Tokafala tourism value chain program has enrolled 40 companies from Maun and surrounding for a period of 10 months, in what is expected to strengthen business management skills of the operators for efficient operations and profitability.
Tokafala is an enterprise development programme, and has partnered with Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) and Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) to encourage the development of SMME’s in tourism sector within Maun and Kasane through a value chain approach.
Tokafala which was launched in 2014 is also a partnership between the government of Botswana, Anglo American, De Beers, and Debswana and the programme focuses on helping existing micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Botswana to grow their businesses through financing, mentoring, and advisory support.
Through Tokafala, beneficiaries will learn how to seal deals online and implement effective promotion strategies. Tokafala will provide training and mentorship to help improve participant’s business management skills and provide guidance on reviving growth strategies. The program runs for a total period of 10 months which is made up of four months of advisory workshops, and six months of mentorship and monitoring.
Speaking during the programme launch in Maun recently, HATAB CEO, Lily Rakorong stated that as they now focus on the post Covid-19 recovery phase, they acknowledge that the tourism sector will re-bounce sooner than later and that will be made possible by the available market that has been longing to travel.
She stated that it is imperative that they reinforce their customer retention strategies in order to maximise on the prospective and existing bookings. Rakorong has encouraged the beneficiary businesses to take advantage of the advisory and mentorship services for reviving their business growth.
“I understand that the new enrolment of 40 companies will learn how to seal deals online and implement effective promotion strategies,” said Rakorong.
Tokafala youth programs manager Morulaganyi Mowaneng said that with the tourism sector is on the recovery phase following the adverse impact of Covid-19, they will provide training and mentorship to help improve participating business management skills as well as provide guidance on implementing growth strategies.
He said that during the recovery phase, it is imperative that companies understand and know their operational efficiencies so that they can be able to break even, and start making profit.
“Tokafala programme will be delivered through a blended approach, combining online and in-person support, we have started digitising our curriculum to transform the programme, following a better understanding of what works best for the target segment, e-commerce will be introduced under the tourism sector to support SMMEs to understand and utilise online presence as a new way of doing business,” he explained.
Mowaneng stated that they expect the companies to learn how to focus on the right customers and sell on the right channels, ultimately being able to secure and seal deals online and meet client’s needs. This he said is in alignment with the government’s e-commerce strategy which aims to leverage Botswana’s full potential for e-commerce, to boost economic growth and socio-economic gains, diversify the economy, raise Botswana’s competitiveness in the global economy, and support its recovery from the pandemic crisis.
According to him, among a total of 40 companies that have enrolled under the current phase, there has been a balance in the gender with 50% being male owned companies while the other 50% is representing women-led companies. According to Mowaneng, the enrolment is made of mobile safari and travel agencies, accommodation facilities and tourism suppliers in general.
“It is worth noting that the recruitment has balanced the company sizes both from micro scale to medium scale, these companies employ an estimated 323 people,” he noted.
Mowaneng added that 23% of the participants represent youth owned companies noting that the Youth Development Program will take four months of intense learning to give beneficiaries entrepreneurship development and capacity building skills. He revealed that the youth will be taken through professional development skills by providing them with capacity building on employability skills, be assisted with the development of soft skills that are demanded by the market to ready them for employment.
According to him, after completing the training, they will take them through a dedicated aftercare program that supports those who are interested in getting jobs to look for them. Mowaneng has noted that they will do so by building strategic partnerships with potential employers.
In 2020, Tokafala Programme partnered also HATAB again in offering entrepreneurship development to the small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the tourism sector in Maun and Kasane.
At the beginning of the collaboration in 2020, the two organisations mobilized a total of 74 companies in the tourist -led areas of Maun & Kasane for a period of 10 months of mentorship and monitoring.