Following the loss of her father, Segametsi Balosang struggled to cope and ended up filling the gap by keeping herself busy in the kitchen trying different recipes.
It was no long before she realised that her kids liked to snack on phane, which was always stored in the drawer.
“After almost a year of trying to package frozen wings, I then realised that my kids used to snack with phane and I then decided to sterilise it to make it healthier and then flavoured it,” she said.
The family and friends liked the product, which then inspired her to start selling it even although she was not really keen. Balosang said one day she came across the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship programme, which she entered.
“The Creative Business Cup Botswana is the ones who really pushed me to be where I am today. I entered the competition, got a rejection letter but a few days later we got another one saying that we have been selected to be part of the top 20,” she explained.
This programme forced her to have packaged products ready for the market. She was also selected to represent the country in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she was advised to package phane as protein bar or milkshake.
Coming back home, Balosang then started brainstorming on processing indigenous foods to appeal the younger generation. She then introduced ditloo
Currently her start-up company, Afribites produces packaged phane in three flavours; peri peri, garlic and herb as well as rosemary. Ditloo flavours are peri peri as well as salt and pepper while gluten free sorghum biscuits are chocolate chip and ginger walnut flavoured.
“The reception has been promising as we are currently doing orders for Square Mart shop. We do have individuals who buy and bulk and sell by Shopping centres like Keythorns Company who operates in front of Spar Phakalane. Just Ginger has also been supportive as they always buy our biscuits,” she said. To penetrate the market, Balosang said she has been using social media and doing most door-to-door campaigns with some promising. She is also in talks with Engen and Shell as well as other potential clients. This year she aims conduct open markets to expose her products and seeks to penetrate the international market.
Balosang said her products are nutritious and she also empowers other small entrepreneurs as everything is sourced and processed locally. “I want to urge other entrepreneurs to turn their dreams into reality because everything is possible if you believe,” she advised.