IED aims to position Botswana as a beacon for innovation, entrepreneurship and prosperity in Africa by helping aspiring and early stage entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into reality. We support the development of business skills and knowledge as well as creating networking opportunities to catalyse the growth of the country’s startup community.
IED and Venture Creation Labs provide training, investment and mentoring to aspiring entrepreneurs to diversify the economy through the launch of successful startups to create wealth and jobs. Our mission is to:
- Improve the total entrepreneurial activity rate, particularly high-potential business creation.
- Promote an enabling environment for establishment of businesses that create clear value and meet significant needs, have robust economic characteristics and can be scaled with sustainable impact.
- Forge an entrepreneurship attitude and inculcate a spirit of entrepreneurship from the grassroots through kid and youth oriented programming.
“Dream into Business—Transform Botswana” is the IED mantra and purpose. We recognize that Botswana’s economy is heavily dependent upon the diamond industry, which faces an uncertain future with resource depletion and a real threat posed by synthetic diamonds.
A surge of new business creation in many sectors will broaden and strengthen the economy and the livelihood of all Batswana. Committed to spearhead fast growth in startups, the IED has adopted three special focus areas, including Import Substitution, Women’s Economic Empowerment and Youth Employment Creation.
Import Substitution: Botswana’s annual import bill stands at a staggering P79 billion. The dominance of a single industry, in terms of activity and government funding, has provided something of a cushion, rather than engendering a hunger for innovation and creativity among Batswana.
Women’s Economic Empowerment: According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), a large number of women are engaged in income generation and microenterprises, but many have no alternative livelihood and are engaged in family survival strategies, with little prospect of being able to work their way out of poverty. In Botswana, many development programs like Poverty Eradication Program and Women Empowerment Grant promote economic activities, especially among disadvantaged groups. However, existing business training and other enterprise development services for women tend to be approached from a welfare point of view. Therefore, they often fail to provide female target groups with the practical business skills, knowledge and the ‘business-mind’ that is crucial for successful venture development.
Youth Employment Creation: Estimated unemployment is about 20%, with youth being the hardest hit. A recent study on youth entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa paints an alarming picture of a growing population of ambitious and entrepreneurial young people who have nowhere to go. The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, ‘Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs: Unlocking The Potential For A Brighter Future’, warns that Africa’s youth bulge poses an enormous threat to the region, unless more targeted support is provided to youth entrepreneurs, specifically in the age group 18-34.
We believe that the challenges threatening the modest economic gains the country has made over the last 50 years will be addressed by raising the level of new business creation in Botswana. This will spark a new wave of national economic and social benefits—creating a more diversified economy, reducing the import bill, accelerating job creation, eradicating poverty, stemming rural to urban migration, reducing teenage pregnancy and youth delinquency, among many other social ills.
Since the economic and social spinoffs are so vast, IED is working to take every opportunity to harness and encourage an entrepreneurial revolution across Botswana.
We have adopted a training with incubation business model with IED generally offering longer term academic training programs and Venture Creation Labs assuming a business incubation/ accelerator role. Creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem requires many initiatives to coalesce; we therefore provide support through key resources like skills development, mentoring and networking. In summary we facilitate the Ideation, Incubation and Acceleration process of business. All this is delivered through our Lean Start Up and Business Model Canvas philosophy embedded in all our programming.