The Sunday Mail
Zimbabwe has been nurturing entrepreneurs since independence in 1980 and this has led to many new companies, big and small, being established. From such initiatives, the country saw the emergence of entrepreneurs such as Strive Masiyiwa, Dr Nigel Chanakira and the late Douglas Munatsi. Through similar policy interventions, young entrepreneurs are coming up and our Sunday Mail (SM) reporter sat down with Tinashe Blessing Nyaruwanga (TBN), an upcoming entrepreneur who is into digital marketing, to hear about his story in the business environment.
SM: Good day, Tinashe, and thank you for affording us this time to talk to you on the issues surrounding your career as an upcoming businessman and what is driving you to continue going despite the challenges you are facing in the sector.
TBN: Well, let me thank you for this opportunity to discuss business in Zimbabwe as a youth and for giving me the opportunity to spell out the difficulties we face and to motivate other youths.
SM: OK, can you begin by giving us a brief profile about you and your business.
TBN: I am a 36-year-old entrepreneur, who has a Business Studies degree and an MBA from the University of Zimbabwe. I own a company called SocialMe, which is a creative and full service marketing agency.
Our mandate is to help corporates generate qualified sales leads and grow the customer base through storytelling, as well as targeted digital and creative marketing campaigns. At SocialMe, we combine the power of engaging story telling with a laser-sharp targeting strategy to drive the results that build life-long brand relationships between our clients and their customers.
SM: How did you come up with the idea of starting your own business? What really influenced you?
TBN: The idea really came about when I attended a University of MIT and Liquid Telecoms event in Ethiopia.
SM: At SocialMe, how do you work to achieve what you promise clients?
TBN: At SocialMe, we focus on Web Analytics, usability and conversion to dramatically increase revenue a business gets from our carefully crafted and executed digital marketing campaigns. Together with the client, we will create goals unique to their business.
Once goals are established, we will set them up in their web analytics so that they can better measure how well they are meeting their goals. This helps determine what they can do to improve digital marketing campaigns.
We specialise in producing content for all digital platforms with the aim of driving traffic back to your website by placing content elsewhere. We do an online audit of your current content and devise a strategy to create and deliver engaging content via social networks, advertising, blogs and news websites.
SM: So what are the challenges that you are facing and how are you dealing with them?
TBN: The challenges are always there; you face them every day. In fact, life as an entrepreneur is about solving challenges. Once you solve a challenge, another one pops up. The challenges are what makes it exciting as an entrepreneur because they force you to grow.
I am a completely different person to what I was when I started out. The main challenge though is that money is never enough, you need a tonne of working capital as well as other things like building equipment so that you can grow and expand.
SM: As an entrepreneur, did you have an angel investor, mentor or you had to fight it alone?
TBN: I have a co-founder, Albert Nyaruwanga, who is a prolific businessman and has other businesses in other fields, namely, the Diamond Pharmacies and Medical Laboratories.
SM: What achievements have you recorded so far in the industry?
TBN: We have achieved quite a lot, especially in providing value to our clients. Zimnat, one of our clients, won the best Digital and Marketing Campaign of the Year award under the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe for a campaign that we worked on with them. We have done a number of innovative and disruptive marketing campaigns for a lot of our clients.
We were the first in Zimbabwe to do an interactive WhatsApp Drama for Zimnat. Furthermore, we have a number of top organisations in our portfolio.
SM: How is your business contributing towards employment creation?
TBN: We employ quite a number of people and have interns in the company, so I think we are doing our bit to assist the Government in terms of employment creation.
SM: What are your suggestions to the Government with regards to assisting youth enterprises?
TBN: We need more support, in terms of making it easier to start companies in Zimbabwe, provision of loans or rather improving the ease to access capital. The country has a venture capital fund but we need to see it incubating small businesses that have shown promise and have been growing over time.
When I was in Ethiopia, I saw a lot of things they were doing that were good for start-ups in that country, for instance, technology hubs and so on, and that is something that we should strive to do in Zimbabwe as well.
SM: What message do you want to share with the youth and other aspiring young entrepreneurs out there?
TBN: What I can say to those striving is that go for your dream. There is nothing more exciting in life than doing what you enjoy and getting paid for it. If you are already in business, no matter how tough it becomes, don’t give up. Success in business requires staying power.