By December 2014 the Tokafala program has enrolled over 60 entrepreneurs from a wide variety of industries and back grounds. Here are some statistics:
Tokafala Client profiles:
Almost 40% are female- or co-owned and 20% run by youth
All businesses are at minimum 51% locally owned
The entrepreneurs represent a broad set of sectors, with the three main sectors Consumer Goods (22%), Industrial Goods (24%) and Professional Services (22%).
Tokafala serves as a complete course on how to effectively run a business;
all entrepreneurs could benefit from it
Tecla Evans, owner of Glam Collections that manufactures bed linen
Pauline Phologolo is the owner/ manager of Group Pee (Pty) Ltd, which manufactures corporate wear, protective clothing and school uniform. In addition Group Pee offers contract branding services (embroidery, screen print, heat press etc) to industries of varying sizes in Botswana. Pauline started out in this business in 2011 and had successfully grown it to a business employing 8 men and women. During peak seasons the number of workers doubles.
In November 2014 Pauline enrolled in the Tokafala program, realizing she needed support to improve her business skills so that she could grow the business to the next level. Together with her mentor, Pauline focused on topics like how to identify solid growth opportunities, customer relationship management, credit management and record keeping. As a result Pauline now has a detailed, robust growth plan that allows her business to expand to 5 million pula revenue over the next 2 years, building on her strong points of manufacturing capabilities and quality products.
When asked how Tokafala has helped her, Pauline replied: "Tokafala has instilled in me a feeling of confidence (that I can really do this). It has helped me to translate my academic training into everyday practice. It has equipped me with the tools I need to successfully run my business."
Tokafala is very different from other programs; the mentoring is holistic covering finance to marketing,
and showing new ways to approach business
Ziba Maripe , owner of Environmental Systems that reprocesses used oil
Mothusi Ben Dipholo joined Tokafala in October 2014. His company, Ben Electrical, offers electrical engineering services. The company was employing almost 20 people, but was struggling to grow revenue in a stable and consistent manner. Together with his mentor, Mothusi focused on building a solid foundation for the business, where decisions can be made based on accurate and up to date financial information and where all key activities are aimed at realizing sustainable growth. Participation in the program has made him feel in control of his own business again and now Mothusi has a long term growth plan and feels comfortable that he is on the right path to realize it.
When you talk to Gardson Mazonde, it is clear that he is passionate about his business: the cleaning of air ducts, chimneys and extraction units. He not only is technically well versed in this industry, but he demonstrates commitment to it by clearly explaining its necessity to his clients: it is simply a matter of health and safety and failing to maintain your extraction units can result in disasters that can cripple a business!
With his knowledge and motivation, Gardson started his own business, Primeone, in 2011 and grew it singlehandedly to a million Pula business in just 2 years, servicing many well-known businesses around Gaborone. But despite his excellent technical skills and market knowledge, Gardson realized that he lacked some basic business skills that limited further healthy growth of the business. So he joined Tokafala, where together with his mentor he focused on basic financial management, but also on identifying new markets and complimentary products to expand his business. As a result, Primeone successfully entered new markets, while applying stricter financial management, which let not only to sales growth, but also a healthier bottom line. But for Gardson, this is only a first step. Now that the business has a solid base, he is eyeing even more expansion: to take his complete service offering to other cities in Botswana.
When asked what he thought of Tokafala, Gardson replied “I encourage other entrepreneurs to join the Tokafala programme, so that they too can benefit from a team of dedicated mentors who have passion for small businesses’ growth.”