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Botswana: 'techpreneurs' bemoan lack of govt support

Botswana: 'techpreneurs' bemoan lack of govt support

Technology entrepreneurs in Botswana have challenged government to offer more support to their projects.

Innovators housed within Botswana Innovation Hub's First Steps Ventures Centre want government to increase its support for projects.

The entrepreneurs want funds from government to prop up viability and sustainability of their projects.

"The government should support us. They should create partnership with us," said Thatayaone Dichaba, director at Ditec Mobile, who said a lack of funds is limiting his company's ability to manufacture more mobile phones, despite demand in the market.

Justice William of World Queues Applications said limited support from government has seen his company miss out on contracts.

"People like our products, but they do not trust our consistency of supply. We need government support and involvement in innovation technology," said William.

However government has indicated that its coffers are limited and strained, urging the entrepreneurs to seek joint ventures with established companies and other blue chip ventures willing to support their projects.

"Small and medium enterprises should try to approach big companies who can be shareholders because it is not easy for them as individuals. Partnerships would make their business sustainable," said Nonofo Molefhi, Infrastructure, Science and Technology minister.

In addition, Molefhi said government is working towards setting up an Innovation Fund for innovators to tap into.

Meanwhile, Botswana Innovation Hub's First Steps Ventures Centre is happy with progress of entrepreneurs, claiming their clients are reaching milestones including global publicity.

"We are continuously working with our clients whom are still yet to launch their products but are steps away from full commercialisation," said Rebi Odirile, liaison officer at First Step Ventures Centre.

Odirile said the Centre is still going through technology development program for most entrepreneurs.

"We expect all our clients to continuously move into full commercialisation and for their products to not only improve Botswana but to potentially change the global market," Odirile said.

The centre currently has fifteen active startups.

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