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Setlhogile takes charge at The Bulb World

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Leads Botswana operations as Country Manager

Company CEO Jacob focuses on SADC  expansion

South Africa market to give access to 7000 shops

The Bulb World targets Ghana

BAKANG TIRO

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The Selebi-Phikwe based innovative bulbs manufacturing company The Bulb World has appointed Ogaufile Setlhogile as the Country Manager taking charge of the Botswana business operations.

Setlhogile’s appointment as the senior executive leader locally comes after The Bulb World Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ketshephaone Jacob chose to dedicate more of his time to regional expansion operations.

In an exclusive interview, Setlhogile said her role is to keep the ship sailing in the right direction through ensuring that the business vision and strategy in place are all aligned for sustainability.

“It’s also crucial that our vision is understood and owned by the team, which is something I am very excited about as having worked with this team over the years, there is nothing more they strive and continuously push for like this company’s success. It is also a principle for me to listen to those aroundme and ensure that we keep our innovative and forever evolving way of doing business open because with new ideas comes new opportunities and that is something I consider very key to this role,” she said.

The youthful Setlhogile’s responsibility as the Country Manager means that she is in charge of running the business operations end-to- end in Botswana while the CEO is focusing on the key expansion across the Southern African region.

Setlhogile is optimistic that she will deliver in her new mandate.

“Having been fortunate enough to have been here when the business was founded and having worked with our CEO, I have a full appreciation of the business’s aspirations and even the vision that our leadership has for the growth of the business. I have the business’s best interests at heart,” she said; buttressing her commitment to grow with the business.

She genuinely trusts that anything done with dedication, steadfastness, and commitment is bound for success.

“We, as a team will continue to be fearless in driving the aspirations of this brand, ensuring that whatever goals set out are achieved and better yet surpassed. We’ve always been an innovative and passionate team and we plan to carry on with the same spirits. I bring continuity of our idea generation, work spirit, culture that I believe can only lead us to endless success in the long run,” she said.

CEO leads SADC

The company’s CEO Ketshephaone Jacob will be leading business operations at the SADC level.

“The role I’m now playing is Africa CEO. In the next two years we are focused on penetrating SADC while our five year plan is to have presence in all of Africa. This will entail setting up shop in Ghana and having the distribution centres in at least five African countries that will each have a Country Manager coordinating its operations,” said Jacob.

Oozing with confidence, Jacob explained that their brand made a shift last year from being known as “Lesedi la Botswana ke leo” to our newest positioning which is “Rooted in Africa”.

“This was a much-needed change to position ourselves as a Pan-African brand that makes quality products for all of Africa. Moving to SA has given us access to a bigger population and a larger number of stores. SA alone will give us access to over 7000 stores and it is an influential market that will give us access to SADC,” he said.

He said progress so far is quite pleasing, in terms of listings and also the stock moving from shelves of the few stores.

“We anticipate this to pick up as people start to see more of the brand. We remain hopeful that we will get funding soon, because the speed of our expansion independent on it. But for now we are working with the little we have, and making terrible sacrifices to make sure we penetrate the SA market that we believe will unlock more doors for us,” said the youthful CEO.

Setlhogile’s choice

On Setlhogile’s appointment, Jacob admitted that it was an easy decision that was made in the best interest of the company as she is actually one of the founding employees of the company.

“It’s actually a move that enhances our long-term vision and aspirations to becoming the ‘lighting brand of choice’. Our strategic outlook for the year is all about growth and hence we named it ‘Kgolo’. This expansion is going to give the company a boost because we have a world class product and we believe it has the ability to compete in other markets,” buttressed Jacob.

Setlhogile is grateful and aware of what pressure she faces now.

“So our Management decided that it was now the right time for our CEO to hand over the day-to-day operations of Botswana and focus on founding the next part of our business which is the distribution outlet in South Africa which will service all of SADC. While his physical presence will be missed, his strategic input, advisory and availability for top line tasks will still be at our disposal. We’re extremely thankful to Mr. Jacob who has led us for three years and know he will do a sterling job in South Africa as he’s done here,” said the upbeat Setlhogile.

Setlhogile said part of her role is to really look after all stakeholders to ensure all their needs are met and take the business to the next level which is very important.

According to her, growth is an integral part of any business model and as part of our business strategy named ‘Kgolo’, turning around the numbers will be the key component of my journey.

“More than anything I’m grateful and humbled. Firstly I’m grateful to God our Creator for his grace over my life and my career, in my three years here I believe I have done well. I’m also really humbled that our Management entrusted me with such an esteemed position, at my young age, it’s a giant leap of faith in me as a person and professional. All in all, I’m pleased to be taking on this new role. I’m fully aware that I have very big shoes to fill following Jacob’s strides, but I can confidently say I’m ready,” she said.

COVID-19 pandemic

With COVID-19 and all the uncertainty it has brought, Setlhogile believes every leader at the moment should be focusing on their most important stakeholder – their team and keeping their morale high.

She is a firm believer that employees satisfaction plays a crucial part in making sure that the business runs like a well-oiled machine, saying she will create an environment for the team to be happy.

It’s a ripple chain effect because a happier team produces more, more production satisfies retailers who supply the end consumer faster so now everyone in the value chain stands to benefit and is happy.

Amidst the pandemic, she also appreciates that this a hard time for everyone, financially and otherwise.

“But it is also a time for us to pull together and support each other, I hope COVID-19 has taught us that we need to support home-grown businesses so that they can stay afloat and keep more jobs .The silver lining in the cloud for us was that COVID-19 pandemic has taught us we need to keep growing. It’s taught us to stand up for ourselves and become self-reliant which is why we will continue to push to new markets, even amidst the crisis,” she added.

Business know-how

Setlhogile is an Energy Engineer g from the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) with certification from the SOLTRAIN programme aimed at Solar Thermal Systems for Experts & Professionals; Certificate in Customer Service.

“I have always had a knack for trying out in business. At the beginning of my career, I also co-founded a company Enviroscope to develop a female led energy enterprise, which has managed to garner funding towards its business ventures and continues to grow in its own respect. In that same instance, I also co-founded Women in Energy Botswana which is a Trust that continues to work towards promoting women in the male dominated energy field through project development, policy revision, advocacy and awareness,” she said, adding that she is passionate about innovation.

Setlhogile joined The Bulb World in 2018, as the Technical Sales Manager, quickly climbing the ranks to becoming the Operations Manager.

“Our two year vision for Botswana is to have completely taken over as the lighting brand of choice in households and businesses. Currently, we are moving from strength to strength and this could not have been possible without the great team we have and without the people of Botswana buying our products every day in stores, rea ba leboga go menagane!,” said Setlhogile.

Jacob said with him and Setlhogile leading in different markets, they will achieve greatness.

According to him, he is still very much a part of everything that happens in Botswana, “as the Country Manager reports to me, only that I am now leading the SADC expansion, based in South Africa”.

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