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in loco fellows 2020 blog series #5: When times get tough I get tougher

My name is Poloko Phalinyane. I am a twenty seven year old Mosotho man born in Rothe, in the outskirts of Maseru. I studied Electrical Installation at the renowned institution of Lerotholi Polytechnic. I enrolled in 2015 and completed in 2018. I am part of the in loco fellowship of 2020 with rise international. What sets me apart from a crowd is my work ethic and desire to produce excellence in everything I do. I am a patient person and I act promptly in every task; giving it all of my time and attention. I am a person filled with laughter and always willing to offer a helping hand.

The most important of all reasons why I applied for the in loco fellowship is the entrepreneurship aspect of it all. I was curious about the business trainings provided in the fellowship – on how they can improve and add value to the informal business I was already running. Although at the time I already had much experience in the built environment through offering services in electrical installation and installing building finishes, I knew that I could learn more. That is what is currently happening in my time at the fellowship.

At this point in the fellowship, 4 months in, I have acquired a lot of skills and lessons that I didn’t have before. In line with the entrepreneurial training, I have learned how to keep documentation of all transactions, budgeting skills, how to improve my negotiation skills, how to position my brand, and how to advertise my business. In construction I have learned about the inception of construction cycles, what tenders are and what they deal with, the preparation of the Bill of quantities, preparation of electrical drawings, technical skills in building foundations, surface bed and a cavity wall.

As a Mosotho man I want to be an example to the community I come from. I want to be an attestation that hard work, discipline and laughter are ingredients of success. I want to build my skills not just to work for an existing company but to run my own enterprise one day. An enterprise built from scratch by a Mosotho man. One that can be successful and uplift the Basotho youth by providing jobs and convenience for communities in the outskirts of Maseru. Owning an electrical store that is situated in the north of Lesotho is the one dream I really want to come true. I want to transition from old ways of making my services available to customers and incorporate digital platforms to keep up with the times because digital media has taken over the world.

Growing up I never had a specific aspiration but I always knew that in everything I choose to do, I shall always give it my all. Lesotho has a high unemployment rate and opportunities are very scarce so it’s no surprise that I want to be a successful entrepreneur, it is one of the major motivations to make money and secure a comfortable future. There is a saying that says the early bird catches the fattest worm and every day when I wake up I work towards catching the fattest worm.

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