Entrepreneurship goes beyond reaping rewards of owning a business as it is often a treacherous road filled with detours, roadblocks and dead ends.
This has been the case with young business owner, Bonolo Ratlhapi, who started his enterprise in the mist of the COVID-19 pandemic.
His business, Accute Premium Still Water, bottles and distributes drinking water to various clients located across the country.
Despite the tribulations that come with setting up a business, Ratlhapi says the pandemic did not derail him. Instead, he says he was inspired by other young entrepreneurs, who were making a difference by employing other youth.
“Upon establishing my business in November last year, I experienced a major setback in setting up its plant. However, this pandemic did not derail me from my plans of starting my business,” Ratlhapi narrates.
“I just felt the need to also give a helping hand in tackling the issue our country has of youth unemployment.”
Some of the challenges he encountered when setting up the business included delays in the arrival of equipment from overseas. He says his plant machinery that he ordered from China got stuck in Asia due to COVID-19, something that forced him to halt the business for six months.
“I could have long started operating last year March, but had to postpone while waiting for the plant machinery which only arrived in February 2021,” he says.
Ratlhapi is motivated by the desire to ensure that his clientele get the best customer service and the drive to constantly develop customer service skills. The young entrepreneur says he had to sacrifice and save money to start his business.
“The business is self-funded, it was not easy to save money for this business. I had to deprive myself of so many things, cut down on my monthly expenditure and do whatever it took to be more disciplined when it comes to money management,” Ratlhapi says.
Accute Premium Still Water currently employs four people and intends to increase the number to 57, representing one employee per constituency.
“I intend to beat my competitors by working hard and making sure that my business is at the forefront and leading the ground through affordable pricing, well planned out marketing and promotion strategies,” he says.
“I believe that my business is at an advantage because my target market is different from those of my competitors and this will help me set my presence in what seems to be a saturated business endeavour.”
His clientele comprise individuals, hawkers, private companies and government entities. For the future, Ratlhapi anticipates his company would be one of those leading the country when it comes to still water distributions.
Accute Premium Still Water bottled water is sold in 500ml, 1.5 litres and 5 litres.