Newman Tshepo Ramatokwane, 29, from Botswana, is founder of Native Stretch Tents and Canopies (pty) Ltd, used for Events. Most people would have given up after dropping out of college twice, but not Newman Tshepo Ramatokwane. “Go against the grain,” he says. This was a clear goal Ramatokwane set for himself when he started his upward-bound career.
Born in the capital city of Botswana, Gaborone, he was groomed in a business-orientated family. Thus, the drive for entrepreneurship was grilled into him from a tender age. During his primary school years, Ramatokwane made money selling his art drawings to his colleagues and he would polish his sister’s shoes for a fee. “At the age of sixteen, I came across a financial literacy book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, it was then that my entrepreneurial spirit was unleashed,” he tells FORBES AFRICA. It was in 2013 that he decided to found his own business – Native Stretch Tents and Canopies now trading as Native Event – from a one-bedroom house.
The company initially hired out stretch tents only, but with the rapid growth, they began manufacturing furniture. Ramatokwane also invested in a mobile bar service, transport and logistics, and in an accounting firm. “I come from a country where entrepreneurship is not generally taught or pursued. “We have a culture that never believed that one can become an entrepreneur at a young age and actually succeed at it,” he says.
By 2015, his company won the local Global Expo’s 2015 and 2016 Best Small Medium Enterprise recognition. In 2018, Ramatokwane moved the business into a 1,000sqm warehouse providing more services such as event consultation, planning and management. Since then, the company has executed over 300 events, including the Southern African Inter Revenue Games, De Beers Diamond Week 2019, the Presidential Inauguration 2019 and the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation V-Sat Launch. He currently employs 20 full-time staff and about 10 part-time contract staff.