Supporting Women in Business: Pauline, Tokafala Recipient

Forevermark, as part of the De Beers Group, supports Tokafala, an enterprise development programme in Botswana.

Forevermark passionately believes in supporting economic development in the countries where our diamonds are sourced through investment in local skills and capacity building. In the Setswana language, the word ‘Tokafala’ means ‘to improve’.

Launched in January 2014, the programme has already supported more than 260 businesses. It assists small-to-medium-sized enterprises through tailored mentoring and business management training.

The programme has been a success story: to date, businesses Tofalaka has supported have shown an average 39% growth in revenues and employ more than 2,000 people. Some 45% of these are owned, or co-owned, by women.

Pauline Phologolo, owner and manager of clothing business Group Pee, is one of the women who has experienced the difference Tokafala’s help can make. Pauline started her business in Gaborone, Botswana in 2011, manufacturing business wear, protective clothing and school uniforms. Soon after, she expanded into printing services as well.

But with a young son at home, Pauline was having trouble meeting the twin demands of her professional and family life. So in November 2014, she enrolled in Tokafala.

Tokafala gave Pauline the additional skills she needed to take her business to the next level. It taught her how to identify solid growth opportunities, build relationships with her customers, manage her credit and keep records. Three years later, Pauline employs at least eight people, a number which can increase at peak times of the year.

With Tokafala’s support, Pauline developed her business skills and achieved greater balance between her professional and personal life. Today, she has detailed and robust plans for future expansion.

“Tokafala has instilled in me a feeling of confidence that I can really do this,” Pauline says. “It has helped me to translate my academic training into everyday practice, and has equipped me with the tools I need to run my business successfully.”

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