FRANCISTOWN: It is often a difficult effort to start a business with limited funds, but that was not the case with Manuel Ricardo from Francistown. The 30-year old set up his business with a paltry P3,000. He persisted until his venture was fully established.
Born and raised in Francistown, Ricardo is the proud owner of a steadily growing Information, Communications and Technology firm called Bit-Bite Technology, located at Village Mall.
The company services include, building networks for businesses, providing data security services as well as building websites among others.
“Before I ventured into the ICT business I used to work at Mascom as a sales representative. The job helped me a great deal because it helped me save for money to establish my own business,” he said.
Ricardo said that he left Mascom after five years and immediately started Bit-Bite. “I come from a family of entrepreneurs so I always had a passion for entrepreneurship. It has always been my dream to own a business,” he said. When he started out, Ricardo did not have formal qualifications in IT.
“I was only armed with skills I had learned from my friends who had IT qualifications. When I started my business, the IT market was still at its infancy and I felt it offered a viable business opportunity. I later enrolled for a Software Engineering course
He said that his business has grown tremendously over the years, but he does experience some difficulties along the way.
“This year has proved to be the hardest since I started operations because of the non-conducive economic climate. I had to retrench some employees because some companies that used to contract me were struggling. I am optimistic that things will improve soon,” he said.
He said his clients involve established companies such as Toyota, Land Rover, Botswana Ash, Mupane Mine, Orange, Mine tech among others. “I have partnered with big companies such as Microsoft, HP and Fortiet. I buy most of my products from them and they support me whenever I need their help,” he said. He said that he makes sure he satisfies his customers in order to retain them. “The IT industry is very competitive and when you do not satisfy your customers, your competitors will poach them,” he said.
He added that he markets his business online mostly through social networks and by word of mouth.