Project124 is an innovation enabler designed to revolutionize youth entrepreneurship and facilitate effective creation of sustainable jobs for young people around the country, brought to you by Launchit International in partnership with Hollard Life Botswana.
Established in 2016, Project124 stands to be the leading private and citizen owned youth entrepreneurship development program in Botswana, building the economy one business at a time. The Project124 has been strategically formulated to develop globally competitive entrepreneurs with investable and scalable businesses in Botswana. Over the past three (3) years, the program has been committed to reaching out to 200 entrepreneurs annually with trainings, mentorship and funding
opportunities which has seen more than 25 businesses established in the process, creating over 50 jobs for young people across the country. In 2020, Project124’s total reach since inception grew to 1’387 entrepreneurs countrywide. With more than 85% of youth businesses failing in Botswana, it is our hope and goal to increase the 15% of those that are doing better through our commitment towardsM growing the reach of this program around the country, one business at a time.
The program has since grown from Botswana to become one of SADC Entrepreneurship Programs, reaching entrepreneurs in Botswana, South Africa, Eswatini, Namibia and Zambia.
The program reaches young entrepreneurs in Botswana’s areas including Palapye, Maun, Gantsi, Francistown and Selebi Phikwe. With the seven (7) stages of the program which includes a series of 18 events, 30 meetings, 19 trainings, fortnight monitoring and evaluation around all these places the program is scheduled to run for a period of one (1) Month two (2) Weeks and four (4) Days. With seven (7) stages of the program, Project124 commits to providing top of the range practical training to entrepreneurs which will improve their thinking abilities, zeal to pursue, knowledge in improving the business models, systems, processes, design thinking, the product and the people in their businesses: positioning them for a better role in managing successful startups. Project124 has enrolled more than 300 entrepreneurs from the participating countries and will graduate the international top 24 who will all stand a chance to get funding from venture capital investors at the Project124 Africa Finals.
Goitsemang J. Khutsafalo, CEO
With the current unemployment rate ranging at an average of 17.6% and a total import bill well over BWP52 billion, with over 170’000 unemployed skilled graduates, in the world challenged by Covid-19, rampant job losses, and countries looking within to capacitate their entrepreneurs to sustain their economies, we believe that a platform like Project124 that can develop entrepreneurs and enterprises with focus on global competitiveness as well as sustainable business management will contribute immensely towards improving entrepreneurship in Botswana as well as create sustainable jobs for young people in the country and grow the economy through the SME growth.
The main Project124 Events & Activities include:
1. The Annual Project124 Entrepreneurship Program: The conference brings together seasoned entrepreneurs and speakers from different backgrounds from Botswana and internationally. The conference speaks on dedicated topics designed to carry participants in conversation about becoming better entrepreneurs with impact. The conferences are held virtually and in person. As proof of the support the project has been receiving from the Botswana government over the years, the conferences are officiated by the relevant Government Minister of the year’s cohort.
2. The Project124 Country Tour: One of Project124’s flagship and highly impactful activity is the Project124 Country Tour. These are 54 hour long events which brings the participants together into one room to go through the Venture Creation Process, Business Modelling and Pitch Training. Project124 travels the country in places like Gaborone, Palapye, Selebi Phikwe, Francistown, Maun and Gantsi to give young entrepreneurs a chance to build their start-ups on this high growth and high innovation platform.
3. The Project124 Africa Finals: after undergoing all the requisite training & development steps of the program, Goitsemang J. Khutsafalo, CEO Project124 will choose Finalists who will be given the opportunity to showcase what they have built through the program, others will be given the chance to present their businesses in competition to gain seed capital from both Project124, partners and the investors.
4. Project124 Intervarsity Competitions: The Project124 InterVarsity Competitions is a platform designed to bring the country’s best university minds under one roof to both birth innovative solutions to the nation’s greatest challenges, as well as showcase the brilliance of Botswana’s innovative students within the Business, Entrepreneurship & Innovation space.