The better the question
How can one person’s experience help a new generation of entrepreneurs succeed?
Many entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe do not have the knowledge or help to sustain their small businesses.
In Zimbabwe, growing a small business is an uphill battle. Entrepreneurial mentorship is not prevalent in the country, and many Zimbabweans open businesses without the proper knowledge to run a successful business. With no access to resources or management skills to overcome basic challenges, many small businesses fail within the first few months. Those that survive often have trouble accelerating their growth, and tend to stagnate unless they are able to secure resources or foreign currency from angel investors or banks.
Faith Moyo experienced this firsthand when she opened up a successful coffee shop with her father. She believed her business had potential; but, like most Zimbabweans, Faith and her father lacked the business acumen or financial management skills to manage its growth. When the shop closed two years later, Faith wondered what could have been if there was a professional service organization to help her and her father through their growth.
The better the answer
EY Business Accelerator is a program that develops professional mindsets and skill sets.
Now working in the EY member firm office in Zimbabwe, she’s determined to help her country’s entrepreneurs access the kind of professional support she and her father needed. She helped launch the EY Business Accelerator program in 2017 and currently acts as the project manager. This year-long program leverages the wide EY network of knowledge and resources to impart entrepreneurs with the mindset and skills to grow their businesses sustainably.
With the help of some of her EY colleagues, Faith selected 25 growing businesses to participate in free sessions that connect them with strategists, advisors, marketers and role models from the local community to understand where their businesses are, where they want them to go, and what challenges are stopping them from getting there. The sessions challenge the business owners to think outside the box and find innovative solutions to stand out in the market, rather than passively wait for funding.
The better the world works
Businesses with an impact
Faith’s work with entrepreneurs helps businesses and communities flourish.
Although the program’s first year isn’t even complete, Faith has already seen the impact on participants. Two companies opened branches in Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi to proactively create their own pipeline of foreign resources.
By supporting entrepreneurs to improve their resilience, productivity and capacity, Faith is also helping make an impact on the communities these entrepreneurs serve. Through the program’s innovative technology session, a manufacturing entrepreneur that produces corn snacks was able to construct an automated plant using some of the knowledge gained from the session to increase production, and improve efficiencies and costs. The entrepreneur has helped create 400 direct and indirect jobs for people in the community. Additionally, instead of importing raw materials to manufacture the corn snacks, the entrepreneur sources the products locally by buying from local community farmers. Through this sustainable work, the entrepreneur has also been selected as an EY World Entrepreneur of the Year in Southern Africa finalist.
While these steps are encouraging, Faith is just beginning her mission in Zimbabwe. She is facilitating a relationship between an EY member firm and a large telecommunications group in Zimbabwe to join forces for a youth empowerment program. Together, they will mentor and train 200 small start-ups to help them achieve the type of success that can make them future participants in the Business Accelerator program.
Faith and her team also spend their free time speaking to entrepreneurs about financial management at various speaking engagements. To date, they’ve reached more than 800 people.
Through Faith’s work, Zimbabwe’s next generation of entrepreneurs isn’t left to figure out how to drive sustainable growth on their own. They have a passionate, dedicated and experienced resource willing to help them every step of the way.