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Young entrepreneur gets platform to network

Dr Mabouba Diagne addressing the young business people PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Entrepreneurs now have a platform that can transform their lives and businesses through The Hookup Dinner, popularly known as THUD.

This new networking initiative was started in 2012 by Selebogo Molefe, popularly known as Dr Lifesgud and another co-founder Phakiso Tsotesi in South Africa and has since grown with countries like Botswana, Kenya, and Israel following suit. Following its launch in Botswana in August this year, THUD held its second event in Gaborone last week. The aim of THUD is for entrepreneurs to engage, connect and contribute to the success of various businesspersons via a relaxed session, which is in the form of an informal dinner. Budding entrepreneurs can also network with key industry players and get constructive advise on how to make it in business.

Barclays Africa Managing Director Dr Mabouba Diagne addressed about a 100 attendees at the THUDGabz session.

The topic, which was tackled on Friday, was ‘Unlocking Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the mining and power sector’ in Botswana. Local mining giant Shumba Coal and Standard Chartered sponsored the event and one of Shumba Coal co-founder Thapelo Mokhathi also gave words of wisdom to aspiring and established entrepreneurs. Mokhathi told the audience that,  “ Do not limit yourself and go for what you want to pursue.” He also mentioned that although his company has four years in business, it is already one of the biggest in Botswana and they want to give back to the community by empowering the youth through THUD. Shumba coal is the first local resource company to be listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange and Mauritius Stock Exchange.

“ This initiative was started due to the frustrations we had as entrepreneurs and saw the need to change things.” THUD co-founder Phakiso Tsotetsi said.


further explained that THUD wants to see entrepreneurs making it and getting the full support of the government and private sector. According to Tsotetsi, if alcoholics have platforms to transform their lives such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings then entrepreneurs now have THUD. At the dinner, five selected entrepreneurs were given 180 seconds to pitch their business ideas and get feedback afterwards in the form of constructive advice.

Guest Speaker at the session, Dr Diagne told the audience that, “ The harder you try, the luckier you become’. He told the audience that he comes from humble beginnings and worked hard to achieve his dream.

 The Senegalese intellect also mentioned that he believes education is the key to success. He holds four Masters Degrees and is fluent in five languages including German. During his presentation, he encouraged the audience to reach out to financial partners especially women, as most banks want to empower women in Africa and elsewhere.

Further to that, Diagne said he believes in perseverance, drive to success and hunger to make it in life.

On the topic of mining and power, Dr Diagne presented his research on how Batswana can utilise and make profits as well as create jobs by using the sun to build a solar plant in the Kalahari Desert. He closed his presentation by advising those who are interested to approach him as he can connect them with the right potential investors and financial partners. In an interview, one of Botswana’s THUD partners, Oratile Moremong said that the next session would be held in February on a date to be confirmed.




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