Dare to dream
Education is the key to success, so a lot would say; whilst some say it doesn’t matter whether you have many Degrees, Masters and PhDs, what matters is your brains to think and be creative.
Can you bring an idea to birth and make it a success, without necessarily going through a University? The Business Trends this week caught up with a young and exciting 26-year old, Newman Ramatokwane who hails from Molepolole in the Kweneng District. Newman owns an events management company called Native Events, which he started in 2013 from his own savings.
He is an ambitious, innovative young man who loves to always be around smart and progressive minds. Newman who started his Primary school at Segoditshane and progressed through to Maoka Junior Secondary and Naledi Senior Secondary in Gaborone, has always been exposed to the business world from a young age.
Both his parents were business oriented. He has always strived to achieve the best during his school days and was head boy at one point. Even with extra responsibilities at school, he was still able to scoop many different awards both regionally and nationally such as best overall student in Form II and III, Best Badminton player both at Junior and Senior School, Best student in agricultural fairs at Junior school, just to mention a few. After completing his senior school with impressive results, he went on to enrol with University of Botswana (BA Honours Business Administration) and Limkokwing University respectively (BA Honours Multimedia & Graphics).
He then dumped his studiesl merely six weeks later; but despite that he managed to get to where he is today. Newman quit school because he was not passionate about what he was doing. He also felt his lecturers were not up to scratch. When he began his entrepreneurship journey, Newman decided to work on a certificate in Business Admin and Management. Despite not having the highest education qualifications like many others, he still has an ambition to get more qualifications. Native Events started in 2013 as Native Stretch tents and Canopies which solely hired out stretch tents but eventually it diversified and incorporated more event solutions as it wasn’t such a lucrative business venture on its own. It was then that Native Events was born, with the mandate to become the best youth owned in-house events solutions provider.
Offering an array of services from event consultation, event planning & management, event security solutions, event bar solutions, VIP & VVIP Lounge Solutions & Event structural solutions. Native’s event solutions are primarily aimed at addressing the specific needs of clients, in a manner that is preserving and/or enhancing of a client’s brand equity. “We design and customise every aspect of an event around a client’s request to ensure the resulting product is both relevant and actionable to their stakeholders, while being mindful of drawing the direct linkages back to how customers experience a particular brand,” he says.
The hiring process starts with the initial brief with the client; followed by concept brainstorm and the quoting process. Upon approval of the quote clients are required to make full payment prior to the event and the company delivers on its promise to make their event spectacular by setting up in no less than 24 hours prior to their event. “It seems quite simple yes, but the trick is in the intricate details,” so he says. Before venturing into this business, Newman had worked in other businesses and invested money in other projects.
He saw his vision and saved money for his dream and made it possible. “There have been tough times and it has taught me a lot of discipline. Planning and budgeting is very important when starting a business as it is easy for you to use the business money, but you have to remind yourself time and again that your business money is not your money and hence you can’t just use it for your personal affairs.”
With no loan nor funding for its startup, he can’t really say how much it cost him to start Native Events, but it’s surely now a business worth a couple of hundred-thousands, and a dream in the right direction, he says. Some of the challenges Native Events experiences are short lead times when setting up; failure of customers to understand the difference between quality & quantity; problematic venues and fly-by-night businesses in the industry.
However, to mitigate the challenges he says, “as a brand, we are transparent in a genuine and authentic way—we live and demonstrate our creativity and customer engagement. Style is native to us. We customise the event setups with the aim to win both the hearts and the minds of consumers whether we work within limited budgets, or short lead times, we always strive to meet the client’s expectations despite the limitations and most importantly we work on building associations in the industry.”
During its first year and a half Native Events was running with just one employee and now with almost three years in the industry, it has grown to a full-time staff of eight employees with a few interns and on and off staff depending on their school schedule. Newman hopes to launch an in-house production division on a massive scale by manufacturing own products in the facility while also creating job employment for young Batswana that are yearning for jobs in this field of business.
He is inspired by doing what he is really good at, which is art and displaying his twist and ideas of creativity. He loves the quote, “Dare to dream and persevere to make your dreams a reality.”Most of his relaxing time, if not with his family; is consumed with events to see what the world is doing in regards to events and set ups.