The Botho University Entrepreneurship Development Unit, under the Student and Alumni Affairs Department, hosted the third annual eLab ideas pitching platform on the 12th of November 2018, where interested students and alumni presented their business ideas and the best considered to be part of the third cohort of the eLab residents.
The e-Lab is an initiative that aims to help the Botho University students and alumni identify practical applications to current issues, problems, and needs. It is also where students across the curricular come together to share ideas, access resources, and come up with innovative approaches to problem solving. The e-Lab includes activities a speaker series with alumni entrepreneurs and other members of our entrepreneurship community, training workshops focused on relevant skills, and field trips, where necessary, to connect with the broader startup community across Botswana. In addition, it identifies mentors and incubates, connects and supports outstanding student-entrepreneurs and facilitates their success beyond Botho University, into the community. This is done through activities or opportunities like providing office space and secretarial services, hosting pep talks with real entrepreneurs, mentorship sessions and experiential training.
In her opening remarks, Aravinda Ram, DPVC—Technology and Employability welcomed the judges, speakers and attendees to the event and gave an overview on the eLab and what the lab hopes to achieve. The guest speakers on the day were Mr. Base Sebonego, who is the founder and CEO at Mosele Legal Services and Ms. Jennifer Fuller the founder and Managing Director of Fullertimes Int and Family Gems BW who gave pep talks on entrepreneurship in general and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. The speakers also gave advice to the aspiring entrepreneurs on the importance of thorough introspection before starting the entrepreneurship journey, to verify their passion and whether they are really cut out to be in that space.
Ten ideas were presented on the day: an online class on coding, Aquarium Restaurant, Road Accident Alert App, Simple Shoe Care, Locally manufactured toothpicks, Uber for laundry, Automatic Electricity Purchase, Amusement Park, Crypto Cyber Forensics Security Services and Baobab Food Products. After hearing the pitches, the judges asked presenters questions to clearly understand the ideas and then advised accordingly. The three ideas that won on the day to become part of the eLab are Corner Block, Uber for Laundry and Automatic Electricity Purchase. The three were not the only winners on the day because the Simple Shoe Care owner was offered a sponsorship by Mr. Base Sebonego which included a trip to Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa to benchmark on other businesses operating there and the startup capital to open the first shop. Another offer on the day was to Automatic Electricity Purchase; Mr. Base Sebonego invited the owner to have a meeting with him to talk more about his business idea.
Overall, the event was a successful one, with advice by the industry captains with different business experiences.