Chasing the Paper Trail

| January 8, 2015

Thirty-four-year-old Mr Otsile Simon is so passionate about selling newspapers that today the young man sells even the old ones just so he can eke out a living.

“My paper business dates back to 1998 after finishing my Junior Certificate I started selling newspapers to survive in this pitiless world,” he said.

As an established businessman, today Mr Simon owns Otie Simon Investments, which employs some youth in Francistown, and the company buys local and international newspapers from news outlets for onward selling and distribution.

As he always had surplus newspapers either at his stall or at his home, a new idea was triggered of re-selling old newspapers to those who would want them for various reasons.

“After selling and distributing papers, we usually have some that are left and we pile them, and recently I started to re-sell them even abroad,” said Mr Simon.

Mr Simon stated that before exploring international markets for his old merchandise, he used to sell them to local scrap yard owners who used them for penal beating purposes.

The newspaper man said he also wanted to donate newspapers to teachers and students who wanted them for research purposes, as well as the hospitalised and prisoners for them to keep up-to-date with what is going on in their country and beyond.

“Unfortunately my initiative was turned down you know, I am one of the fanatics and facilitators of Vision 2016’s pillar of ‘an educated and informed nation’ thus I want people to read and be informed,” he added.

His newspaper business has now landed him in Zambia, where paper for wrapping parcels such as groceries is in high demand as plastic bags are scarce.

“Today I pile surplus newspaper at my place in Monarch and also import old newspapers from South Africa and I sell them in bulk to Zambian business people,” he said.

He said although the business of reselling old newspaper is relatively old, it is however new in Botswana since lots of people have not discovered such a golden opportunity.

The young man stated that business owners from as far as Tanzania also import old newspapers and re-sell them to China upon which the Chinese recycle them and create exquisite products such as belts and furniture.

He said he started his business from scratch except for the financial and office space assistance he got from Mr Buti Billy, the current Francistown East Member of Parliament. However, today he sells from small fort given by North Gate Mall owners.

Mr Simon stressed that his paper distribution covers the whole North East region and he plans to expand to places like Maun and Kasane where newspapers usually don’t reach on time.

He has urged the youth to take aantage of government initiatives such as Youth Development Fund (YDF) and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and other opportunities such as Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) Kick-start programme.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: General

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