State-owned diamond marketing enterprise, Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) will hold a seven-month-long youth entrepreneurship programme to be hosted by industry experts for aspiring entrepreneurs.
The programme is set to begin today(Monday) as part of ODC’s corporate social responsibility contribution to the economy of the country.
Briefing the media on Friday in Gaborone, the company’s stakeholder relations executive, Kutlo Thathana said they found it appropriate as a company to be part of the solution to some of the country’s challenges such as unemployment and lack of an entrepreneurship spirit.
Thathana said citizen empowerment in the diamond mining industry remains one of their interests as a company.
Thathana said participants would be trained and guided on how to prepare proper business plans. She emphasised that a sounding business plan is a foundation to success in business, especially in a sophisticated sector such as the diamond industry. “We hope to expose the youth to the diamond industry. It is a tough industry,” Thathana warned.
According to Thathana, participants will be trained more on the banking and the governance part of the diamond industry. She said they remain optimistic that the aspiring entrepreneurs will grow to start successful diamond businesses and employ other youth.
For his part, the deputy managing director of ODC, Marcus Ter Haar
Ter Haar told this publication that lack of information among the people about the diamond industry is one of the issues that influence their corporate social responsibility entrepreneurship programme.
He said they had to understand the economic challenges that the country faces and establish how they can mitigate them. Ter Haar said there has, however, been interest from some of the citizens to explore opportunities in the diamond industry. The deputy MD encouraged the participants to utilise the ‘unique opportunity’ to change their lives and that of their families, and the country as a whole.
The selection criteria, which was tough according to Thathana, included receiving applications from prospective participants. There were interviews conducted until final participants were selected, she said.
An interested applicant has to be a Motswana with a minimum qualification of Cambridge certificate and is between the ages of 18 and 35 years.
Above all, one has to be an ‘entrepreneur in spirit’, Thathana said.