FRANCISTOWN: Two Bobonong women, who have ventured into making toilet paper to earn a livelihood, are aiming to become a significant market player in the coming years.
The two women, Constance Omanyana and Chimma Ketlhomphilwe are owners of Bob 4 and 1 (Pty) Ltd, a Bobonong-based toilet paper manufacturing company that was formed in 2012, but started operating in 2014.
The company was funded by the Department of Gender Affairs to the tune of P250,000.
Speaking to Business Monitor from her stall at the just-ended fourth Northern Women’s Business Exposition, Omanyana said even though their business is still struggling to penetrate the market, they are hopeful that one day their company will grow into a recognised brand.
She stated that establishing a business of this nature is very expensive and needs dedicated individuals.
“Before we started the business, we approached the Department of Gender Affairs as a group of four women and a man to ask for funding.
We were funded with P25,000. Three of our group members pulled out of the company because it was struggling to make ends meet,” Omanyana said.
She added that she and Ketlhomphilwe with the help of their husbands then invested more funds in the company in an endevour to make it successful because they did not want to see it fail.
“We then decided to go back to the Department of Gender Affairs to ask for more funds and we were fortunate because we were given P100,000,” Omanyana said.
“With that top up cash, we managed to purchase other machines, designed the logo
Moreover, she stated that they hired a Dutch national who is operating a similar company in South Africa to teach them more about their kind of business for three days.
“Despite having limited training time, we were determined to learn and are now able to produce quality toilet papers.
Our prices are competitive and usually lower than those of our competitors,” Omanyana said.
Omanyana said they are very much determined to grow their business and have recently applied for a permit from the Public Procurement and Assert Disposal Board (PPADB) to start supplying their goods throughout the country should they win tenders.
She said just like other businesses, it is all not rosy because they incur costs of branding their products in Gaborone, which is far from Bobonong.
“We also buy our materials from our competitors in Selebi Phikwe because we cannot afford to buy them in South Africa where they are cheap.
Additionally, the cost of renting the workshop is high, but we hope that as time goes on, we will overcome this challenge and create more jobs for other Batswana,” Omanyana said.
The company scooped position one under household chemicals, level two category at the recent exposition.