By Amanda-Ellen Jojo
AFTER spending a greater part of his youth in the rural areas, Dr James Makamba who is a businessman, broadcaster and philanthropist honed his business acumen at a very tender age. His relevance in the business arena has been nurtured on his incomparable traits of being full of energy, daring and extremely inquisitive.
Dr Makamba is a successful business magnate, one who has invested in multiple and various successful business lines thus he is a pro-active originator who is on a drive to push for wealth generation through his business interests.
His high-level success and determination have gained him much popularity in Zimbabwe and beyond. Chief amongst his business undertakings, Dr Makamba sits on a board of Telecel Zimbabwe a subsidiary of Telecel International, the first cellular phone company to establish operations on the African continent in 1986.
In an interview with The Entrepreneurial Magazine, the renowned business tycoon imparted weighty nuggets which are in line with his varied operations.
He said: “Over the past decade listening to our customers has been the core of our business at Telecel. Without people we would not have been the successful business we are now. We have managed to grow our subscriber base and maintained the quality of the brand unique.
“This also applies to the businesses I also still [w1] run in retail, entertainment and farming. Like any other business during these Covid-19 times, we have been hit hard with the big challenge of staying innovative and outstanding.”
According to research findings, risk taking in business aligns with the entrepreneurial spirit as such, Dr Makamba pointed out the need to be a risk taker especially when it comes to partaking in diversified business operations.
“One thing I am not scared of is taking risks. Over the years, I have been involved in many businesses. Before diversifying, entrepreneurs need do a SWOT analysis so that they are armed with a solid strategy for prioritizing the work that they need to grow for their business,” he remarked.
SWOT analysis is a framework which was developed by a management consultant called Albert Humphrey back in the 1960s. It is a strategic tool for assessing strengths and weaknesses of a business, analysing opportunities available to the business as well as, threats faced by the business.
“A SWOT analysis is a great way to get see how the business is going to look in future. The analysis is a strategy that helps you make good decisions and grow as a business,” Dr Makamba enlightened.
Correspondingly, Dr Makamba’s extensive business expertise acquired since the pre-colonial era is of great value to generations to come. His perpetual relevance in the business arena according to him has been owed to his zest to sustain continuity.
“I consult with my team whether our goals are clear and we just go for it. I am quite active on my social media platforms; from there I realised just the interaction with the audience I gained good insights, feedback and ideas for future business decisions and ideas,” Dr Makamba remarked.
A decade ago, he was awarded a Doctorate in Business Leadership by St. Linus University and according to him, the doctorate sealed an official stamp of approval on his triumphs.
Commenting on the doctorate achievement Dr Makamba said: “The principles that come with the qualification have shaped a big part of my life as a business man.”
Dr Makamba upholds the notion that, “Education is the oxygen of life,” and he strongly accept as true that education plays a fundamental role in transforming lives.
“A big part of me believes in education because when one is educated they make better decisions in business, society and the country at large.
“I also believe in passing on knowledge, that is why in 2009 I started the Ibbamo Foundation that seeks to nurture young talent in Africa. I believe the foundation will be a pillar of support for young people,” Dr Makamba expressed.
Ibbamo Foundation is registered in South Africa and United Kingdom, the name Ibbamo is an acronym for ‘Inspired by Barak and Michelle Obama.’
Philanthropy has turned out to be a progressively widespread feature in modern business for that reason Dr Makamba is of the view that being actively involved in social responsibility lead to worthwhile results.
“I think community and business are interlocked. The growth of business is determined by how much contribution is given back to the community by the business. Your customers are the community,” he indicated.
In addition, the business mogul had many experiences with philanthropy for instance through the Ibbamo Foundation where they have been able to build libraries and train young learners by equipping them with educational, social, entrepreneurial coupled with leadership skills.
“These experiences made it easy for me to structure my business into a community centered business that has insight into the needs of the community,” he added.
Over the years, Dr Makamba has demonstrated attributes that define him as an astute businessman hence, he revealed that his entrepreneurial activities are pivoted upon honesty, transparency and generosity.
Many academics and government have suggested that entrepreneurship can be a panacea to economic growth and the shifting dynamics in Zimbabwe economic landscape has seen the rise of entrepreneurs.
In the view of that, Dr Makamba urged start-ups to have a sound knowledge of the market and they can achieve that through comprehensive market research.
“They should work on making sure the product or service is different and unique specifically for the Zimbabwean market. In addition to all of this the start-up founder must always have the commitment to see their ideas out,” he said.
Even though he has achieved a lot, Dr Makamba is still determined to accomplish more particularly in line with making sure that he brings in innovations that will have a positive bearing in the future.
“I believe I still have a legacy to build and successfully pass on to the next generation of leaders. All the businesses and organizations I have built depend on future leaders for them to be sustainable,” Dr Makamba stated.