Feb 22, 2016 BIH News

Correction – Dejected Batswana Inventors Feel More Acceptable In Kenya

Reference is made to the lead story in the Business News section of The Botswana Gazette’s edition of 17th February 2016. The article – under the headline, “Dejected Batswana Inventors Feel More Accepted in Kenya” – claims to lament the disillusionment of some clients of the Botswana Innovation Hub’s technology entrepreneurship development programme, First Steps Venture Centre (FSVC). The article portrays Ditec Mobile, Modisar and World Queues as dejected, frustrated and helpless players in the local technology entrepreneurship space with plans to relocate to Kenya because, “Botswana institutions are hostile and do not support local inventors”.

Botswana Innovation Hub is charged with the responsibility of providing a unique platform that develops advanced science and technology innovation capital and activities to drive the country’s productivity and contribute to its competitiveness. The company was established to create a conducive national innovation ecosystem that contributes to national competitiveness, economic growth and job creation.

It is in light of the foregoing that when startup companies in our technology entrepreneurship development programme feel aggrieved by the injurious headline and misrepresentation carried in The Botswana Gazette, we have to refute the claims and seek redress that protects the brand equity of our clients. Such distortion have the potential to harm the value of brands and undermines the strategic and structural efforts being made to create a conducive policy and operational environment for technology entrepreneurs.

Botswana Innovation Hub would like to set the record straight that:

  1. Neither the managing director of Modisar, Thuto Gaotingwe nor the founder of Ditec Mobile, Thatayaone Dichaba were ever interviewed for the aforementioned article while world Queues managing director, Justice Williams asserts that he was quoted out of context and his comments slanted to suit the predetermined headline.
  1. All three clients reiterate their satisfaction with the overwhelming support and enabling environment for technology entrepreneurship created by FSVC and the headway they have since been able to make in getting government and private sector support to penetrate both the local and regional markets.
  1. Our clients feel aggrieved by the erroneous article which portrays them as dejected, frustrated and hopeless players in the local technology entrepreneurship space, a scenario which has the potential to harm ongoing contract negotiations with both government and the private sector.
  1. The article breaks all tenets of fair, factual and balanced journalism as beyond not being interviewed for the article, Ditec Mobile founder, Thatayaone Dichaba’s image was used to support a storyline that suggests that his company is, “moving to Kenya because the country is more receptive to their ideas than Botswana.”
  1. Dichaba further states that while Ditec has been accorded several opportunities to showcase its products in Kenya, it has not been able to secure any business from the country and that it is in Uganda that Ditec Mobile has been able to secure orders for its handsets.
  1. While every effort was made to seek redress from both the reporter and the newspaper’s editor, neither called back to discuss the matter as earlier promised. Furthermore, while the story states that, “The Botswana Gazette was unable to get the comment of the Botswana Innovation Hub by the time of going to print,” no such request ever reached the company’s Public Relations desk.

In conclusion, it would be remiss to throw out the baby with the bathwater. We cannot allow this mistake to undermine the long partnership we have had with the media in general and The Botswana Gazette in particular. Botswana Innovation Hub will continue to work with the media to give technology startups the critical push they need to compete on the global stage.

The provision of technology advisory services, business and technology support services, strategic partnerships, tenancy and market access support to startup ventures cannot be achieved in a vacuum, the media is a pivotal stakeholder in the development of a robust national innovation ecosystem which contributes to the local competitiveness landscape with scientific, technological and indigenous knowledge-based business opportunities.

We trust that notwithstanding this lapse, we will continue to work closely with the media to give our startup ventures the support and exposure they need to compete on the global stage.

– End –

Tigele Mokobi

PR and Communications Manager