Interviews

Mooketsi Bennedict Tekere Interview

Who is Mooketsi B. Tekere?

I am CEO and Founder of NGWANA ENTERPRISES. Mostly I prefer to be defined as a social entrepreneur, an academic and a development expert. Born inside the small city of Francistown ,my grandmother  always used to refer to the year I was born as the year of the heavy rain~ I remember it as the year I learned to share one of the peaks of been born part of a set. Both my mother and father traders~ I had a familiarity towards the concept of entrepreneurship like most people in their generation they had never seen the inside of the classroom and the only homework they had was their family. Their love for their unknown and their struggle towards complete liberation they made sure i went to school and found my way into the doors of university.

From the level of primary public school to university sponsored by government of Botswana I gained my academic independence acquiring skills that allowed prospering in my fields. Botswana, South Africa and Germany are a reflection of the journey I had to embark upon to realize my laureates that I did not want to sit on. This is where I gained my passion for education and social entrepreneurship. Fast forward a couple of gruelling years in the private sector I had published three books and written numerous articles & journals as well as done social commentary on national and regional topics such as education ,poverty reduction ,HIV/AIDS management ,corporate social investment and developed the concept of medical tourism for health care in Botswana whilst a consultant for one of the programs funded by U.S Consulate in Botswana.

I therefore do believe I am a symbol of the undertone of undefined success~I am a significant example were being African is not African enough, potential is stigmatized in every community, this is one of those situations where your teenage son/daughter walks up to you and is “ubber excited” about some “meme” from some social network that he/she created and it had some sort of recognition from a number of his/her peers. This is the same type of feeling that I get from creating platforms that educate and innovate the perspective of the world I live in. I am a social entrepreneur!

Tell us more about Ngwana Entreprises

Ngwana Enterprises is a vibrant IT solutions provider focused at delivering cutting edge software solutions- primarily for institutions of learning. Ngwana Enterprises is a Francistown; Botswana based company, run and managed by 100% resident and Citizen Motswana. We are the pioneers of the innovative concept ~ digital computer lab ~ a lab that provides free open source educational solutions to meet the learning activities in schools and institutions. The digital computer lab idea focuses on promoting and supporting the outcomes of the schools systems. Our program is focused on maths, science and language arts. It’s a platform that is developed and customised to meet the individual learning demands of preschool to grade 12 and University students.

Though the concept of the digital computer lab is a Botswana developed concept- it borrows greatly from models and partnerships with education partners in the United States of America, Republic of South Africa, China, India and Canada. Ngwana Enterprises has made strategic channel partners in these countries in order to develop and customize the innovate concepts to the national curriculum alignment of Botswana and Africa.

Ngwana Enterprises is most importantly a service provider of Entrepreneurship services ranging from Schools Camps, Entrepreneurship Summits and offers platforms where Entrepreneurship is celebrated.

Ngwana Enterprises is also involved in the localisation of local education teaching model though development of educational videos and content as relevant to the system of Botswana.

Is there anything else you do?

Ngwana Enterprises is also involved in corporate social investment in Botswana-  We run annually a one day charity initiative used to encourage and empower the disabled children to take part in Information Communication Technologies for self-empowerment, receive education packs and to network with normal children across all communities. The digital Xmas and Disability thanksgiving initiative is been able for 2 years to provide information on the importance of using ICT solutions as educational tools and also for showcase and participation in educational activities which are entrepreneurial for children with disabilities in Francistown. Ngwana Enterprises also runs a Kids Entrepreneurship Expose annually for children who are registered with the North East District and Councils as poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable. These kids are equipped with entrepreneurial skills in our events and provided with annual mentorship through the year.  Ngwana Enterprises additionaly conducts an ICT day specifically for women in schools and attempts to upskill the women in terms of how accessibility of internet and technology solutions could be a great hinderance towards gender inequality experienced by most women in Botswana.

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Well done for representing Botswana at the 2013 One Young World Summit. Please share your experiences.

3 DAYS in the presence of giants like Richard Branson, Kofi Anann, Prof. Mohammed Yunus, Kate Roberston, David Jones , Arriana Huffington and others~ all I can say is BREATH-TAKING AND  a total experience of attending the World Olympics Games- the only difference is that here its almost liked another Youth United  Nations- the only difference is the 1500+ smartest young people from all corners of the world. Imagine the experience and networking ecosystem. I’d encourage more capable young Batswana to apply for the One Young World.

Botswana participated in Global Entrepreneurship Week for the 1st time this year and Ngwana Entreprises made that happen. Tell us more about that.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities. Developed for Bottswana by Ngwana Enterprises for the first time under the theme –Creativity, Self –Sufficiency & Personal Initiative.

Taking background of the lack of entrepreneurial spirit in Botswana- we initiated a Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013 Botswana agenda for action initiative. We had clear knowledge of the fact that Botswana needs entrepreneurs and our focus into the primary and secondary education aimed not only to inspire the students but also to share information and clear expert guidance on a range of entrepreneurship topics in order to enhance tangible outcomes. In this initiative, students gained knowledge and advice specific to their own ideas and initiatives. Building on feedback from our random dialogue seminars on entrepreneurship with students from all across different schools in Botswana, we then identified the Global Entrepreneurship Week as an area of interest to foster connections that will aid progress in creating effective, scalable solutions and practical tools that will contribute adequate attention to entrepreneurship education to primary and secondary education in Botswana. The first of its initiation phase in Botswana- the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013 incorporated 3 Plenary Sessions on topics chosen from the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) National Expert Survey Questionnaire- Tracking Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth of National Level in Botswana.

Do you face any challenges on a day to day basis? How do you tackle them?

Our Education system is at the rock- bottom- education has become so irrelevant to parents, teachers and students that it becomes shocking to attempt implementing any new ideas because the system is place is not in favour of today generation.

  1. Educators in our country and parents do not recognize that technology is coming to be catalyst for fostering teaching and interactive learning in all our schools and this is therefore making the pace of innovation and change in what we develop difficult to understand.
  2. Our poor internet connection in the country makes it very difficult to access or develop for sharing top quality education material through leading-edge technology platforms and solutions.
  3. There is large learning gap between learners in schools and industry when it comes to the subject of entrepreneurship.
  4. The current education model is largely based on supply-economics regardless of whether pupils need or want specific curricula they are being offered –the fact remains they are being regurgitated with long established set of course content and course load. This educational model is largely inflexible-literary declining and taking ancestor pace for consideration of the evolution of modern pupils and schools in being accustomed to digital, flexible and interactive environments. In an era of modernisation, our technological innovations and effective ideas are irrelevant due to educational woes not important to current leadership.

What drives you?

I am driven by 3 things to be an entrepreneur and to think innovately;

  1. Freedom
  2. Passion
  3. Control

How does your typical day look like?

05:00 Shower

05:30 Open Laptop and work for 45 mins to an Hour

0630: Leave for Office

08:00 Breakfast

0830-1300: Meetings, Office Management, Day to Day Operations , Project Development, Social Media to find Inspiration

1330: Lunch (sometimes- I eat when I am forced! )

1430: Work

18:00 Connect with U.S Business Partners to skype or gmail chat (3x per week)

2000: Go Home

2100: Dinner

22:00 Work

2330: Sleep

What do you do to take your mind off things and relax when you’re not working?

I do a lot of social media (facebook) although its difficult to say its not work~ my presence in social media is mainly for business and to get the latest updates. I also do a lot of travel in between Botswana and South Africa~ my travel bill is P7000 per month. This year I hope to cut it down. I also do some reading – I buy business books and invest time to read them to find different focus. I do charity when its necessary- in all forms just to find peace with the situation at the time. I listen to European music, especially French love songs. I love the tone of the songs.

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Where do you see yourself when you look into the future? Say 5 years from now?

Basically the vision is simple- build more digital computer labs, expand to all schools in Botswana and ultimately take the solutions to other parts of Africa. I am aiming to take my expertise and knowledge at one point where its most needed- I aim to embark on a journey to West Africa where I will setup the digital computer labs- I am already making strategy. I will acquire a PhD in the next 5 years and hope to share my innovations with young people in Africa.  Id hopefully also get married soon~ when the right one finds me and I find her~ I shall honor her and do whats right and marry her and hope beyond the 5 years we can start building the NGWANA legacy by building a family empire. I’d most importantly like to find peace with my goals and achievements in order to be happy and find the fulfilment I am in search of. Maybe this is what I need to get in the next 5 years!

What are your thoughts about entrepreneurship in Botswana?

There is great potential for entrepreneurialism mindset change for youth in Botswana. We need to find a means of nurturing this entrepreneurial spirit and making it a household skill. I don’t know how we can do it, but we need every home in Botswana to at least have 1 child or family member with keen interest for Business. The Government has laid the good foundation for  doing business  but most of us Batswana do not see it. So we need more entrepreneurial schooling on such aspects of business.

Do you have any mentors or people you look up to?

I work with a team of people- some seen at times but some always invisible and how they prefer it. I am not alone in this vision. I have trusted mentors in the US, RSA and CHINA. These are business people, but they listen to me and council me when its important. In time I will reveal them- but let me make this point very clear~ I do not work alone , I have a team with me, and I have a very strong support system when it comes to business! I live on the edge of communicating with my mentors. I also do have mentees. I mentor quite a number of youth!

Is there anything else you’d like to say? Any advice for young people out there?

Young people need to exercise ignorance of their own limits! The line between impossible and possible is almost non-existent now. Young people of today are the smartest generation of today- they need to use the power they have to change systems if the such systems punish them. Young people need to know the future of any success = entrepreneurship

How can people contact you?

NGWANA ENTERPRISES

Ngilichi House, Floor 1, Unit 1, Haskins Str., Francistown, Botswana

Telephone: 2420363

 Fax no: 2420364

E-mail: info.ngwana@gmail.com

Mobile: 73884859

Position:  CEO & Founder

 

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