SELEBI-PHIKWE: Passionate about embroidery and screen-printing, young Alfred Sebolao took a leap of faith when he quit his job to utilise the Youth Development Fund (YDF) to set up his own business.
Sebolao who runs an embroidery and screen-printing business, Pad Lock, in Selebi-Phikwe explained to The Monitor that he has worked for All Kasi for quite sometime where picked up some useful skills for his business.
He said the work experience has also significantly assisted in identifying his passion of working with his hands in clothes branding. Last year, Sebolao said he received funding from the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture.
This helped him start up a business that four months later, was doing pretty well in the market. He explained that his target market is broad - parastatals, government and private organisations as well as individuals residing in Selebi-Phikwe and its surrounding villages.
In addition, he attributed the success of his business to his aggressive marketing strategies on platforms such as Facebook. He also noted that being known by the town’s residents as an embroidery and screen-printing guru has also helped to attract a good number of clients.
“I also use a different production machine to create digitalised styles of branding to make my products unique from my competitors,” Sebolao said.
Furthermore, Sebolao pointed out that he is currently faced with a challenge of the production machine capacity,
He noted with concern that the current crisis at BCL mine has negatively affected his business, as it has stopped his supply to an agent who worked for the mine.
He applauded the recent announcement by youth minister, Thapelo Olopeng at the Youth Business Expo that his ministry has decided to re-finance successful youth-owned businesses that were financed through the YDF in a bid to grow them.
Sebolao indicated that the re-financing would enable him to buy a new production machine with a larger capacity to cater for all orders, adding that he plans to hire three more employees to add to the one assistant he currently has.
“In five years, I would like to see my business having expanded to other towns like Gaborone, Francistown and Jwaneng,” he said.
Meanwhile, the youth entrepreneur implored peer business operators, especially those struggling to penetrate the market to be patient and make thorough research on why their businesses are not doing well so that they could come up with effective marketing strategies to beat the competition.