BOROLONG: What started as a backyard business back in 2009 has suddenly turned into a prosperous tent hire and decorations business trading by the name, TebSek Investments.
As unemployment continues to be a major challenge to Batswana, more people especially in recent years, have enrolled in government poverty eradication projects to better their lives. A living testimony of that is 33-year-old Tebogo Bonang.
In an interview with Business Monitor, Bonang said she requested funds from the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture’s (MYSC) Youth Development Fund (YDF) in 2011 to establish her business to tackle unemployment that had afflicted her village.
Unlike the majority of the youth who have enrolled for government poverty eradication programmes but ended up failing, Bonang today owns a successful business that has employed four other citizens.
Bonang, a married mother of one, encourages women to use their hands to feed themselves, hence she came up with her business idea.
She said after running her family-owned supermarket for a number of years, she became motivated to start her own business and be her own boss.
“I was given a big tent, 62 chairs, cooking pots and one box of plates as my YDF package. To date, my business has grown. I used its profit to buy three more tents and currently I have more than 200 chairs,” said Bonang who has opened a business office in Francistown.
Bonang’s business deals with wedding decorations, tent hire and events decorations (parties and anniversaries, corporate events and conferences) and catering. She also hires out bride, bridesmaids and groom clothing.
She disclosed that her love for creating decorations started while she was a student at Mmei Junior School where she studied Home Economics.
The soft-spoken Bonang said: “With my creativity today, my daughter who is currently schooling at per-school, wears one of the dresses that I designed as my school project. My husband is very supportive of me
Bonang said before opening her business she used to visit his brother Gregory Sekga who owns an events management and advertising business and saw a niche in the market.
She said she is motivated by Mpho Jonathan who runs Mphorium Investments similar to hers, adding that her wish is to host high profile events. Even though she does not hold any qualifications in this field, Bonang said she is motivated by the love and passion she has in fashion and decorations.
“I only hold a certificate in small scale business management from Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning (BOCODOL) which equipped me with skills of how to run a business,” she said.
Bonang said she always buys magazines, books and does research on the Internet on how to improve her decoration skills.
She watches SABC’s Top Billing and My Perfect Wedding shows to learn more about events decorations.
“For two years I have been operating from an office in the city. My profits have increased because my office is situated at a strategic place where my customers can easily see my decorations through the window,” she said.
She said wedding decorations continuously change, which calls for her to always observe new fashion trends in order to stay relevant in the business.
Bonang now plans to start a backyard laundry business in order to diversify her business.
She said her creative skills have helped her to withstand competition from her rivals.
She warned young people who want to venture into business not to get into the industry for the love of luxurious things because if they do that their businesses will ultimately crumble.