High School Dropout From Zimbabwe Builds Botswana’s Biggest Ad Agency
Knight Ganje was a high school dropout but you’d never know that today, as he now runs a multi-million dollar business which is Botswana’s biggest ad agency.
The 29-year-old Zimbabwe-born Ganje founded the Botswana-based ad agency, H&G Advertising Group, which counts among it clients Unilever, Emirates, Coca-Cola, and Samsung.
H&G Advertising operates in Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The firm earns $38 million annually.
At age 18, Ganje knew he wanted to be a businessman. When a friend invited him to visit Botswana he persuaded his mother to let him go. Once there he started taking odd jobs such as painting to survive until a local entrepreneur decided to mentor him.
Ganje became a serial entrepreneur. He has also founded H&G OutDoor, H&G Activations, Zonke Ignition, and H&G Express.
Ganje spoke to AFKInsider about the global plans he has in mind for his fast-growing ad agency.
AFKInsider: Why did you create H&G Advertising Group?
Knight Ganje: It was my passion and when I moved to Botswana I identified that the market needed more players.
AFKInsider: Please tell us what H&G Advertising Group does?
Knight Ganje: We are the only agency in Africa that offers what we call “the impact of one.” H&G Advertising owns a group of agencies: H&G advertising does media buying and strategy; H&G Activations does brand launches, in-store activations; H&G OutDoor owns billboard sites across Africa, professional branding Africa; and Pro Brand is our business that supplies brand promotional materials such as banners T-shirts, caps banners, gifts, etc.
AFKInsider: You are from Zimbabwe but the business is based in Botswana. Why did you decide to open the business there and not in Zimbabwe?
Knight Ganje: The business was started in Botswana because that is the country which gave me the best opportunity to run my own business. We have an office in Zimbabwe but our head office will remain Botswana.
AFKInsider: How have you attracted such clients as Unilever, Emirates, Coca-Cola, and Samsung?
Knight Ganje: We have managed to gain more names more on reference from our other clients and the good work we did, and what also important for our clients in our reach in Africa – we are currently in 18 countries.
AFKInsider: You also operate in a number of other countries. What were some challenges in expanding to other countries?
Knight Ganje: The challenges are many – currency; connectivity of these markets by air, internet; finding good talent to work for us.
AFKInsider: What are some challenges of having a business in Botswana?
Knight Ganje: Air traveling; you cannot fly to many countries from Botswana without having to go to Johannesburg first.
AFKInsider: What are the advantages of having a company in Botswana?
Knight Ganje: The country supports the private sector. The government invests in the education system and the government invests in the economy. I also see that the government engages with and takes action to help entrepreneurs.
AFKInsider: What’s next for H&G Advertising Group?
Knight Ganje: We aim to dominate the continent of Africa. We currently are number one in terms of money spent with broadcasters outside South Africa. Now, we want to be a global agency and in a few years, we plan to have an office in London.
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