Here in Zimbabwe, as in much of Africa, education is prized as a way out of the cycle of poverty and exploitation for the younger generation. In our last post, we told the story of Beauty’s determination to earn enough to educate her children. Her son, eight-year-old Paidamoyo, is one of the young graduates from our Early Child Development (ECD) program at the Shingirirai Trust.
In this deprived area of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, Beauty’s business has to deal with above-average elements of surprise and challenge. In a recent business workshop held by the Trust, Beauty shared her top ‘survive and thrive’ tips with fellow women entrepreneurs:
“Know what you want” You need a powerful vision and purpose to pick yourself up after floods wash away the extra room you built on your house to rent out, or all your chickens are stolen while you are away from home. “Educating my children is what I personally live for,” says Beauty.
“Don’t keep money in the house” There’s too much temptation to spend it on household and children’s needs and health emergencies. It’s a common reason for small business failures in poor communities. “I save one or two dollars a day and buy essentials in the first week of the month,” says Beauty. “If I manage to save around $20 in a month, I give it to a trusted friend to keep for me.”
“Belong to a society” In this case, become a member of a savings group. Every three months, Beauty and two women friends each put $50 into a ‘pot’ and take turns spending the $150 on an important purchase. “I bought a petrol generator so that Paida could do his homework in the evenings,” says Beauty.
Create a marketing support gr0up – Beauty sells her bags as part of a mutual support group. Sometimes a member might have her bags confiscated and have to pay a fine as well. Others in the group then rally round, each donating a couple of bags – and their teammate is back in business!
What about you? What are your top tips for business success, and how are they shaped by your environment?
If you’d like to boost the funding available for Beauty and other mums to pay their kids’ way through school, please go to our Appeals Page , (http://www.shingirirai.org) find the ‘Donate’ button on the page, and give whatever you feel would help. And please share your thoughts with us via our Comments!