|Forum Home > General Discussion > FEEDBACK ON THE SOCIAL INNOVATORS ONE DAY MUTARE CHALLENGE CARRIED OUT ON 15/10/2014|
Location: City of Mutare
Duration of challenge: 8am- 4pm
Financial resources: $20
Task: Entrepreneurship Challenge - multiply $20 note
Team comprised of:
Miss Sarah Jaravaza - Farmer
Miss Dororthy Pasipanodya - Lawyer
Miss Nyasha Mulambo - Development Practitioner
Paruware Trust promotes social entrepreneurship, social innovation and creativity through capacity building and business incubation . Since 2013, Paruware Trust has held a Social Innovators Fellowship program which brings together persons from different environments that are actively making a difference in their communities. This year, we were honoured to be selected for the yearlong Fellowship program. From the 13th to the 17th of October, a part of our fellowship program was held in Bvumba and for many of us; it was our first time in Manicaland.
One of our challenges during the week long outing was that which introduced us to you. Our task was to engage in an entrepreneurial challenge which would make us some money. As seed capital, each of two teams received $20 and was given 8 hours.
Our team comprised of Sarah, Nyasha and Dorothy. As one can imagine, the idea of looking for work in a new town and asking for a pay check after just a few hours at first proved a daunting task for us. Before that week, we had only met briefly during the selection process and this was the most time we had spent together at the time. Thankfully, we quickly got to know each other and our characters, though very different gelled together for the challenge.
Our original plan was to simultaneously carry out a cake and chip sale at a primary school in Sakubva. We bought lakker nax chips at Cairns for $4.99 and proceeded to Sakubva. However, after our visit there, we realised that the market for chips was saturated and that the children would only be allowed to buy food at lunch time. As such, we decided to move from Sakubva, back into town.
In town, we found that one cake costs between $13 and $14 in Spar and TM and with our meagre start-up capital, we voted to drop the idea of selling cakes.
From our brief visit to Sakubva, we learned that planning is key to the success of any business. The market needs to be identified and studied before any action is taken. We found ourselves with a product that many more seasoned persons were selling and this could have been avoided if we had undertaken a market survey.
We also learned that it is important to keep the business/project goal in sight so as to assess progress. Constant evaluation and adjustment is necessary if the team is to succeed. We found ourselves continuously motivating each other and making suggestions on how best to meet our goal.
ERNEST AND YOUNG:
Our second plan was to offer our labour to any local businesses and organisations for an unspecified amount as we would let our customers determine the price of work done. Such labour included cleaning windows, dirty plates and office space, filing, making tea for staff and land-scaping.
Our first stop was at Ernest and Young. Unfortunately, the staff there did not have any work for us to do. However, two of the employees invested $6 into our business. We were hesitant to accept charity as charity was not our goal; we wanted to use our entrepreneurship skills. However, we accepted the generous gift as one of our angel investors mentioned that he was investing in the business and he wanted us to buy more products to sell at a profit. At this point, we had managed to recover our capital.
The generosity and advice we received at Ernst and Young made us change our pitch. We resolved that we would make it clear to all our ‘clients’ that we did not want hand-outs or charity; but we wanted to work for remuneration. Investment in the business was, however welcome and in return, we got to network. We resolved at this point that we would give feedback to all our ‘investors’ on our excursion in Mutare.
Our second stop was at MFS Mutare. Here we first met a lady at the hardware section and she referred us to the main offices where we met with the finance manager. Despite a lot of negotiating on our part and on the finance manager’s part, we were told that there was no work to do. This was despite the fact that we knew that there were sacks of cement that needed carrying and labour was being outsourced for this task. The foreman was adamant that the work was for ‘men’ to do and he constantly asked us if we were serious.
The finance manager was kind enough to refer us to Henning Lock law firm in town.
Appearance is key when looking for work. Our team was dressed in denim and skirts where overalls would have been better. If we had looked the part, perhaps the foreman would have allowed us to participate in some of the manual activities.
We approached our third office and first law firm of the day where we met with the only senior lawyer available. Unfortunately, the Managing Partner who could approve our request for work was not in. However, our contact at Henning Lock however offered us words of encouragement and support and she referred us to ZLHR which is situated in the same building.
ZIMBABWE LAWYERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS:
At ZLHR, we met with another lawyer who was also very supportive of our endeavour. Unfortunately, ZLHR too was unable to give us some work to do. However, she advised us to try approaching big firms and organisations and she referred to Tanganda (the tea manufacturers) and advised us to see the Chief Accountant. Furthermore, the ZLHR driver was so kind as to drop us off at the Tanganda factory thus saving us time and money. He also gave us a mini introduction to Mutare and he offered us suggestions on where to go and where to steer clear of. Funny enough, Sakubva was one of the areas to steer clear of but thankfully, we had not faced any incidents on our brief visit there.
From our visit to these two firms, we learned that people see the best in others and it is the human spirit to want to help. Marketing and business has taught us of the benefit of networking and we certainly experienced the benefits of networking but above all, we experienced humanity through all the kindness and support shown.
At Tanganda, the Chief Accountant kindly advised us on Tanganda’s employment policies. Unfortunately, we did not meet the requirements as the company conducts medicals on its employees and because we were looking to start work in the middle of the day while work starts in the morning.
The Chief Accountant however bought six packets of chips from us at $10. We wanted to sell the whole packet of chips to her but she insisted on taking only a few so that we could sell the rest and make more of a profit. We were very grateful for her investment in the business.
After this we took a lift back to town with the hope of continuing to market ourselves as a reliable labour force. At this point we were tired but very eager to continue with the challenge.
Just before lunch, we approached our sixth organisation – a law firm. We met with another lawyer, and he too was very supportive. Unfortunately, the firm was unable to give us work due to ethical reasons.
After lunch we approached another law firm on our way to Tandiri Law Chambers but we were unable to meet with any of the staff as they were all out of the office.
TANDIRI LAW CHAMBERS:
Our last formal stop was at Tandiri Law Chambers where we met with the lawyer in charge. We had a good chat with him and he supported us by buying some of our chips.
HAWKING AT THE MARKET/ PAMUSIKA:
As time was running out we decided to go to a near-by bus terminus to sell the remaining packets of lakker nax. We sold our product at R1 for 2 packets using the logic of subsidies. We had already turned a profit and could thus afford to sell our products at a reduced price to the market. We managed to sell all of our packets of chips.
OVERALL LESSONS LEARNED:
• Networking is important
• Market research is key
• Planning is very important
• Teamwork is also essential
• Never be afraid to ask for advice or help
We managed to raise $18 profit on the day and this was quite a significant amount. After the event, we had an interesting debate on the gains of the exercise. Our group views are attached in the document accompanying this report. However, as a team, we realised that as entrepreneurs, ambition is key to success. If one activity does not yield the required results, evaluate and adjust your actions. There is no such thing as losing. You learn from all interactions and activities. In summary, you need to use both your head and your heart to meet your objective which must always be clear.
We also managed to meet and network with many great individuals both in the market place and in the offices. There certainly still is the spirit of humanity flowing in our country.