Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Senior Reporter
IN 2018, twins Mr Bekithemba and Mr Bekimpilo Dube decided to leave their jobs and venture into chalk making to cover the gap they had noted while teaching computers in rural areas.
At the time Mr Bekimpilo Dube was at Filabusi High School in Filabusi while his twin was at Bulu High School in Plumtree, both schools in Matabeleland South province.
The twins, though they were teaching at different schools, had a common challenge and that was lack of printing services which saw them struggling to provide visuals for their pupils.
This prompted them to start the business of printing educational materials for pupils thereby easing the burden for teachers and parents who used to travel as far as Bulawayo for such services.
After a while the two brothers decided to diversify to include signwriting for schools and clinics across the province.
When they realised that the business was fast growing, they resigned from teaching to concentrate on their business. The duo later decided to expand their business by venturing into chalk production which has proved to be a very lucrative line of business.
The new venture was yet another big saving for the community and province at large as schools used to get the chalk from Harare.
The twins’ company, Flowing Media, which is based in Filabusi now produces an average of 300 boxes of chalk per day and each box has 100 sticks. Each box is sold for US$0,75.
Flowing Media is one of the exhibitors at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair which ends today in Bulawayo.
The company was selected from hundreds of businesses in Zimbabwe by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Small to Medium Enterprises and Community Development to showcase their products.
“We started Flowing Media with my brother after resigning as computer teachers in 2018. Initially we provided printing services and later diversified into signwriting. We then expanded our company by venturing into chalk production which has seen us supplying the product to retailers from all over the country,” said Bekimpilo.
He said they source the raw materials for chalk production from Harare. “We never thought our company was going to grow this big as we started by doing small printing jobs to generate extra income from a service which was not available,” said Bekimpilo.
He said the thriving business is proof that rural communities can venture into any sector and develop themselves instead of relying on big cities and towns.
“We have eight employees now working with us and we have managed to set up offices in Bulawayo and Gwanda.
We are working on our Plumtree office because my twin who worked there also needs to get these services to the communities he used to work with.”
Bekithemba said the first months in business were tough as they could go for three months having done work for just one client.
“We did signwriting for schools and clinics in Filabusi.
We, however could go for three months having done work for just one client.
The situation changed when we started having jobs coming from across the province because people now knew us. In order to market ourselves, we at times did work for free at some schools or clinics and we ended up getting clients from as far as Harare.
We have done some signwriting for a number of Harare schools,” said Bekithemba.
He said they have also done signwriting for free for district offices in Insiza and some schools.
“We are happy to be at the Trade Fair and we have since interacted with potential clients from all over the country and we are confident this will take our business to another level.
We would like to encourage other youths like us to be determined and work hard to bring change in their communities. Sometimes people ask why we are based in Filabusi instead of Bulawayo, Gwanda or even Plumtree,” said Bekithemba.
He said they have since opened offices in Gwanda and Bulawayo but the company’s Head Office will remain in Filabusi where it was founded.
“To young people, I want to say opportunities are vast, it’s the attitude that matters most. There is no loss in business, whatever happens is actually a learning curve and in business you improve with time.
The path of business is not easy but fascinating though,” said Bekithemba.
Article Source: The Chronicle