ContinuitySA logoContinuitySA Botswana is celebrating 10 years of success in Botswana. “It’s a great source of pride to us that we created the market for business continuity management in Botswana, and continue to dominate the market,” says Jacob Mothupi, MD of ContinuitySA Botswana. “In so doing, we have opened up opportunities for other companies in the same sector but, more importantly, we are helping to build the economy of Botswana by giving local corporates a reliable and world-class way to manage risk.”

ContinuitySA was initially encouraged to establish its recovery data centre in Gaborone when it was approached by the local Barclays Bank operation, for which Mr Mothupi then worked. With Barclays as an anchor tenant, ContinuitySA realised it had an opportunity to expand into one of the region’s most stable and promising economies.

Two years later, Jacob was persuaded to take over the small ContinuitySA operation with a mandate to help realise its potential. At that stage, he recalls, the company only had three employees, two of whom—Jimama Giddie, Client Services Administrator, and Tshireletso Moumakwa, Facilities Support—are still members of the team.

“It really was an operation focused on delivery; to grow the business, we needed a sales focus, and that was what I set out to provide,” Mr Mothupi says. “My first goal was to educate the Botswana market about business continuity management, and why it is so important.”

As an African speaking to Africans, Mr Mothupi used storytelling to great effect. Via first the print media and then radio, he argued that business continuity planning was as old as humanity—farmers and herders alike have always put surpluses aside for unforeseen lean times, and planned how to deal with drought, flood or war.

“Business continuity management is all about formalising that process for the corporate world, putting repeatable, constantly improving processes in place to prepare for any eventuality and build organisational resilience,” he says.

Once people had begun to accept the logic of what he was saying, he expanded his efforts by building relationships with the educational community and professional organisations. In addition, the opportunity to speak alongside the Institute of Directors in South Africa’s Mervyn King helped position business continuity as integral to corporate governance.

Milestones of progress have been the growth in the company’s client base, with other major banks taking advantage of ContinuitySA’s services, followed by major mining houses. Mr Mothupi sees the latter as particularly significant given the importance of minerals to the economy. The client list has grown to an impressive 12 blue-chip clients, while the staff complement has doubled. To achieve this growth, the office had to come up with solutions to the challenges of erratic power and water supply, as well as the economic crisis of 2008, whose effects continue to be felt.

What of the future? Mr Mothupi says that he is optimistic because boards have bought into the concept of corporate governance, and are driving the need to adopt risk management initiatives.

“I am also spearheading efforts to get an appropriate legislative framework in place for Botswana,” he concludes. “Companies above a certain size should have a programme to recover and protect their data. That’s our core business.”