The 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI), released recently by the Global Entrepreneurship Network in partnership with the GEDI Institute, shows that entrepreneurship is on the rise globally, but that there is room for growth. The GEI, measuring the entrepreneurial ecosystems in 130 countries — from Albania to Zambia — also measured global entrepreneurial capacity at 52 percent.
Botswana has been ranked 66 of out 130 countries in the Index, second after South Africa in the Sub-Saharan Africa. The Index identifies each country’s unique challenges and serves as a compass for prescribing the most effective interventions.
The report also provides a detailed look at the entrepreneurial ecosystem of nations by combining individual data such as opportunity recognition and risk perception with institutional components like the depth of capital markets, globalisation and spending on research and development.
Among the major challenges that have been identified in Botswana include; low levels of innovation and research. In order to address challenges, Botswana participated in policy summits and roundtable discussions, which took place in several countries around the world as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week in November. Among those in attendance was; Co-Founder of Molaya Kgosi, Economist and SADC Consultant in Regional Economy, Bogolo Kenewendo, from South African Founder of Noko Mashaba, Self-taught animator, Jonas Lekganyane and President Global Entrepreneurship Week, Jonathan Ortmans from USA.
The Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014 Botswana was organised and coordinated by Ngwana Enterprises in partnership with Global Entrepreneurship Week, in collaboration with Global Expo Botswana. Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ngwana Enterprises, Mooketsi Tekere believes that there is a rapidly growing demand from startup communities and policymakers alike to help new firms start and scale up. Tekere, who runs a Francistown-based company specialising in healthcare products and services also believes that Botswana cannot afford to lag behind when the world recognises that entrepreneurship is the economic driver of the new generation.
“Everybody is good at something, and that should be the starting point. Only after someone has identified what they are good at, can they figure out how their talent can offer solutions to current problems - converting those problems into possibilities.”
Through Ngwana Enterprises, Tekere encourages local young people like himself to venture into business. His company identified a gap in the medical supplies business in Botswana, acting as a buying house distributor for central government and private hospitals and clinics buyers of hospital equipments, hospital supplies and other products.
Tekere strongly believes that even though the Index has found that entrepreneurship tends to be higher in richer countries, young people need not aspire to go to other countries to make it, however, should aspire to make it in their countries.
“We should all understand that knowledge may be in the western world and resources are in Africa. The western world cannot get more resources, but Africa is able to get the knowledge.” The United States tops the list of countries, followed by Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Taiwan, Switzerland and Singapore.
Economist Bogolo Kenewendo says locals need to be aware of opportunities they can take advantage of. According to her, entrepreneurs should change the current situation where household consumption is the main expenditure driver of the economy at 60 percent, while investment is at 30 percent.
In her view, entrepreneurship and business management studies should be encouraged as early as primary school level to ensure that youngsters are introduced to business early in their lives. “Current statistics indicate that there is only one job per five graduates, therefore entrepreneurship skills need to be nurtured into a passion rather than followed out of desperation,” she says. The Global Entrepreneurship Index also provides important findings for policymakers as it suggests that there is no one optimal policy approach that will work everywhere.