Botswana: Afitile Lebakeng

Botswana: Afitile Lebakeng

Date: April 11, 2016
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2014: I am a 34-year-old woman, I learned about gender-based violence and how to start up a business, I appreciated the lessons as I was interested in starting up a business of my own. I started attending the Gender Links entrepreneurship training in 2014 and I have attended all three entrepreneurship training sessions. The lectures were important as they shed light as to what to do to start a business. I was clueless but I was taught that I need to register my company and also that it has to have an official name for it to be recognised. The challenge that I encountered was not understanding English and accounts but the facilitator was patient with me and explained it all.

When I joined Gender Links I did not have a business only a dream to have one. Now I have the necessary skills I am now saving up money to start my canvas business, I researched on the necessary equipment to start this business and have a rough idea of how much I may need hence the saving.

I experienced abuse from my ex-boyfriend whom I broke up with. After the break up I realised there is so much more to life. I started making money and improved my lifestyle drastically. I started a society in which we lend people money and they bring it back with interest depending on how long they take to pay it back, I intend to start my business from the profit I make from the society. I realised that financial independence is vital as it reduces the chances of abuse, if you dependent on your partner they may treat you however they please because you need them to survive.

I use the knowledge I got from Gender Links to assist women in my area to be aware of abuse. To those who are already in abusive situations I advise them not to give in to abuse and to value their lives; have dignity and self-love. I encourage them to make their own money either by finding jobs or starting their businesses.

The community is proud of me for starting the money lending business. I am going to change my life and live how I want to by registering my business then advertising it to different large businesses.

By the year 2030 I hope for my business to have grown massively, I hope to be able to help the less privileged in my area.

Progress since 2014

2016: At the start of the programme Afitile Lebakeng wanted to start a canvas printing business for big businesses to advertise. She set up a money lending business to generate the income needed for the business. Through the new knowledge and skills, she acquired from the entrepreneurship training she set up the business.

In the year prior to November 2016, Lebakeng’s business generated an income of $2981. She spent $1076 and made a profit of $1905.

As a result of the training, Lebakeng has started two business. She has acquired the equipment and premises needed to run her canvass printing business. Lebakeng runs a bank account and grows her business by expanding her markets.

Lebakeng’s main challenge with setting up her business was access to finance, the money lending initiative assisted in this regard. She was able to find premises, identify her market and keep records of income and expenditure using the knowledge she gained from the training.

After the training Lebakeng was able to use a computer and set up an email address. This assisted with her business. She harnesses the power of mobile technology to market her business through SMSs and WhatsApp.