The Sunday Mail
No one would have possibly guessed the young boy they saw walking sometimes bare footed for distances as long as 32 kilometres to and from school, would one day become a chief executive officer, an entrepreneur, a publisher and life coach, grooming young people into becoming their own bosses.
But that is just how life can be. Today, Dr Kudzanai Vere, now the chief executive officer for Transformational Mindset Institute (TMI) as well as Kudfort, which is into retail, business advisory and logistics, recalls how life was not a bed of roses, but kept pushing for the stars.
Coming from a family of 10 children, hardwork is one of the life lessons he learnt at an early age, when he and his siblings would wake up early to water the garden before walking to school in rural Nyanga, in Magaya Village. This also taught him to be determined to change his life narrative, family and community.
His late father also played a critical role in moulding hard-working, courageous children and inculcating values centred on love among the siblings and looking out for each other.
“My late father didn’t tolerate bad behaviour and attitude and every one was forced to be upright in character. We could wake up as early as 4am to water the orchard before going to school. The orchard became a source of fruits for the whole village.
“When we were not on our field, we would be working at other people’s fields in exchange for those homemade tyre sandals (manyatera) which we used as school shoes,” he said.
This is when he learnt it was his responsibility to change his situation and that zeal and determination saw Dr Vere become the best O-Level student at Mapako High School in 1999.
And indeed life started to change for him as he had to fund himself and siblings’ studies from earnings he made as a receiving and costing clerk at Red Star Wholesalers in Nyanga, where he was later promoted to the position of branch manager, becoming the first youngest branch manager in 2004.
He continued with his studies to obtain among other qualifications — Doctor of Philosophy in Entrepreneurship, Master of Arts in Leadership and Management, Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Diploma in Accounting.
He is also a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Forensic Accountant, Certified Entrepreneurship & Business Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach and Certified Coach Mentor.
But the changing dynamics in the Zimbabwean economic landscape has seen small to medium enterprises and the informal sector rising to the occasion, making significant contributions to the economy.
However, many upcoming entrepreneurs lack the requisite knowledge in running their own businesses which is where the institute — TMI — becomes handy.
“TMI is an institution found mainly to challenge the conformity ideology, which is rampant in most tertiary institutions whereby even after graduating with an entrepreneurship degree, you see one joining an employment queue.
At TMI we equip people with practical business skills to start, run and be able to sustain their own businesses. Our flagship programme, the Certified Practical Business Manager programme has transformed many small and medium enterprises and corporates alike,” he said.
TMI has since 2017 hosted 12 entrepreneurship conversations with current and prospective entrepreneurs attending the expert led conversations where renowned entrepreneurs and speakers have presented to over 5 000 locals and international delegates.
Among those hosted by the institute include Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu and international delegates from United Kingdom, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.
Despite all these qualifications and organisations to his name, Dr Vere is not stopping. His passion for entrepreneurship led to the founding of the Institute of Entrepreneurs Zimbabwe which is yet to be launched.
Dr Vere said this comes as there has been a huge entrepreneurial gap between the generations of the likes of Dr Strive Masiyiwa, Dr Divine Ndhlukula and Mr Philip Mataranyika and the current generation, although there are youthful entrepreneurs emerging such as Takwana Tyaranini of Senditoo.
“This institute is going to bring a revolution in the entrepreneurship sector in Zimbabwe. It will enroll right from primary school, secondary to university as well as current and prospective entrepreneurs.
“The thrust is to get the Zimbabwean economy back on its strong economic wheels. We have everything we need as a country resource wise, but we lack serious, innovative and progressive entrepreneurs who go beyond the copy and paste type of business,” he said.
Apart from his passion for entrepreneurship, Dr Vere is a publisher with four books to his name and these are “Becoming a person of impact: The Six Pack Approach”; “Exceed Beyond the Ordinary: A Step by Step on How to Become a High Voltage Entrepreneur” and “Soul Food” volumes one and two.
His writings are mainly inspired by personal experiences and admonished Zimbabweans to adopt a culture of reading and writing in order to tell the Zimbabwean story as opposed to being authored by foreigners who may be biased.
“Reading opens mental faculties to new horizons. Albert Einstein once said, “the significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness that created them.”
So we need to continuously acquire new information through reading in order to move from our current positions to desired states.
“On the issue of writing, I think everyone has a story to tell and it’s sad that we seem busy to even write our own stories,” he said, adding through his works and passion, he should become a force to reckon with in the entrepreneurship and business terrain within the next five to 10 years influencing Zimbabweans into entrepreneurship.