In October 2019, PW Curriculum Coach Tendai had the opportunity to meet micro-entrepreneurs Itai and Christmas during the Microenterprise Curriculum training sessions. After completing the training in November of that year, the two budding micro-entrepreneurs sought business advisory services from Kashy-Com investment (KCI), a business development service provider owned by Tendai.
From January 2020 to March 2020, Itai was running a shoe retailing business that was growing remarkably. Christmas, who belonged to the same Business Savings Group as Itai, had established an electrical appliance repairs business. The two micro-entrepreneurs were eager to grow their businesses and needed the help of KCI in developing business proposals and building business networks.
COVID-19 Hits Zimbabwe
The month of April 2020 saw the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) effecting a national lockdown throughout the country as a response strategy to the COVID-19 pandemic. This proved to be a nightmare to the two micro-entrepreneurs. Itai and Christmas both experienced a significant slump in their income. In the space of one month, the micro-entrepreneurs who were planning for business expansion and growth were now faced with an imminent closure of business and failure to meet personal and family financial obligations. Business advisory service from KCI recommended that they consider changing businesses and move into essential services sector (food and agriculture, fuel and health) where there was high demand for goods and services during COVID-19.
In mid-May of 2020, Itai and Christmas decided to combine their resources to start a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) retailing business. They started the business with two 48kg gas cylinders in June. Four more cylinders were bought in July resulting in income growth. In August 2020, the income continued on an upward trend. The timely decision to establish a business partnership proved better than either of them could have imagined. During the inaugural Partners Worldwide (PW) initiated business forum meeting in Norton, Zimbabwe, their testimony was a great motivation and inspiration to the 15 businesspeople in attendance.
The reality of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the necessity to adapt business models and strategies. As Itai and Christmas demonstrate, building sustainable business partnerships has proved to be a major game changer for micro-entrepreneurs.