After dropping out of school at Grade 3 due to circumstances beyond his control, 38-year-old Tafirenyika Mupandanyama from Zvishavane never thought he would one day own a successful recycling business.
Equipped with just “an idea and passion”, the owner of Kubasa kune basa did not allow his poor educational background to become a barrier to his ambitions as he successfully started an enterprise that specialises in producing shoes, bags, belts, jewellery, and beaded curtains, mainly through recycling of waste material
38-year-old Tafirenyika Mupandanyama
The hardworking man who started his business unexpectedly at the age of 17 makes his products using locally available resources such as waste rubber and plastic, goatskin, bamboo, cattle bone, and plant seeds.
His high-quality products have made it possible for him to secure markets from neighboring towns, resident shops and the local community.
“Each month I sell products worth USD$200 and this has enabled me to take care of my family and pay school fees for my children.
“The proceeds have also assisted me to grow the business,” Tafirenyika said.
The entrepreneur has further expanded his enterprise after clinching a second prize worth USD$2 500 at the Government of Sweden-funded Green enterprize Simuka-Phakama Green Enterprize Innovation Challenge which is under the auspices of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).https://www.greenenterprize.org/enterprises/
On top of the prize money, ILO also partnered with Hand in Hand Zimbabwe (HiHZim) to provide mentorship for Tafirenyika’s enterprise as the organisation is well known for its business training competitiveness.
Though this partnership, Tafirenyika has since acquired a heavy-duty sewing machine and raw material to boost his business’s production capacity.
“The mentorship seminars from Hand in Hand Zimbabwe have been an eye-opener and changed the way we do our business.
“We have learnt how to manage our business through record keeping, how to market, identify business opportunities and to adapt to change,” he said.
Tafirenyika has since employed four people to help him with his business and as his enterprise continues to grow, he is planning to recruit 16 interns who will be trained on how to make the products for a period of 2 years.
Hand in Hand Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Felix Tete, urged Tafirenyika to diversify and grow his business like footwear and fashion accessory company Bata.
“In order to grow your company, you must think big, have policies for your company and open a factory shop in the Central Business District.,” he advised him.
Some of the beautiful products Tafirenyika makes