- Letshego Botswana partners with ‘These Hands’, a global social enterprise start-up based in Botswana, which trains and supports rural community innovators/entrepreneurs in developing countries.
- ‘These Hands’ use a identifying and supporting community initiated innovations that make a tangible difference in the lives of individuals.
- Letshego Botswana is supporting ‘These Hands’ with over P1.76 Million in bridging finance to fund and facilitate the training and mentoring of local youth innovators who develop low-cost technologies for the benefit of rural communities.
Letshego Botswana has partnered with These Hands; a global social enterprise start-up based in Botswana, that trains and mentors youth innovators to develop low-cost technologies that helps local members of our communities to overcome daily challenges.
Letshego Botswana is supporting ‘These Hands’ with bridging finance worth over P1.76 Million to capitalise activities that facilitates training and mentoring of youth innovators who develop simple machinery to generate income directly for themselves, their families and members of their communities.
Fergus Ferguson, Letshego Botswana’s Chief Executive Officer commented, “These Hands changes the lives of local community members by identifying and supporting home-grown innovations that make a difference to everyday life. Our objective is to help useful innovations get the funding, the mentorship and the financial support needed to help, not only the inventors – but also other members of the community who can also gain from local innovations. Letshego’s brand promise is to IMPROVE LIVES – ‘These Hands’ is an organisation that shares our vision – together, we can grow and support local innovation for local community benefit. Innovation is the spark that ignites entrepreneurship, employment, business growth and ultimately local economic development.”
Since their inception in 2015, These Hands have set up 5 rural innovation centres in Botswana at Dkar, Dutlwe, Rakops, Kaputura and Lesoma, having trained 400 people in 8 rural communities. They have helped young Batswana to produce 38 prototypes, with 16 of them going to market. 3 of the projects have been registered as community businesses including a Deep Sand Wheel Chair, a Hydroponic Fodder Grower and the creation of Elephant Dung Paper. In addition, they have explored 6 prototypes for potential utility model patents and commercialisation and reached at least 5000 people across the country.
Thabiso Mashaba, the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer for These Hands said, “Letshego Botswana is enabling us to identify and support more innovators in our local communities – Their support helps us to educate, increase local skills and provide growth opportunities for our young local entrepreneurs. We look forward to developing and scaling up more tech business ideas through the creation of cheaper prototypes – that are made by the community, FOR our community!”
These hands recently graduated as Members of the Botswana Innovation Hub’s First Steps Venture Centre (BIH FSVC). They are also a lifelong implementation partner and rural innovation center partner of the International Development Innovation Network (IDIN) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) D-Lab for Botswana, Africa, Latin America and South East Asia. They are also an implementation partner of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) and for Injini Education Technology Incubation Programme for Botswana.
When innovators use their technologies, they can save time, develop energy sources energy, save the environment and generate income. When entrepreneurs sell their technologies, they can create exponential results for themselves through their customers. With expert training on entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, These Hands participants can go on to create Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs). Young Entrepreneurs ready for scaling and in search of capital receive assistance through their networks and access to small pools of initial capital injection of closely monitored funding. Many of these entrepreneurs ultimately form teams and hire people, thus creating jobs not only for themselves but also for their communities.