Value-chain beneficiation and utilisation is a growing topic of discussion in terms of diversifying the economy of Botswana.
Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) in collaboration with Chabana Farms opened Kalahari Vocational College that deals in agricultural products specifically honey production.
Onalenna Kolobe, a graduate of the college’s incubation programme started a cosmetics company that produces cosmetics from honey made by Chabana Farms bees.
“I have always known that I wanted to help people because growing up, I was a curious child who enjoyed solving problems. It was no surprise that later on in life when my skin started breaking out, I took the matter into my own hands and looked for a solution that later proved to be a viable business model,” she said.
The company is a one-stop shop for honey-based, chemical free and natural cosmetics such as body butter and face creams.
Kolobe considers herself fortunate to be under the guidance and leadership of a seasoned businesswoman, Mavis Nduchwa, who is the founder and owner of Chabana Farms.
“We are an ethical brand that uses Kalahari Honey, which is very rich in antioxidants and therefore good for your skin,” she said.
Kolobe said even though they are still new in the market, they pride themselves on their chemical-free products, which offer them a competitive advantage due to its uniqueness.
Her brand is still at market entry level and they are currently engaged in countrywide tours hosting market-testing sessions, something that Kolobe says her mentor attested to in their sessions in Francistown after getting positive feedback.
She is adamant to make her brand into an international one.
She emphasised the importance of doing thorough market research to establish a viable market for the solution in question and she says in the case of their honey products, which are good for all skin types they have a viable market. She says they tailor-make their products to suit any skin type and they also offer consultation services.