Francistown’s pint-sized entrepreneur, Gadzanani Kind Makopola, is living proof that indeed greatness does come in small packages.
His passion for success has catapulted him to business heights that most of his peers can only dream of.
A business man of note, with copper mining interests in Zambia, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) the youthful Makopola carries a huge responsibility on his tiny shoulders and says he would rather choke in greatness than settle for mediocrity.
This week as he puts together final touches to his latest ‘NdoShopper Annual Fair’ business project which is expected to revitalize Francistown’s social and business landscape this festive season, Makopola took time off his busy schedule and talked to us about business, family and life in general.
Q. Good to see you again Gadza, what’s keeping you busy these days?
You know with me it’s always business as usual (laughs)…At the moment I’ve taken a short break from my international trips to focus on another huge project in Francistown.
We’ll be launching the ‘NdoShopper’ annual fair, which basically is a revolution of the shopping experience.
We are going to have an activation at the Francistown Sports Complex and we’ve mobilized a good number of companies who’ve shown keen interest in sponsoring and exhibiting their products and services from December 20th to 23rd.
Q. Tell us more about the fair
The Francistown Annual Shoppers Fair is a giant activation event for the main ndoshopper.com`s business model.
The ultimate goal is to house every retail entity on the platform to afford clients to purchase goods (groceries, hardware, electronics, takeaways etc) and have the goods delivered without making a call.
This will among other things, afford consumers the opportunity to buy home items before knocking off and then have their items delivered.
After a long day at work, people wish to reach home as early as possible without having to first go and queue in the shops.
There are already small purchase delivery companies and these will be contracted to provide the service for us.
The e-commerce platform will officially be launched during the 2018 Annual Shoppers Fair; taking advantage of the hype created by the event.
Q. How confident are you about the turnout and what’s in it for the sponsors?
Our visionary innovative and well thought business model will highly benefit our title sponsors as our most visible advertising space will be prioritised for them for 12 months after the launch.
We understand how visibility and clientele traffic is key and as such our model and branding initiative will give our partners/sponsors value for money.
The 2018 Francistown Annual Shoppers Fair will potentially attract over 300 retailers, over 40 000 buyers/clients and over 300 000 Football game viewers thereby giving sponsors a platform of increased brand presence.
We expect these numbers to grow annually.
Q And why the name ‘NdoShopper?
The hashtag #NdoShopper is derived from a mix of vernacular (Ikalanga; spoken mainly in the North) fused with English.
The tag translates to “#IamShopping” in English. The tag is to be the main social media driver as we intend to make it trend during the event`s build up.
Q. You have also been involved in the mining business, kindly tell us a bit about it?
Very true, mining has been paying the bills for a while now. We started off with our primary focus being copper mining and we were working with BCL when they went into Zambia because I had a couple of mining assets there.
Before BCL got into trouble and shut down we had made a major breakthrough in the Zambian market and we had very good prospects that we were looking at.
Unfortunately the drop in copper prices affected everything and we temporarily halted operations and tried gold mining in Zimbabwe.
Now we’re focusing on emerald and other precious stones still in Zambia, we have other business interests in Namibia and we’re also penetrating the DRC market as well.
Q.How did you find your way into the mining business?
The good thing is I travel a lot and I’ve been exposed to a lot of ideas and I have also met successful business people and learnt ideas that I managed to put into practice.
It has not been all rosy though because in the process of making money I’ve also lost a lot of money, but such is business!
Q. You’re so optimistic about the future of Francistown’s business landscape, why is that?
In Francistown the opportunities are so limitless.
The problem is that we have a challenge with leadership.
There is a leadership vacuum and this makes it look like there are no opportunities in Francistown.
Every opportunity that I get travelling the world, I sell my country.
I tell my business associates and any potential investor about Botswana, especially Francistown and they are all appreciative of the potential it has.
I believe there are a lot of Batswana who do the same and the leadership has to create a conducive environment for such people to bring investors into the country.
In as much as I can portray a good image about my country, I also have a duty to protect my business associates from disappointment.
To me Francistown is not just Botswana’s second city.
It is the key transit route for different countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, DRC and many others.
It can be turned into a dry port for goods coming from the likes of Japan, China, Middle-East via Durban.
The opportunities are endless and I can talk all day if we had the time (laughs).
Q. You have such a hectic business schedule, when do you find time for family?
Yeah man, I’m hardly home and I don’t spend as much time with family as I should.
Luckily I have a supportive family.
My wife has a lot of faith in what I do and every opportunity I get to be with family, I make the most of it.
Do you have any political ambition?
It’s something that I have not entertained, but you can never say never.
I get that question from a lot of people but I’ve never really given it much thought.
Q What’s your business philosophy?
I have a self crafted philosophy that I call the ‘Bee and Flower philosophy’.
Plant the flowers and the bees will come.
You create a conducive environment by planting flowers and the bees are the customers and the pollen they carry is the money!
Q. How do you inspire young people that look up to you?
I do a lot of business mentorship and consultancy for free for young and aspiring business people.
The services that they’d normally pay a lot of money for elsewhere I provide for free and my mail inbox is always full with so many young people seeking help and I always find time between my busy schedule to help them.
These are the same people that open certain doors for you in future (chuckles).
Q.How do you overcome the temptation of female admirers who are attracted by your success?
(laughing out loud)…I knew that one would come!
But I’m a very principled man and I stick to what is right.
I’m a married man with family and I would never betray my wife or set a bad example for my kids.
Q. You’ve been around for a while now but you still look like a teenager, how do you keep young?
Nothing special really…I’m a man of sober habits and a staunch Christian.
All this and my occasional visit to the gym helps a lot!
Thank God It’s Friday, what are you up to?
Nothing hectic, I’ll just be home spending some quality time with family.