While most of his peers at Malaysia Multimedia University were fully focused on their studies, Mmoloki Mabisi balanced the books, expertly working out a way to make money while not neglecting his education.
Using part of his monthly student allowance, the Nata native saved up to buy the latest digital gadgets, including cellphones and tablets, which he would resell to locals back in Botswana, where such devices were not yet available.
Although he eventually graduated with a degree in Computer Science, Mabisi, 34, was convinced his future now lay in entrepreneurship.
By 2017, what initially started as a way to make a quick buck had developed into a major enterprise with the formation of MB Gadgets Solutions.
Under Mabisi’s guidance, the business has grown steadily over the last five years and now employs up to eight people. If Mabisi has his way, this is just the beginning…
How was MB Gadgets formed?
MB Gadgets started when I was abroad studying; I was buying smart gadgets and couriering them home to sell.
During my tertiary time, gadgets were cheap abroad – I took advantage of that and found a way of making money out of it home.
I saved money from my allowance to buy the gadgets and advertised them on social media platforms.
When I got clients, I couriered for them through my agent, who was back home by then, to distribute them.
As a Computer Science student, I had the privilege to do Microsoft certificates to sharpen my technology skills and make myself ready for the industry.
What influenced this type of business?
The love of technology made me join this business; most of the services we offer are my passion which makes it easier for me to offer them to Batswana.
Most of the gadgets and technology businesses are owned by foreigners so I also wanted to be part of it to show Batswana that everything is possible.
So what exactly does your company offer?
We offer website, software design, desktop and mobile applications, networking, software and hardware trouble shooting and fixing and security solutions (CCTV, Car tracking and access control systems).
What has been the reception from locals?
People are happy with our products and services as they exceed their expectations.
We bring the latest technology products which are not available in most retail shops to the people.
We are having a lot of returning customers as our social media pages has more than 50k likes and followers and good reviews.
So that’s a sign that we are doing something right at the moment.
What can you point to us your major breakthrough in the market?
Right now security solution products (car trackers, CCTV) are the ones making it in the market, more so than smart gadgets.
So that’s basically the department which is doing well thus far.
How do you deal with competition from big brands?
We bring the latest technology products which most of our competitors don’t have yet and we make sure it reaches more people fast through social media sponsorships.
Like our tagline ‘Bringing technology to everyone’ we are making expensive gadgets more affordable in the market so that everyone can have them.
What challenges do you face in your trade?
Since we get most of our products outside the country we face delays in orders which sometimes cause a drop in sales.
And also Covid-19 pandemic killed our business, lately it started to be slow and not profitable like before.
Business trickles in slowly unlike in the past where we have many clients.
Sounds like Covid-19 hit your business hard – how did you survive?
I managed to get Covid-19 Relief Fund from CEDA to pay up salaries and rentals.
The business is challenging and it needs patience and determination.
Going forward, what’s your dream for MB Gadgets?
My dream is for the company is to have branches in all parts of the country.
FULL NAMES: Mmoloki Mabisi
PLACE OF BIRTH: Francistown
MARITAL STATUS: Married
DREAM HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Hawaii
FAVOURITE MEAL: Samp and Beef
FAVOURITE DRINK: Ice Tea
MENTORS: My wife and my mother