Turning the volume up on Zimbabwe’s best business ideas

Turning the volume up on Zimbabwe’s
best business ideas

Radio programme promotes training on green entrepreneurship

Green enterPRIZE, supported by funding from the Government of Sweden, partnered with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) Power FM Radio Station to present the Generate Your Green Business Idea radio training programme. It streamed live for six consecutive weeks between November and December 2020, prompting 219 aspiring entrepreneurs to start developing their business ideas.

This radio training programme was designed to empower citizens and businesses, especially women and young people, to drive the creation of green and decent jobs. The podcasts are now available online, so you can listen at your own pace.

In six sessions, you will come up with or build on a business idea to advance Zimbabwe in the green economy. You will also complete activities, quizzes, and tasks to organize your self-guided learning journey.

SESSION 1: What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?

Objective: Understand the basic elements of successful entrepreneurship

We heard from Elizabeth Nyamunda, founder of Tamba Washables. She told the story of her business idea, which was inspired by her experience of making sanitary pads out of bed sheets during high school. Her reusable sanitary pads and diapers are an eco-friendly solution that help households to save money while protecting the environment. 

  • You are what you are through the support that you receive,” Elizabeth said. As a stay at home mom, she relied on her support network as she chased her dream and entered the Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge.
  • A green business leads to profitability in a sustainable way, which does not harm the environment,” said Tafadzwa Chirinda, National Project Coordinator.

SESSION 2: Are you ready to become an entrepreneur?

Objective: Test your readiness to start your own business

We met Kudakwashe Dhliwayo, a young entrepreneur from Bulawayo. Her business, Vital Recycling, offers sustainable waste solutions tailored to different companies’ specific needs. She works to solve the problem of plastic waste, which she witnessed firsthand while working at a pharmaceutical company.

Another young entrepreneur, Praise Manyonga, explained how he created his own renewable energy business, SuS Energetica.

  • We made a survey and divided our clients by sector to find out what services they really needed,” Kudakwashe said. That’s where she got the idea to transform her business into a consultancy service, positioned to solve individual problems.
  • Transforming our business into a green business increased productivity and lowered operational costs,” Praise said.
  • Taking work experience as a foundation to start your own business, that’s one of the best ways to go,” said Tafadzwa Chirinda, National Project Coordinator.

SESSION 3: How can you identify your market?

Objective: Explore untapped markets for your sustainable business idea

We spoke with Ryan Katayi, founder of Farmhut. His business directly connects farmers and potential buyers through an online subscription platform, eliminating the need for farmers to travel long distances. His business saves time and money for farmers, buyers, and consumers, while simultaneously reducing their collective carbon footprint. It also decongests traditional agriculture and food markets, promoting COVID-19 social distancing measures.

We also welcomed Fidelis Mashonga of Mash Energy Africa, a solar energy company that uses sustainable and green practices.

  • Our product is the produce that the farmers are selling, and also the data that reflects where the buyers are,” Ryan said.
  • Our business fulfills the need for energy, the need for electricity in rural areas. Most families are using firewood, and this is not sustainable for the environment,” Fidelis said.
  • A good business will survive because it responds to the detected needs, and it provides solutions that customers are willing to pay for,” said Tafadzwa Chirinda, National Project Coordinator.

SESSION 4: How can you create your business idea list?

Objective: Recognize a problem in your community and come up with creative solutions

Luke Makarichi of GreenTEC Energy discussed the importance of passion in entrepreneurship. You should care about your business idea on a personal level, so you can better advocate for it and push through difficult times. He also suggests surrounding yourself with a team of motivated, competent people with versatile skill sets.

  • It must be something that you’re really passionate about, because you’re going to meet a lot of challenges along the way,” Luke said.
  • You can derive a business idea from your own experience or from the experience of others,” said Tafadzwa Chirinda, National Project Coordinator.

SESSION 5: Which business idea is best for you?

Objective: Assess your shortlisted options and think about which one you want to pursue

We talked to Vengai Kurunzirwa, a Masvingo-based entrepreneur who runs CompTech World. He walks us through his thought process in the early days of entrepreneurship, when he asked himself questions like: What problem am I going to solve? How am I going to add value to the customer experience? How am I going to compete?

  • Don’t give up! We [people with disability] need to be registered, need to be directors of certain companies, need to make sure we know the proper way of doing business,” said Vengai.
  • Will this be the only business of its type in your area? If not, what makes you different from other people who are doing the same thing?” said Tafadzwa Chirinda, National Project Coordinator.

SESSION 6: Your best business idea

Objective: Complete a field study and a SWOT analysis to select your final business idea, and then prepare a business plan

We spoke with Tariro Bhiza, owner of Brown Mint. Her agribusiness company helps farmers plan their schedules, buy seedlings, chemicals, and fertilizers, and access markets. She always had the idea of entrepreneurship in the back of her mind, and found strong support from her family when she was starting out.

Plus, Virginia Sibanda, co-founder of VIRL Financial Services Zimbabwe, shared tips on how entrepreneurs can overcome fundraising challenges.

  • You need to realize your place and your purpose in life, that thing that you’re so inspired to do. Find the right counsel, get information, and consider ideas that are sustainable,” said Tariro.
  • Access to finance for enterprises is very dependent on the stage of the business,” said Virginia.
  • If you do not feel that you are ready at this point to start a business, try to clarify what causes your doubt. What are you unsure about?” said Tafadzwa Chirinda, National Project Coordinator.

Tell us about your green business idea and your journey so far in the comments!

January 21, 2021