As one of the key partners to the Creative Business Cup Botswana, Stanbic Bank Botswana AcceleR8 played host on the 27th of March 2021 to the much-anticipated final instalment of the competition, in which Sebusamathe Mokgwe of Sweet Sensations walked away as the Botswana champion.
As the 2021 winner for the Botswana finals, Sweet Sensations proved to be the clear favorite of the day, dazzling judges with their prowess, skills, confidence and entrepreneurial savvy. Sweet Sensations is an award-winning local chocolate brand that specialises in premium hand-crafted chocolates with a taste of indigenous fruits such as morula, kgeru, motoroko and mmilo. They use sustainably sourced Botswana native fruits, harvested by elderly women in the village seasonally, practicing Fair Trade and empowering these women.
The Creative Business Cup is a global competition with more than 70 creative thinkers focused on promoting innovation and creative business efforts. The platform, which has been taking place over the past 4 years since Botswana joined as a member in 2017, has seen over 200 applicants and 42 start–ups take part in the National finals to date. The start–ups that participate have ranged from those who are still at the inception stage, all the way to those with medium size businesses.
Said Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of AcceleR8, Larona Makgoeng, “It has been a brilliant journey watching the young entrepreneurs who participated in this year’s competition, learn, and truly fight for their ideas and entities. Across Botswana, we speak of the importance of supporting youth entrepreneurship, but we need to match this with sustainable investment in helping fuel the practical realities and needs that this entails. To this end, Stanbic Bank AcceleR8 in line with its ‘Four by 4 model’ and in particular reference to the pillars of ‘access to markets’ and ‘access to funding,’ are committing to funding the top 2 for a trip to the Global stage in Denmark. This is with the intention of enabling them to gain exposure to other markets and potential funding if their submissions make it to the investor pitch. What is most important is the learnings acquired in the process, as what is important about entrepreneurship is to fail forward, stumble and try again. It is an experimental process, one in which failure must be celebrated as much as success is celebrated. If we become okay with the fact that business failure is one of the possible outcomes of entrepreneurship, we would actually achieve a lot more. We must encourage our young start-ups to be more courageous in this journey of solution finding.”
As we work to change the narrative of youth employability and entrepreneurship, these are the very platforms we need to support and grow. AcceleR8 is about building alliances with similar initiatives for collective undertaking of developing entrepreneurs to realise their dreams, with a view towards ensuring impact, towards ensuring we help fuel and indeed actualise the dreams of young Batswana; this is how we drive Botswana’s growth. Stanbic Bank acknowledges all those who played a part in this installment, particularly because the AcceleR8 model is built on leveraging partnerships to ensure sustainability. This includes the panel of judges -Thamani Thothe, Obakeng Segwagwe, Buca Matenge, Tefo Setlhare, Mpho Donnell; partners – Morac Capital, Spark Ideas Group, Duchess Consulting, – and the guest speaker at the occasion, Obonye Malope.
The Creative Business Cup comprises a conference and competition elements respectively. The conference focuses on new creative and cultural businesses in the creative industries to motivate, sharpen and develop the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, as well as providing a forum for networking. All finalists proceeded to the final based on clear evaluation criteria, with the core asset of the business based on creative competencies, the start up being commercial and concepts bearing market potential as well as registered as a legal entity in Botswana. This is in addition to other eligibility criteria. The global finals are held each year at our Bright Conference – a two day meet-up of creative businesses and people interested in entrepreneurship and innovation from all corners of the world.
Said Nicolette Chinomona on behalf of the Creative Business Cup, “We are proud of all of the finalists and of course our winner, Sweet Sensations. They have demonstrated true grit and determination for success in the entrepreneurial world. There are few platforms where entrepreneurs who have not yet identified investors, need a platform to talk about their business and hopefully catch the eye of an investor, especially in the creative sector. We look forward to growing this even further with the support of partners like Stanbic Bank Botswana. No one is coming to Botswana to look for entrepreneurs, we need to take them to the world – if the economy is going to diversify, we need to give our entrepreneurs a chance to access larger markets than the ones we have here.”