After a year into the police service, Tlhabologo Furniture felt he cloud not carry on with the national duty. Furniture was a special constable with the Botswana Police Service (BPS) which he joined in December 2007. He walked into the Monitor Business offices last week to narrate his entrepreneurship story.
He has just left a company called Building Concept (Pty) Ltd where he worked as a labourer. Furniture, who hails from Siviya, joined Building Concept (Pty) Ltd after finishing his form five at Ledumang Senior Secondary School in 2005.
The young entrepreneur felt the little experience he acquired from the police could help him own a security company. He was granted a Certificate of Incorporation in 2008 to run the company, Blackbone Security (Pty) Ltd. Furniture could run his company while still employed with the police.
He said the commissioner at the time, Thebeyame Tshimako had just issued a savingram that special constables can run businesses while still employed with the police. Police officers work on shift and it allowed him to have time for the business.
Furniture used the time between December 2008 and May 2009 to finish other affairs about his business. He applied for tax clearance, trading licence and the bank account. He started knocking on companies doors, looking for clients.
In August 2009, Blackbone secured its first client. They had to guard a warehouse. Another client came through in September, the same year. His previous employers, Building Concept, also offered him a tender.
Furniture said though he operated with insufficient human resource and inadequate equipment, he managed to pull through. As profits popped in, he managed to capacitate his business where he was short. It was even better as he had now left the police service in December 2013.
He hired more staff, applied for insurance. Furniture looked for more and more clients. He managed to secure an office, as he has
Although he has still not secured a government tender, Furniture has not given up. He has tendered but has not been successful. But Furniture is grateful for the little private sector that has and continues to support his security company.
Furniture says running a security company is challenging as it is a sensitive industry. “But it is worth. It helps one to live a disciplined life either as an employer or employee. One needs to have a clean criminal record. And the spy agency, Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) is involved in that aspect, he divulged. “You can’t just meet someone in the street and hire them to be a security guard, ” he told Monitor Business.
He aims to expand his business and hire more employees. His next target is the second city of Francistown. Currently the company only operates in Gaborone.
The young entrepreneur aims to also expand the services that he provides. He currently offers guarding services but wants to expand more into areas such as alarm installation and CCTV services.
He told Monitor Business that he is grateful for the provisions provided by the government but he decries lack of coordination. Furniture explains that the Office of the President can issue a directive only for the government departments to lament ignorance on the said directives. This is mostly in tendering. “It leaves us with a lot of confusion”, said Furniture also owns another company called Electrical Contractors.