Name: Neo Mosimane | Country: Botswana | Business: Romatic Coffee | 27
Meet Neo - Ye!’s newest local Ambassador
Meet Neo Mosimane, a young woman entrepreneur from Botswana striving to bring quality coffee to consumers. Neo began her career as a chef in her early twenties and later became an entrepreneur working with coffee. At her enterprise, Romatic Coffee, she roasts, blends and packages coffee from all over the world. Some of her ambitions are to export her products, to play a major role in creating jobs and to support other enterprises to develop and grow in Botswana and Africa and to reduce food insecurity through education.
So, let’s get to know Neo!
What do Ye! Community members need to know about Romatic Coffee?
Romatic Coffee is a Botswana, citizen owned coffee roasting company based in Gaborone, Botswana. It was established in June 2018 with the aim of growing the coffee industry in Botswana by supplying freshly roasted, high quality coffee sourced from the best coffee producing countries in Africa and South America. The coffee is imported and sold to established hotels, retails sites, and to brands, such as Capello and Mugg and Bean.
Where is Romatic Coffee headed in the future?
Romatic Coffee plans to grow the industry locally by increasing Botswana’s visibility in the international coffee trade. We hope to become one of the main players in the export of roasted African specialty coffees and African coffee blends. To do so, we are further expanding our knowledge of the African coffee culture and trade by attending exhibitions such as the Cape Town Coffee festival, visiting coffee farms and roasteries and studying global coffee trends. We plan to use our knowledge and resources to grow into international markets. We have a capacity to supply beyond our borders, therefore we are working towards finding our niche internationally and looking for export support and guidance from entities like the International Trade Centre and the Ye! Community. We hope to identify and supply customers in the US market in the future. This will give us an opportunity to increase our workforce and create jobs, right here in Botswana.
What is your biggest challenge in business?
Romatic Coffee is up against large established companies who have more experience and more market share. Exporting to other African companies is also a hurdle we are working to overcome.
What are some of the biggest accomplishments of Romatic Coffee thus far?
Our success has led to recognition and accolades from the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) and we are certified Pride Mark users and Silver Exhibitor Award winners in the Botswana Pride category of the 2018 Global Expo. We have received an award from Botswana Innovation Hub for outstanding performance in the 2019 Females In Bio Business Acceleration program and went on to represent Botswana in Cape Town South Africa. We have also had international recognition and have been invited by the African Fine Coffee Association to participate in the 2019 Specialty Coffee Exhibition and Conference in Kigali, Rwanda. In 2019, Romatic Coffee was invited to attend B2B meetings with potential buyers at the ITC’s flagship trade conference, the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
As Ye! Ambassador, what would you like to accomplish by creating the Ye! Local Chapter?
The ideal outcome for a Botswana Ye! chapter would be enhancing youth acceleration programs and incubators that offer a curriculum that includes risk management, operations management, human resource management and financial management. My goal is for the local chapter to partner with local financial institutions, innovation hubs and government entities to accelerate the growth of entrepreneurship for youth in Botswana and to ensure that alternative funding options for startup development are available. I wish to make Ye! An active online platform that young entrepreneurs can use to access information on courses, programs and opportunities.
In Botswana, what does the startup ecosystem look like?
The startup ecosystem in Botswana is in its infancy. The biggest players are government institutions and parastatals who have programs and incubators designed to accelerate startup growth. The ecosystem is mainly set up by academics and employees of the government. This means that the gap is in the type of information that is being disseminated. The type of assistance available is sometimes misinformed and inappropriate for young startup founders because it is not tailor made by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. This leaves a gap in the ecosystem for seasoned entrepreneurs to create content that will be beneficial for young startups in Botswana. I believe that is where Ye! and myself can work together to bring information from a wider perspective to benefit young people in Botswana.
What are some of the most common challenges faced by youth entrepreneurs in Botswana?
The main challenge most young entrepreneurs face in Botswana is access to finance. There are government programs and initiatives that exist to fund young entrepreneurs; however, they are often very rigid in terms of the financing limits and they finance only a few businesses with concepts that have been proven to be successful in Botswana. These programs often leave young entrepreneurs who have innovative solutions and unique business models without funding. Due to the financing limits, projects that require higher initial investment end up underfunded which leads to project failure.
There has also been an influx in the youth opting to start businesses due to our country’s high level of unemployment. There is a lack of mentors that can guide young entrepreneurs through the hurdles they face. There is an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to guide each other through challenges. A majority of the successful entrepreneurs in Botswana started their businesses after they had established themselves as employees and were a lot more mature.
What motivated you to become a Ye! Ambassador?
I believe that Botswana has many talented young people that need educating and mentoring to be groomed into successful entrepreneurs. Both before and after I became an entrepreneur, I have often felt that I needed guidance and I did not know where to find it. If I had, this could have led to making more informed decisions in business. It was difficult to find the information and advice I needed.
I would also like to assist other young people that might have similar experiences. I also believe that becoming a Ye! Ambassador and working with ITC will open doors for me to become involved in policy advocacy for entrepreneurship in Botswana and in Africa. One of my ambitions is to lobby for ease of doing business in Botswana and to advise the government and private sector on entrepreneurship and agro-business policies. I believe the experience with Ye and ITC will assist in my pursuit for these career ambitions.
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