Thinking big with Newman
With over 10 years experience as an entrepreneur under his belt, 30 -year -old Newman Tshepo Ramatokwane is a young visionary and leader to watch out for.
Ramatokwane is the founder of Native events an Events Management company, Paulman Holdings a Transport and Logistics company, Fairscape (Property Development & Management), and Nubar a Mobile & Online Bar Service.
He is also a Co-founder of Papervalley an Accounting & Business Advisory Firm as well as 52. Sundays a Digital and Experiential Marketing Agency.
His journey began in 2010 with Paulman Holdings, which at the time was a company that specialized in automobile headlight restoration, event consultation & catering services.
In 2015 the company became fully operational and found a niche in the transport and logistics industry.
Paulman currently transports goods across Southern Africa with a fleet seven trucks.
Towards the end of 2013, Newman co-founded Native Stretch Tents and Canopies, which was then a company that primarily hired out stretch tents only.
Having paid attention to trends in his industry over the years he noticed a niche in corporate events and soon changed the company to trade as Native Events, working towards turning a traditionally oriented market into an urbanized modern one.
Native Events fast became one of the best youth-owned in-house event solution providers countrywide.
Although he refused to reveal whether he has joined the millionaires club or not, Ramotokwane welcomed Voice reporter SHARON MATHALA for a chat about his career.
Q. You started business at the tender age of 10 selling art drawings; tell me more about those days.
From noticing that I had an artist mind, I started making cartoon drawings and selling them to my schoolmates.
Demand was so high that I figured out a way to increase supply by drawing the original piece and duplicating it (photocopies) to sell more.
I would custom colour them according to different requests and man, was I making a killing then!
Q. The book ‘rich kid, smart kid’ basically shaped your entrepreneurial skills, tell me more about this.
It was a groundbreaking read for me, it opened my eyes and made me realise a lot.
It taught me tricks of the trade, savings and building up and enterprise from a young age.
Q. Between the years 2008 and 2010, you dropped out of two reputable colleges, why?
My calling for entrepreneurship was overpowering every moment I had to spend in a lecture class.
I honestly followed my heart, broke the culture and took a chance at success and here we are.
Q. How was the concept of native events born?
It came from being passionate about events since junior school, From being head of entertainment to growing up with friends who have mostly become artists, I had to one way or the other find my niche in the same market.
I decided at one point that rather than always attending events for fun why not find an opportunity within the sector and make a living out of it.
I started off with cold controlling barriers for music festivals to eventually manufacturing my very first furniture pieces and renting them out until the idea grew to what it has become today.
With over 20+ employees we have become a force to reckon with in the events space.
Q. Your family background consists of “business intellectuals”, would you say your background shaped you to be the savvy businessman you are now?
Your environment definitely determines your altitude in life, so yes the little that I saw with my parents running their small businesses has given me a better view of how to run a business.
A step in the right direction if you may call it.
Q. You have since diversified to build 5 other businesses that are doing quite well now, one would say you are building your own empire.
Tell me more about them.
In order to reach the greatest heights of entrepreneurship you have to be able to build more than one source of income, I am talking about diversity.
I have grown to pay attention to opportunities thus allowing me to build a value chain enterprise system that is in sync.
In business, you learn as you have grown and despite what people think, we build a business with the intention to make a profit and change lives.
If I see an opportunity I build a solution for it.
Q. The latest business being Nubar, for those who have never heard of this, tell us more about Nubar and how it the idea came about.
Having been in the hospitality business for a while, I have traded in the food and beverage market for a while.
As I expanded into corporate event setups through Native Events, a need arose to incorporate beverage services into our setups thus Nubar was born.
Since its inception in 2019, we have been striving to become Botswana’s number one choice for bar bespoke services, with a recent online platform that offers convenience, just at the click of a button, www.nubar.co.bw.
You can now order your favourite alcohol and have it delivered right at your doorstep in a few hours or less.
This online platform currently provides better, cheaper, and faster alcohol delivery service to Greater Gaborone. Plans are underway to go nationwide soon.
Q. Young entrepreneurs often say, it is the starting up that is the hardest hurdle for a young Motswana, would you say this is a fair assessment?
All steps involved in becoming a resilient entrepreneur are HARD.
It is easy to see starting up as hard, but wait until you start then you will realise that the entire business journey gets tougher by the day.
Business is not for everyone, you have to have a strong heart to make it from the day you start and throughout the journey.
Q. Most young Batswana find it hard to get off their feet because of funding, would you agree with this?
It is a key growth facilitator in any business but comes second after passion.
You need to have the drive to want to succeed more than anything.
We have seen a lot of youth given access to funds and still fail to build a sustainable business.
Start small and grow big.
Q. There is also the debate of companies stealing ideas from young entrepreneurs, have you ever experienced this?
Yes, but I have gotten to understand that an idea is just an idea until put to action and actually materialises.
I also live by the words that the dream belongs to the dreamer, even if they steal your idea, they can never do it like you envisioned it in your dreams.
So have no fear and don’t be discouraged by such.
Q. You have been in business practically all your life, one way or the other, how have you been able to survive under the COVID-19 restrictions.
We have seen unprecedented change unfold right before our eyes over the last several months.
Our ideas of a world shaped by certainty have been shaken, and notions of stable businesses, streamlined operations and competitive pricing models have been shattered.
Some of the lessons I have learned this year have been harsh, ones I will never forget but what has kept me up on my feet is ‘purpose’ remembering why I started in the first place and that it was never meant to be easy.
Amidst the chaos, I foresee an incredible opportunity, an opportunity to reflect upon what the world needs and what I can offer.
As an aspiring entrepreneur myself, I truly believe that we have an innate responsibility to help our clients and customers arrive at their best results and expectations.
Q. You were selected as one of the young leaders to watch out for by Forbes Africa magazine, tell me more about this.
It has been long coming and well deserved if I may say.
All the hard work put in over the years had to reflect into something.
As a young entrepreneur from a country that I believe enterprising isn’t really in our DNA, this is meant to inspire the young aspiring entrepreneurs and prove that it is possible to make it to the global business stages from Botswana through hardworking, dedication, commitment and most importantly passion, Africa to the world.
Q. You have a young beautiful daughter now, what would you say is the role of the family in shaping one’s future?
It gives me purpose and direction in life and most importantly a reason to work hard every day.
Q. Getting a bit more personal, so when you are not at the office, what do you get up to?
I am always looking for ways to make more money over a social gathering or even at home. I sleep if not socializing.
Q. Which book (s) are you reading now?
I have become more of an audio and visual person than a reader.
Q. Any special lady in your life?
The mother of my daughter.
Q. TGIF, what will you be up to?
– Working as usual.