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Pharmacist Turns Career Into Entrepreneurship

STAFF WRITER
Bohutsana Molefi PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Many professionals are leaving their jobs to become employers and a local medical practitioner has joined the bandwagon.

A pharmacist by profession, Bohutsana Molefi has managed to break the ceiling, quit his job and started her own pharmacy.

The medical facility which operates from Tlokweng near Sefalana store has a dispensary and front shop that sells medical and personal care related products.

Apart from the pharmacy Molefi’s company also manufactures ginger and lemon drink, moringa and lemon drink, moringa hair food and aloe hand sanitiser. Her products have been tested at National Food Technology Research Centre (NAFTEC).

She told MonitorBusiness that her background has influenced her decision to start her own business.

“I grew up in a family of informal sector where we used to sell everything from fat cakes, drinks and a lot of stuff. I have always known that I will one day run my own business even during my time as a government employee,” she explained in an interview.

Molefi said she started off by registering a company which was by then running as a shelf company as she had the aim of running a pharmacy.  Her efforts to run the business while working were frustrated as she one day decided to quit her permanent job. Within the three months notice she started preparing for her pharmacy business.

“The first months were tough, I had a loan to pay, buy stock, pay rental monthly and couldn’t make money because licences were delayed.  I had stock but couldn’t operate as pharmacist whilst waiting for the licence,  but resilience and passion kept me going,” she said.

Molefi said she used the monthly pension payments to cushion her monthly errands and tried knocking on several financial institutions with the aim

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of expanding her horizon, but was turned down. She said the possible funders believed small businesses or Small, Medium & Micro Enterprise Businesses (SMMEs) were risky business to invest in.

However, Molefi was not dissuaded as she one day landed at Tokafala offices where she was welcomed with open arms. Tokafala is an enterprise development programme. They were instrumental as they generated a growth model for her which gave birth the drinks range.

“On my journey of manufacturing these organic drinks, I was fortunate to meet Shoprite management who patiently assisted me with the production of my drink range. They even engaged a South African company to assist me with all the requirements including bar codes,” she recalled.

Her products can be accessed at Shoprite, Payless at BBS mall and a number of Engen Filling stations including Bokaa, Mmamashia, Mogoditshane and South ring mall.

Molefi revealed she was still in talks with several shops to start producing for them, adding she was currently on her expansion journey as the response has been overwhelming.

“We are working on transforming our production from manual and have plans to employ more people as we grow. People love our product and have been flying off the shelves,” she said.

However, she urged government to consider procuring local products and should always support SMMEs because that might be the breakthrough that is need to penetrate the market.

Of her challenges, Molefi said accessing raw materials locally is quite a nightmare as they are expensive and mostly run out of stock.  However, she encouraged Batswana especially farmers to consider ploughing other products like ginger and moringa.



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