaborone and we’ve successfully helped to open businesses for our members,” she said.
The two beneficiaries of the day Kenaleone Oabile and Gertrude Bob said they were going to use the money to refinance their businesses.
Oabile, who owns a poultry house, said she intends to increase its capacity from 100 chickens to 300, while Bob plans to buy stock for her tuckshop at the cattle post.
In his remarks, Councillor Boatile said he was impressed to see young people coming together to support each other.
“Usually partnerships like this never work. There’s always infighting, so it’s really sobering.”
Boatile urged the group members to look within and support each other’s businesses, before expecting anyone from outside the group to do so.
“Buy your chicken from a fellow group member and do your nails and hair from your members,” implored Boatile, who encouraged the members to consider expanding into other lines of business as well.
“Today I tell you that 90 percent of products you find in any kitchen and bathroom are made outside Botswana. There’s an opportunity there waiting to be explored,” insisted Boatile.