Agribusiness Entrepreneur 2009
Agatha Ellwood, the 2009 recipient of the Award, is a native of Botswana. She grew up in Gaborone and graduated from the University of Botswana in 1993 with a BA in Economics and Accounting. After graduating she was accepted into a research program at the University in Development Economics, but she decided to turn down the opportunity, wanting to experience “the world out there.” An ambitious self-starter, she began her career with FNB bank, joining the first accelerated management training course offered in Botswana. After four years with FNB, she joined De Beers for one year. When she was offered the opportunity to start the very first micro-lending institute in Botswana, she met the challenge by forming Letshego.
After two years, she decided to set up her own micro-lending business, which merged with Penrich two years later. Agatha stayed on as the director & a board member. At the same time, she decided to give agribusiness a try, focusing on Botswana’s staple food, sorghum.
By her own admission, “[agribusiness] I loved and am still at it.” As the owner of Traders Unlimited, a sorghum milling company, Agatha has championed the fortification of sorghum, promoting the addition of important vitamins and other nutrients to contribute to the health of the consumers.
When asked to describe some of her best attributes, Agatha lists the following:
- Continually looking for self-development and advancement.
- Strong interpersonal skills with great compassion and empathy.
- Very independent and prefer an environment that encourages autonomy.
- Enjoy challenges at all levels.
- React positively to and cope very well with changes positive or otherwise (such as the current “credit crunch”).
When she’s not busy meeting the challenges of the world of agribusiness, she enjoys spending time with family, reading books, gardening, yoga, travel, and pottery.