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Mastercard’s Index of Women Entrepreneurship (MIWE) revealed that 34.6% of businesses in Botswana are owned by women, making it one of the top-performing countries highlighted in this global index. We talk to two businesswomen in Botswana about their success. Following the release of Mastercard’s Index of Women’s Entrepreneurship (MIWE) in March 2017, it was revealed that 34.8% and 34.6% of businesses in Uganda and Botswana respectively, are owned by women – making them the top two performing countries in the world highlighted in the index. Uganda and Botswana managed to oust 54 other global counterparts like New Zealand (33.6%), Russia (32.6%), China (30.9%), Spain (30.8%) and United States (30.7%). The 2017 MIWE based its findings on women’s advancement outcomes, access to knowledge and financial services and supporting entrepreneurial factors.

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These are inspirational success stories about women who have beaten the odds and overcome the challenges in the field of entrepreneurship. Botswana’s Tshepang Chilume, currently the treasury sales manager of Barclays Bank Botswana, is one of those women. Along with other business partners, Chilume is involved in several successful business ventures, including a Kauai franchise, a lifestyle event company called Symbiotic Lifestylz and a carwash company in Gaborone.

As an entrepreneur, Chilume has used her drive and commitment to engage in a social venture to raise awareness and expand the treatment option in Botswana for bilateral talipes (clubfoot) after her son was born with this congenital deformity. Together with Karen Moss, Chilume established a strong private partnership between the Botswana Ministry of Health, US donors’ Miracle Feet and STEPS South Africa – an organisation focused on advocacy and innovative treatment for clubfoot. The two women successfully operate the clinic in a public hospital in Botswana.

Young, female agripreneur: Mavis Nduchwa

Mavis Nduchwa from Francistown in northeastern Botswana is an Estate and Hospitality graduate with a passion for food production. Growing up on a farm fuelled her love for agriculture and this young agripreneur is on a mission to demonstrate that women farmers in Africa can make a difference.

Nduchwa is the force behind the successful agribusiness, Chabana Farms – a family-owned enterprise in the Tutumwe sub-district of Botswana. Chabana farms are focused on non-GMO dairy products and environmentally friendly production. Vegetables, beef and pork are organically grown and produced. The farm also produces grains like maize, sunflower, sorghum, beans, groundnuts and lablab (a legume that produces high-quality feed for livestock).

The Botswana government recently awarded the 247-acre Chabana Farms a $2- million contract to supply jugo beans to the local market. During a good rainy season, Chabana Farms can make up to $1.5-million in profits.

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