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Building a service empire



Building a service empire

Events management made easy

The old adage in business states: ‘the best business idea is one that provides a solution to a problem’.

This is precisely what Daniel Magole Diamond had in mind when he founded Service Empire last February.

Having hit the ground running, with more and more clients subscribing for their services, this one-of-a-kind Events Management company has the potential to become the next big thing in Botswana.

The enterprise boasts a comprehensive approach to Events Management, providing tents, cutlery, sound, deco and numerous additional services to their clients.

Unlike other outfits in the industry, Service Empire has come up with a unique concept that allows members to pay a monthly subscription – similar to the way insurance companies work.

“It’s a conventional way of doing business, that allows people to have a peace of mind while we handle their business,” explained Diamond, the founder and Sole Proprietor.

According to Diamond, anyone who is gainfully employed and has an active bank account can register with the company.

The self-driven entrepreneur, who’s also at the helm of well known traditional group Bana Bana Ba Ntogwa, revealed he came up with the concept after realising generally people struggle to host events and even postpone big decisions such as marriage due to the cost implications associated with them.

“We’re trying to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots. For as little as P270 per month you can get P50, 000 worth of service for your wedding or party. Remember we don’t give out money, we provide a service,” he stressed.

Following a 12-month waiting period, a client is eligible to host an event of their choice once a year.

It could be a graduation party, wedding, tombstone unveiling, re-union or anniversary, Business Empire will take care of the logistics.

“We are not saying members should host an event every year, but we are assuring them that should they want to, we’ll be ready for them!” he exclaimed, adding, “For a client who has subscribed for five uninterrupted years, there’s a cash back policy of 30 per cent.”

There are varying packages clients can choose from, with subscriptions also covering close family members.

“This means a client can decide to throw a birthday party for her daughter and she’ll be fully covered,” Diamond said.

The company also offers extras like video shooting, wedding dress and car at an additional monthly cost not exceeding P30.

“We are not a funeral parlour but when our client dies we pay-out P2, 000, and provide a dome three days before burial, as well as a tent and chairs,” he added.

Diamond said they thought availing a dome three days before burial date would help the bereaved family with accommodation issues as visiting relatives can use it.

“We also provide a van which will be used to ferry firewood and other such menial tasks that require a van. This van will be availed to the family as soon as the death is announced until the day of burial,” he said.

Diamond revealed the idea is his intellectual property protected by The Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA).

“This means we have a wide market to operate in,” he highlighted.

“We’re currently being mentored by Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), and we’ll soon get funding,” interjected Diamond’s Personal Assistant and Sales Executive, Tebo Bokamoso Thobogang.

Thobogang said they cover both individuals and corporate clients.

“We have what we call paid up clients whose waiting period is only six months – these are clients who pay a year’s subscription up front – compared to our premium clients whose waiting period is 12 months,” he said.

“All you need is a copy of your Omang, pay slip and one month bank statement to register with us. Check us out at our office in Phase IV Industrial in Francistown and get your contract document,” concluded Thobogang, who is also the company’s first permanent employee.


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Battling for booze



Battling for booze

Liquor industry wants alcohol sale ban lifted

Botswana Alcohol Industry Association (BAIA) is lobbying for government to follow the example of neighbouring countries and lift the ban on alcohol sales.

Their main reasoning being that citizens who live close to the border may be tempted to sneak out of the country in their desperation to buy liquor. They note this would be detrimental to the economy as well posing a serious health hazard.

The Association Chairman, Mothusi Molokomme told Voice Money they believe the ban – in place since 27 March – should be lifted to allow the public to purchase alcohol and consume it at home.

As much as the main focus is for bottle stores and wholesalers to open for trade, Molokomme revealed they also want bars to be opened, noting they are the only centres of distribution in some of the country’s remoter areas.

He stressed that bars should be allowed to operate on a ‘takeaway’ basis but only after they satisfy Covid-19 prevention protocols.

“The main worry is that there will be loitering around the bars. But it is our belief that operators will strictly adhere to the regulations and allow for takeaways only,” stated Molokomme.

The Chairman pointed to the recent surge in homebrews as indication that the ban should be lifted.

During the period of lockdown, the police have recorded escalating cases of homebrews, which in some instances have even led to the loss of drinkers’ lives.

“There is also a regional factor because South Africa has announced it will be opening next week. Namibia is opening as well and Zambia has always remained opened and because of our porous borders, we may see the illegal coming in of liquor,” continued Molokomme.

He said areas located along the borders of these countries pose a threat to liquor contraband.

While the association advocates for the ban to be lifted, he says as the industry, they will also intensify their message for safer consumption and promote good behaviour among consumers to exercise precautionary measures.

“We are hoping that we will reach an agreement. It will be difficult to convince government when it comes to opening of bars, but we cannot sideline the bars because, in some areas they are the only available points of sale,” reiterated Molokomme, who doubles as the Managing Director of Distell Botswana.

The association was scheduled to meet with the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI), Peggy Serame this week to map a way forward regarding the sale of alcohol.

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Crafting a new life



Crafting a new life

The Enterprising Welder Me and My Business

Absorbed and happy in his work as a car mechanic, an unlikely request from a client three years ago changed the course of 35-year-old Bokamoso Selthabi’s life forever.

The self-taught welder now designs and makes various products from metal, including troughs, trailers, cages, kraal fences and other farm implements.

Having initially set-up shop in the North West of South Africa, his home of three years, the Morwa native retraced his steps back to Botswana to continue Bucha Rest Welding.

Recalling the meeting that altered his existence, Setlhabi told Voice Money he was working as a mechanic when a customer asked him to build a trailer for him.

“I made the product for him. After that he brought two more guys wanting my services. From there it grew into a fully-fledged business,” he explained.

“The business has now been running for two years based in South Africa. It is only at the beginning of this year that we relocated to Botswana,” continued the multi-talented craftsman, adding he briefly explored the Namibian market as well.

While he is still new to the local market, with much of that time blanketed by Covid-19 restrictions, Selthabi admits he is yet to reach a point where he can say business is as good as it was in South Africa.

“So far it has been a bit difficult locally. Some of the products that we do like metal kraals are still not highly rated here but we are working hard to market such products as a good alternative to wooden kraals,” he noted, a steely determination evident in his tone.

Setlhabi explained that one of the perceived disadvantages of products like metal kraals is because the metal conducts heat.

However, he points out that this can be overcome by simply applying paint.

“The good thing about it is that it is durable and lasts longer than other materials used to construct kraals,” he highlighted.

Despite the current low uptake of his products, the enterprising welder is optimistic his fortunes will soon turn around.

“It is promising because, when you work with customers who are not used to what you are doing, you have to carry out extensive marketing of your products. We hope when life goes back to normal after the pandemic there will be some improvement,” he said, adding that items such as feeding containers have proved popular and are in demand.

“We also have customers waiting across the country,” he added.

Other challenges – and the one Setlhabi describes as his biggest – is copycats who attempt to duplicate his work ‘but often fail to match my skills’.

“We have social media pages where we post our products. People would want to do exactly the same but often do not succeed because our designs are unique and the quality is top-notch,” said the National Craft Certificate (NCC) holder proudly.

As the business is still at infancy stage, he has engaged one person to assist but hopes as the enterprise grows he will be able to employ more.

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