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She sits at the summit of the most successful local business in Botswana. Though she makes running a business looks like child’s play, Petronella Matumo insists it has not always been easy.

She is the owner of Private Collection, which operates from the high end Riverwalk Mall, where suitors clamour for the latest diamond rings and accessories for their loved ones. 

Other than Private Collection, she has other businesses and sits in various other boards, including chairing some such as the leading property developer PrimeTime. At the beginning she wanted to create a diamond company called Ica, drawn from the word Africa, (even though she did not have money, let alone any knowledge about jewellery production!)

Building her empire

She then decided to outsource from South Africa so that she could get someone to produce- then she would sell. She did not have all that required expertise to run an effective business, but she was sure she had a vision for a diamond jewellery store. “It was difficult and challenging, and at that time I did not even have a bicycle!” she says.

Matumo recalls that raising the start-up capital was a big problem. Coincidentally, just when she was still sweating to establish this business, she was approached to sit in the Barclays Botswana board. She equally had no idea  what was expected of her. Despite the uncertainty, she knew she had to create a legacy.

“You have to consider your personal values; why it is important and what it is that you need to do in order to shape this business -  what are your moral standards... is it just passion or you just want to make money...? These are the questions that I asked myself,” she says.

Mathumo says that after sitting on the board her friend gave her a book on corporate governance and asked her to read it so that she could understand her statutory duties. She says building a profile is important – one has to develop own approach and educate oneself about the industry environment; by learning and reading about what makes other business people successful; and whether it is about passion or money...

“Don’t be afraid to borrow from what other people are doing, and don’t be afraid to take these views to the boardroom and ask 'what about us?,” she says.

She points to various sources of information, be it in magazines, newspapers and so forth, which should not be neglected.  Someone should be consistent in reading about strategies and how other people do it in order to learn and educate themselves about business so as to add value in any board they sit in, or any of their businesses, she maintains.

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