Many entrepreneurs are inspired to start their businesses by seeing a gap in the market or a need in their communities. In the case of Amanda Aminah Masire from Botswana, she started her business, Greenhouse Technologies, in response to the gap between government and local people in the agricultural value chain.
LoA met with the inspirational founder, Amanda Aminah Masire, this month at our Lioness Lean In event in Gaborone to find out more.
What does your company do?
Greenhouse Technologies is a horticulture and dry land farming service center. Our product lines include: GreenHouses, Tunnels (Hydroponics), Shade Net Structures, Reservoirs, Pipes and Fittings, Pumps Filters, Dripline Irrigation, Sprinklers, Fertilizers, Agrochemicals, Seedlings, Lime, Soil Testing & Correction, the TLHABOLOGO 1ACRE KIT, Training and Mentorship.
We provide a focused range of services which include: Turnkey Solutions in horticultural farming, supply of arable farming inputs e.g. seeds, fertilizers, lime etc. Consultation, Training, Implementation, Installation, Design of Irrigation Systems, Supply and Acquaintance of GreenHouses and NetHouses, Business Planning, Farm Management Training, Fertigation Planning, Irrigation Systems, Soil Tests and Analysis, Cropping Plan. We also sell turnkey solutions for integrated farming.
“I studied the Budget Speech and the National Development Plans and I proceeded to unpack the Agricultural Value Chain. In doing so, I found that there too were many gaps, from mechanized farming to manufacturing to processing.”
What inspired you to start your company?
I identified a gap between government grants and citizens realizing that there was a challenge with access. For some reason the uptake was low, and I identified the problem and came up with the solution. I also observed that agriculture is the most resourced sector in the country. I studied the Budget Speech and the National Development Plans and I proceeded to unpack the Agricultural Value Chain. In doing so, I found that there too were many gaps, from mechanized farming to manufacturing to processing etc. I realized that there was a gap for a Facilitator/Consultant and I created a business to fill that gap.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
It is dynamic and has opportunities for integration. It is always unfolding new opportunities. I have a great desire to help people, in particular to correct farming practices for our elders and our youth who are jobless and unaware - making the latest technologies available and accessible to my fellow citizens and development of my country. My heart is in it, and that makes all the difference in Job Creation, Food Security and Economic Growth/GDP. I sell turnkey solutions for integrated farming. I research them by practicing them myself so that I am always on top of issues.
Tell us a little about your team
My team mimics the customer, by having a structure that correlates to the needs of my customer. In this particular instance the Ministry of Agriculture in Botswana. I have an expert for every department and I target government as a customer.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I started off as a secondary school teacher for 10 years; thereafter I branched into Agribusiness. I started initially with a gentleman partner for 6months. However, he left because it was too slow. I am grateful to him because he gave me the confidence to start. Thereafter, I went solo and changed direction from an AGRI SHOP to an AGRI CONSULTANCY.
“I would like to export my tried and tested Greenhouse Technologies Model to the rest of Africa. I am looking for partners/collaborators across Africa, so that we can domesticate it to target their local entrepreneurs.”
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I want to facilitate Botswana Farmers into Processing. I also want to facilitate grading and have a national agency structure i.e. franchise greenhouse. I am also expanding into other sectors beyond Horticulture e.g, small stock, bee keeping, etc. I want to support all aspects of farming. I am also building an agri school in the greenhouse experimental farm, so that I can offer all aspects of agri training, with the greenhouse experimental farm coming in for practical modules.
Given that SADC and Africa, in general, have similar agriculture agendas and challenges, I would like to export my tried and tested Greenhouse Technologies Model to the rest of Africa. I am looking for partners/collaborators across Africa, so that we can domesticate it to target their local entrepreneurs.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
There is nothing that is more fulfilling than being in control of your time. Furthermore, it gives me a chance to pick my priorities. I work hard knowing that I am leaving a heritage and legacy for my children. Had I been employed, there is no way my children could inherit my job when I pass on. I also have an opportunity to schedule holidays at the convenience of my family; I decide on the direction of my business and I pursue it, I am not limited by anything.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Never underestimate your potential. You will never know your potential until you are self-employed. Be flexible and move with the customer; understand their needs and cater for them. In the final analysis, you need the sale. I have also realized that business has milestones, you take care of the business, then it will take care of itself (paying its bills) and then it will take care of you. Be focused, stick to your own field. Don’t run away from your problems, don’t hide them under the carpet, they will grow - ask for help if and when you need it.
Contact or follow Greenhouse Technologies
Why LoA loves it….
In Africa, agribusiness is one of the biggest sectors where women have the opportunity to grow and thrive with the right type of support. To see a pioneering woman agripreneur such as Amanda Aminah Masire building a business that can help so many other people access this sector and contribute to local economic development is inspiring. We applaud the work she is doing in Botswana and look forward to seeing her agribusiness model being rolled out across the continent. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa