The power behind the wheels

The power behind the wheels

MASERU – AFTER completing university, Joshua Mosena’s goal was landing a plush office job and for a year he chased that dream with vigour.
He could have sought a job of his dreams but instead he voluntereed to help his father at the family’s driving school a year.
Having given up on his dreams, Mosena settled for a job he disdained – helping his father run a small driving school business.

Today, the University of the Free State (UOFS) Bachelor of Commerce Marketing and Bachelor of Economics graduate is not looking for employment.
He is creating jobs and taking the family’s Bokaota Driving School on a journey of success that he had never dreamt of.
Mosena’s father started Bokaota Driving School in 2004 from their humble home in Ha-Seoli, in the southern outskirts of Maseru, and later moved into the heart of the city.

“I realised for the first time that I did not need a job. I had a job and I could create more jobs,” he told thepost.
“I am now putting into practice all the marketing and economics theories I learnt at the university,” he said.
When he joined the business, the company had a single car, enrolling between 120 and 150 students per year.
“My father gave me a free hand to run the business on my own,” he said.

In 2009 he added another vehicle to the business. A year later they had four vehicles. Today Bokaota Driving School boasts a fleet of five vehicles and enrolls between 450 and 600 students per year. Business is booming as demand for their services rises, although Mosena admits it has not been an easy ride.

In 2015, four top staff members, including the business manager, left the company in a single month.
“It was a setback because we had to start all over again,” Mosena said.
“Not only did we have to rearrange our operating system, find new staff and train them but we also had to find new ways to stay afloat,” he said.
As a result, Bokaota could not afford to accommodate new students as Mosena struggled to juggle the business demands single-handedly.
“I was the instructor. I was the manager. It was too much work for a single person,” he said. “Luckily a few friends volunteered to help me.”
As Mosena was still trying to recover from losing his staff and failing to meet demand, the influx of automatic vehicles on Lesotho’s roads in 2010 added to the woes.

“Competition rose rapidly as people did not want to learn to drive manual cars anymore, they preferred automatic cars,” Mosena said.
Mosena describes this period as “the hardest the company has ever faced”.

“We hit rock bottom. We were even bankrupt at some point but with dedication and innovation we were able to survive the fire,” he said.
The company niched its own target market by appealing to people with an interest in learning to drive utility vehicles (4x4s).
Big haulage trucks are his next target.

“The introduction of 4x4s helped our business to pick up again. We saw an influx of customers, especially those from the highlands because 4x4s are the vehicles mainly used there,” Mosena said.
Demand has spiked so much that the company has constructed a hall to provide accommodation for students coming from the outskirts of Maseru and the highlands.

It is for this reason that Bokaota has managed to give its competitors a run for their money and attracted clients from all over the country, especially from the highlands. Bokaota has also become the go to business for non-governmental organisations and employs English-speaking instructors to cater for foreigners.

“The remaining challenge is finding a female instructor because some men are not comfortable having their wives taught by men,” said Mosena.
But that is a challenge Mosena says the company will deal with “in the short term”.
For him the biggest challenge was abandoning his dreams of an office job.

He encourages the youth to venture into business “but not by default rather for their passion, dedication and determination as there will be numerous challenges along the way that will threaten the existence of business”.
“Young ones should consider taking a gap year after university, volunteer at a couple of places and think critically about what they really want to do because often people end up studying things or starting businesses they are not passionate about,” he said.

Lemohang Rakotsoane

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