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The Business of pleasing taste buds

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The beckoning aroma from the kitchen pierces the midday heat as Maggie Setsetse of Kitchen Kapei settles on a bench to begin our interview.

Her bustling kitchen is hard to miss opposite the Reformed Dutch Church on Kaunda road. But if you do happen to miss it, just follow your nose!

Before the interview can commence, a customer walks in and wants to confirm he has come to the right place. “I’m from Maun on business here and I’ve heard a lot about this place and its food so I thought I’d check it out,” he declares, nodding his head in approval as he surveys the scene.

Once that’s out the way, Setsetse explains she quit her lucrative job at the Diamond Trading Company to pursue her dream of ‘giving pleasure to taste buds’.“One of the goals I set for myself was to retire at 50 and pursue business. I’ve always had this entrepreneurial urge to make a difference, especially for the unemployed youth,” she states, adding she is from a family that is passionate about food – a passion passed down from her mother.

Things began to fall into place when her son,Thato completed his Tourism and Hospitality Management course in Namibia, where he majored as a chef. “After school he spent a year at home preparing dishes that made me look forward to going home without fail!

It just made perfect sense to help him while also pursuing my passion so we partnered and the Kitchen Kapei was born in August 2018,” she says, beaming with obvious pride. Magsetz Catering and Events Management Services, which tradesas Kitchen Kapei, serves sit-in meals for breakfast lunch and dinner.

They also offer catering and equipment hire with five employees. A little over a year in operation and the establishment counts President Dr. MokgweetsiMasisi as a past customer.

His Excellency enjoyed a taste of Kitchen Kapei when he was guest speaker at Mookane Field Day earlier this year. Other satisfied clients include the capital city council, government departments and corporations.

In an over-subscribed industry, the business faces competition from other restaurants, outdoor catering companies as well as the vendors who sell braai.

As a unique selling point in an attempt to get ahead of the competition, Setsetse says they provide delivery for a minimum of four plates around Gaborone. They also interact with customers and potentials on social media as well as word of mouth.

“Once you’ve tasted our food, you don’t want to go anywhere else!” she adds. However, competition isn’t the only challenge for this family business, which was financed by Setsetse’s savings.

She is struggling to securefurther financing and a shade of despair passes across her face as she notes, “Financing is difficult when you are not employed.”The issue of tender pricing presents another challenge. “Bidders do not know the budget of the tender; instead the lowest bidder wins,” she mutters darkly.

This does not sit well with Setsetse, who feels there should be more to consider, such as factoring all the variables. “Bidders should be made aware of the budget!” she reiterates. While Setsetse can do nothing about financing except continue digging from her own pocket, she makes sure their distinct taste does the talking for them.

“Where they tasted our food they gave us the jobs,” is her simple assessment. She recently graduated from Tokafala initiative aimed at improving local business performance and feels ready to take on the world.

If things go according to her plan, five years from now Kitchen Kapei will be a one-stop shop for occasions providing menu, deco, photography, DJ, event hosting and kitchen parties. She also intends to open two more branches in Palapye and Gaborone.

For those planning to go into business, especially the food sector, Setsetse maintains it is possible, providing there is passion and focus. “The first two years of every business are challenging but don’t give up. Focus such that you will persevere and have faith. Things will work out!”

This is clearly a confident entrepreneur who doesn’t believe in just telling but giving a taste of her words. To demonstrate that, a mouth-watering plate of Beef Goulash, chicken and pasta lands before yours truly.

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Business

Letlole La Rona suspends CEO

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Letlole La Rona (LLR), a property company listed on the Botswana Stock Limited (BSEL), on Tuesday moved to suspend its Chief Executive Officer, Chikuni Shenjere-Mutiswa.

His suspension, according to a notice to shareholders, follows preliminary findings arising from an investigation into issues relating to the company’s Long-term Incentive Plan.

Mutiswa who was appointed LLR CEO in June 2018, is said to have been suspended with full benefits pending the outcome of the full investigations.

Commenting on the latest developments, LLR Board Chairperson, Boitumelo Mogopa noted good governance remains sacrosanct to the board and all staff of the company.

“The preliminary findings of the possible misconduct arising from the investigations relate to the circumstances around the company’s Long-term Incentive Plan during or around March this year and possible acts or omissions by an individual in a unique position of power,” said Mogopa.

Mogopa said this by no means reflects the integrity of the board, financial performance and company portfolio.

“For us, it remains business as usual as the due process takes its course,” said Mogopa.

Meanwhile, the board has in the interim appointed Botshelo Mokotedi to hold the fort on an acting basis while investigations continue.

Mokotedi is seconded from Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) – a major shareholder in LLR – where he is the Head of Risk.

He is described as a forward-thinking, highly motivated and results-oriented individual with more than a decade experience in the financial services sector across a variety of senior roles, including Business Development, Credit Analysis as well as Portfolio and Risk Management.

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Business

Inflation increases in April

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Inflation increases in April

Cities and towns experience rising rates

The latest figures from Statistics Botswana (SB) show that the annual inflation rate in April registered a slight increase.

Inflation for the month stood at 2.5 percent, up 0.3 percent from the 2.2 percent recorded in March.

However, SB stressed that data collection for the month was hampered by the on-going lockdown, enforced on 3 April.

The restriction on movement meant data collection for prices was primarily conducted through emails and telephone calls.

In the end, the data collected covered only 70 percent of goods in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket.

The most affected items in the basket were alcoholic beverages and tobacco – the sale of which is temporarily suspended – and clothing and footwear, as outlets were closed during the month of April.

The closure of such shops reportedly resulted in a number of missing or unobserved prices, which were imputed through variation of the observed prices.

According to SB, the biggest contributors to the April annual inflation rate were: housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, which went up by 1.1 percentage points, and food and non-alcoholic beverages, which increased by 0.4 percent.

By regions, the inflation rates between March and April indicates that cities and towns increased by 0.4 of a percentage point, rising from 2.3 percent to 2.7.

Rural villages’ rates rose from 2.0 percent to 2.3 percent while urban villages’ rates similarly registered an increase of 0.3 percentage point to 2.6 percent.

When addressing local media on Tuesday this week, the Competitions and Consumer Authority CEO, Tebelelo Pule said the Authority observed an increase in consumer good prices when the effects of Covid-19 started to be felt locally.

“Prices increased in an unusual manner which disturbed us as the Authority. On top of that, there was also a decrease in the quality of goods,” announced Pule, highlighting the example of sanitizers, which she noted were ‘manufactured by anybody’.

Pule revealed that the Authority went into shops around the country to compile a price list, which they published on their website and Facebook page to allow consumers to compare how different retail stores were pricing their goods.

The CEO cautioned that those found guilty of unfairly increasing prices face a possible five-year jail term or P100, 000 fine or even both.

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