Monthly Archives

February 2015

Rosemary Gwata, Managing Director, DUZZIT CLOTHIERS t/a Toserudo ( together love )

By | Information, News

I planned to retire from my job in London. UK at the end of 2012 and wondered what I would do back home after 12 years of a hectic life in UK, where one only rest when you go to bed around midnight. I knew I would not manage a complete retirement; I would get lonely, depressed and miserable. My husband and sisters were encouraging me to take an early retirement and I asked what I would do since they were all still working. I explained that each time I came on holiday I got lonely and bored staying home alone.

Then in July 2012 Toserudo Clothing Manufacturing Company was founded by three Directors. We did a brief intensive market research for three weeks visiting schools in Harare and Marondera and asking pertinent questions about school uniforms, we also observed that the uniforms were of different shades and some of the fabric was of poor quality because the garments were faded.

We showed the schools our samples of better quality fabric, which was affordable and consistent in colour and shade. We started with a few schools in Marondera and supplied an outlet, which has contracts to supply uniforms to a number of schools. This outlet started with small orders but we remained consistent in our quality, reliability and worked in a professional manner valuing our customers and listening to their concerns. Now they give us most of their orders. We use different communication channels and our products are delivered at the customer’s door. We have developed a partnership with all our customers and the community. We participate in school activities, give donations, pay fees, do charity work such as cleaning campaigns. The company is expanding and we now supply protective wear, corporate wear and have capacity to supply customers locally and regionally.

The PROWEB Business Training Programme has taught me to focus on my vision, be passionate in my business, plan weekly and review, know my competitor and learn to be smarter in business. The most important thing I have learnt is to know my customer’s needs and not what I perceive the customer wants. As a result of the training and knowing your customers’ needs we have opened an outlet at the Long Chain Plaza along Bulawayo road. We are stocking school wear, protective wear and vocational wear

Charlotte Chigwedere , Galore Managing director

By | News, Testimonials

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I started my business in 1995 in Gweru after my husband‘s transfer to run a branch in Gweru so I lost my job in Harare.Gweru being a small town it was difficult for me to find a job. I had a domestic sewing machine so I decided to start sewing. I started with placemats, tea cosies, oven gloves etc out of printed fabric. I then went for an embroidery course then diversified into embroidery on plain white and cream fabric which made my products very unique because everyone in the home deco industry used prints.

My business became very popular and I could not cope on my own, so I trained my housemaid’s son who had just finished school to help with sewing and he was very quick to learn.At this stage, we needed to increase the number of sewing machines, employees to help with the growing business. I got finance from UDC limited to buy two industrial machines and one domestic over locker and employed 20 girls to help with crotchet work and embroidery in the making of African lace that go on table cloth.

I became so popular that I exhibited at all country fairs in the country, also exhibited at our local international trade fair. I had customers who could buy my wares for export, as I did not have the knowledge to export, they would take the products out themselves implying that I would get less value for my products. Out of my products I managed to buy two cars for cash and still able to run my business.
We came back to Harare as a family and business went down because of the economic crisis, I then downscaled production. Even though I did well in the business I did not have knowledge and skills on the following: structures, marketing strategy, costing, pricing and customer care. In addition to that I had no systems in place to be competitive on the Harare market which had many players and could not developa business plan for potential investors and for sourcing funds. The training component that sank into my heart was the one on planning because I believe lack of planning is a recipe for failure in a business.

I thank PROWEB and Branson Centre for selecting me to attend the Business Women’s Training Programme in Entrepreneurship skills held at Bronte Hotel on from the 20-24th of October 2014.The training equipped me with the following skills that I did not have to compete on the market: record keeping, pricing strategy development, understanding the customer, marketing strategy development, Understanding the key competitors, Goal setting, having a vision for one’s business, networking, business plan development and ultimately placing the customer at the centre of the business. I also lacked Accounting and Finance skills so the basics that I was taught helped me appreciate the basics of Accounting and Finance.

With the above training skills and knowledge imparted on me, my vision is to explore the regional and international markets and be highly competitive on the local market as well.

Charlotte Chigwedere, Patches Galore, Harare.

Business Women’s Mentoring Programme

By | News

PROWEB launched the second phase of the Business Women’s Training and Mentoring Programme in Entrepreneurship Skills. This focused on the Mentorship Training Programme which was delivered by Lindsey Crouch, Mentoring Programme Manager, Virgin Unite UK. 60 entrepreneurs drawn from the Southern and Northern region of Zimbabwe underwent the Mentoring Training which was conducted in Harare and Bulawayo respectively.

Over 30 seasoned professional and business women were selected to be mentors for the programme and also underwent a Mentor Training Session.

Why mentoring?

PROWEB realised that there is a growing interest in the value of business mentoring and a commitment to build networks of experienced entrepreneurs to support the next generation. The need for mentoring amongst entrepreneurs is encapsulated by terms such as ‘lonely at the top’ and ‘people running their own businesses can’t see the wood for the trees’ These relate to the isolation of an entrepreneur’s position and their need to step back and reflect. These individuals benefit from the empathy and insight of a mentor who has been in a similar position themselves. The drivers relate to emotional and personal, as well as the business aspect of support. Furthermore, mentoring approaches are particularly relevant and appropriate as sources of support for entrepreneurs. The experience of having a well-respected expert working directly in and with the business, helping tackle both business and personal issues is seen as being invaluable.

PROWEB recognizes that there are many successful business women out there, who are willing to mentor and support fellow women in business. PROWEB has matched the 60 entrepreneurs with seasoned and successful business women drawn from the different sectors of the economy. A cocktail was hosted for Mentors and Mentees to meet for the first time and network.

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Margaret Sibanda, Managing Director Merrion Lodges

By | Testimonials

Merrion Lodge accorded me an opportunity to have experience as an entrepreneur and have an insight of the realities that business people face in running establishments. It is said, ‘Unless a man takes more than he can, he can never achieve all that he can.’ This quote is true in relation to the Business Women’s Training and Mentorship Programme in Entrepreneurship Skills I attended recently.

The business was established in 1996 focusing on placements, and has since grown and diversified it in 2002 into Merrion Caterers. The business started with only six rooms and then expanded into 15 rooms within a period of four years. I am now strategically focused on adding more rooms and even establishing a first class hotel. The business is owned and managed by professionals who are recognized for their capability and success in various business ventures, but the programme has increased the magnitude of our understanding in successfully running the business.

Merrion Lodges provides the following services as its courtesy to its clientele; – Concierge services, Parking, Medical (First Aid), Taxi services, Security for on-site parking, Laundry and 24 hour room service.
Merrion Lodges comprises of an establishment of eight employees and two senior managers. For administration, supervision and duty allocation, the Human Resources Manager will deploy personnel according to their caliber and capacity.

At the moment, my business is striving to expand in order to carter for the overwhelming accommodation demands and to be abreast with the constantly changing requirements of today’s market. Merrion Lodges meets any needs which may arise by offering specialized upmarket and customized services for local and international clients.
Business Women’s Training Appreciation.

After attending the Business Women’s Training and Mentorship Programme in Entrepreneurship Skills, I learnt valuable concepts on how to sustain our business and manage change. We are living in a world of change and have a customer driven economy, where there is need of aligning the business with the environment. We have added to our growth model resources to capacitate our strategic goals, periodic goals, special goals and routine goals to become market leaders.

Using the PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environment) concept which generally affects most businesses in one way or the other, I have had my eyes opened during the training, on its effects in our operations. Such information has enabled me to set up a strategic business transformation to counter negative effects of PESTLE.

Since the training, I also learnt how to tolerate, communicate, appreciate and accommodate our customers. I do not regret attending trainings with Branson Centre for Entrepreneurs because all things that I learnt are necessary and applicable to my organization. I realized that in the hotel industry there is need for marketing, business planning, setting of targets, communication, business finance, sales promotions and advertising, since they are very relevant to be applied daily. It is such a marvelous experience, seeing theory becoming reality and as students we appreciate the well thought lecture.

Before, my business used to be a social thing, money was being kept in a handbag and would be requested for various purchases and payment of bills without any record, but now it is a reformed business, all the money now finds its way to the bank. As for payments, they are now done through the bank and we will have a record for income and expenditure which assists us in ascertaining the flow of cash in the business.

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PROWEB Point of Connection with Letty Chiwara

By | News

PROWEB, as part of its objectives to celebrate women who have made it within the society and use them to inspire and motivate other women, hosted the PROWEB Point of Connection Forum with Letty Chiwara ,UN Women Representative to Ethiopia on the 16th of January 2015 to discuss “Women’s Progress in Economic Empowerment, Opportunities and Lessons therein Zimbabwe”

Letty is a member of a number of Africa based Networks including, among others, the Africa Gender and Development Evaluators Network (AGDEN), the Regional Gender Steering and Implementation Committee established by UNDP-Regional Bureau for Africa, the UNDP Policy Network and also Co-Chair with the UNFPA Regional Director for Africa the Regional.

Letty’s presentation highlighted the following;
•The importance of integrating women in the mainstream economy, in terms of providing support, business training and connecting them to markets and investors.
•Promoting women to participate in the value chain production and wealth creation ventures
•Changing attitudes and mindset of women to be proactive rather than reactive
•To avail available information on sector opportunities, board appointments, loans and investments, conference and seminars where women can benefit from.

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Business Women’s Breakfast Dialogue

By | News

PROWEB hosted Rosanne Gray Operations Director of Virgin Unite UK to a women’s Business Breakfast Dialogue, on the 13th of January 2015, at Sango Conference Centre. Also presenting was Emilia Chisango who heads KPMG Zimbabwe Internal Audit, Risk and Compliance Services. The dialogue focused on ‘Building Sustainable Businesses for the 21th Century’

The following pointers were highlighted;

• Incorporates principles of sustainability into the business operations
• Needs assessment of customers and products tailored made to meet the needs
• Putting systems and structures in place, observe good governance , accountability and transparency
• Issue of committement, play an active role , research, network and dream big

Presenters Profiles

Rosanne Gray, COO Virgin Unite
Virgin Unite is the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, which connects great people with entrepreneurial ideas to reinvent how we live and work in the world. Unite incubates new approaches to leadership such as the Carbon War Room, supports entrepreneurs around the world, and works to drive business as a force for good.

Prior to Unite, Rosanne was founder and CEO of CottonConnect, a pioneering business creating more sustainable cotton supply chains. Rosanne started up international operations in India and China growing the company to be working with over 400,000 farmers and their families. Rosanne started her career at Shell, building her business acumen in marketing and sales roles in Africa and Europe before joining the Shell Foundation, where she brought development ventures to scale.

Emilia Chisango
A Partner at KPMG. Emilia heads KPMG Zimbabwe’s Internal Audit, Risk and Compliance Services (IARCS) department. Key among her services is risk assessment, governance advisory, forensic advisory and business environment landscaping for organisations. Emilia is renowned for her solid business acumen. At 36 in 2009, Emilia made history by becoming ICAZ’s first female and youngest president in its 90 year old history then. She had already made history at KPMG where she again became the youngest partner ever to be admitted at the firm’s then 52 year old existence in Zimbabwe. Emilia is passionate about creating an environment that affords a level playing field for girls and women’s education and development. Emilia is also a PROWEB Trustee and Executive Committee Member.