Joannes’s journey as a horticulture entrepreneur

Joannes Gwatipedza is an outstanding entrepreneur of Hama Maoko Star Club from Hillview Village One (1), who recently embarked on a lifelong journey of attaining his dreams.

The 34-year-old visionary and energetic man has a big vision of becoming a leading horticultural entrepreneur supplying big urban markets in Mvuma, Gweru and Harare.

Before he was introduced to Hand in Hand Zimbabwe, Joannes was already operating a horticultural garden only as a way of earning a decent living, but had given up his dream of becoming a successful businessman.

“My world was collapsing around me. I had no motivation, no business acumen and skills, no capital to boost my business. This really affected the quality of my crops because I didn’t have enough knowledge in investing and running a successful enterprise,” he said.

Faced with a challenge of fending for his small family comprising his wife, daughter and aged mother, Joannes had thought of giving up on the business to pursue other options.

“I was at my wits end and did not know what else to do. I want to applaud Hand in Hand for coming to my rescue,” he said.

Joannes’ vision was resuscitated after attending a Motivated Entrepreneurial Youth Star Club graduation ceremony in his community project conducted by Hand in Hand Zimbabwe and MASO. He also had the privilege of visiting a successful MEY support Star Club enterprises for Kupfuma Ishungu, Budiriro and New Canaan.

He got the motivation to mobilize other young people into a Star Club and be like other youths that he saw graduating and had enterprises that were doing well with assistance from MEY.

“If I look back I have no regrets that I took this important decision of my life to be part of the MEY project. I thank God for this wonderful opportunity he afforded me,” he said with a contagious smile on his face.

The motivational, health business development trainings that he, and his group, received from the project gave him a new hope, motivation, requisite business knowledge and skills that have made him believe in his dream again.

The young man now produces quality sweet cabbages and leafy and fruit vegetables, which he sales locally within his community, other surrounding villages and even Lalapanzi mining community.

He sells an average of 70 bundles per month with each bundle costing $2. As way of further boosting his business which had water challenges, Joannes used part of his proceeds from the enterprise to dig a well to ensure constant water supplies for his thriving enterprise.

Joannes asserts that each training session he attends is a building block to the growth and expansion of his horticulture business.

“All my life I never knew how to develop a business plan and make budgets for my business. But now I can safely say I am equipped to take my business to another level, thanks to the trainings I received from the MEY project.

The entrepreneur is happy that he cut off unnecessary costs that he used to incur in his enterprise before being trained. Since June 2018 his business has traceable records that he keeps, something which he could not do in the past.

He now boasts of improved marketing skills, which he is using to produce high quality vegetables that are in high demand from clients.

“I now have the confidence to engage with different customers and stakeholders because my products speak for themselves,” he said.

To Joannes, better is not good enough and he inspires himself to scale new heights.