By Amanda Ellen Nicola Jojo
FOR Kerita Tawana Choga, entrepreneurship was a fortunate flash of a lifelong dream that finally came true. Through her two establishments Tuma Kerri and Tawana beauty, Kerita is breaking new ground to existing markets. She also doubles as a skin enthusiast and a medical lab technician.
“I have always had the entrepreneurial gene in me l guess. My father says when l was in grade 1 he gave me a $1 and l bought a pack of maputi which l took to church for resell.
“When l was in grade 4 l was punished for selling sweets in class the embarrassment considering my mum was a teacher at the school. As l grew older l always had something l am selling shoes, clothes etc. l think Tuma Kerri and Tawana beauty l have found something stable and fulfilling,” Kerita recalled.
Grounded on the values of honesty, hard work, self-love, care, empathy as well as kindness, Kerita is the first born of four, she comes from a humble background as she was educated in the dusty townships and the mission schools of rural Zimbabwe.
Due to the hectic pace of today’s busy lives, Tuma Kerri is an errand services company that serves several people who want to deliver goods or get other chores done. The company is hinged on efficient service delivery and maximizing customer satisfaction.
“l wanted something that could keep my mind off a heartbreak so I started Tuma Kerri. It’s something l am really passionate about.
“Something l enjoyed doing, something that would make me money at the same time an impact. I guess l started something l was supposed to start the journey has been phenomenal, from being recognized by Meta as a business that thrived during COVID19, to winning a prestigious ZNCC award. It’s been God since day one.
“l looked at my fuel saver car , my Facebook followership the next thing l was on. I only paid $20 for a flier Tuma Kerri was founded.
Because Tuma Kerri was established during COVID-19 she said: “I wouldn’t say it was much of a risk being a medical lab technician l had already been on the war front of the pandemic. I was not really scared to be out there .l knew it was the right type of service the people needed.”
Instead, in 2021 Kerita was featured in Meta‘s first Changemakers campaign which honours innovative people in Southern Africa. This is because she established a business initiative that helped communities during the global COVID-19 pandemic
“To me Meta has been nothing but a blessing. The award l got from them last year was the spring board on my entrepreneurial journey
“l owe my little success to Facebook, a lot has been said about me being opinionated and talkative on groups. Guess what l have never paid anyone a single cent to promote my pages.
“The 7 000 followers on both my pages is due to people knowing the person behind the business. I have been paid way before l do an errand the clients say we know your social media footprints there is no way you can run away with our money,” she stated.
By virtue of being a skin enthusiast, Kerita founded Tawana Beauty a brand that enhances and encourages confidences by providing magic solutions to skin care
“Tawana beauty is actually a hobby l turned into business. l love everything to do with my skin and l invest heavily into that. I realized many women and men too were asking about my facial routine. That is when l ventured into reselling some of the products,” she said.
For Kerita her success in entrepreneurship is attributed to her strong work ethic which she owes to her demanding job as a lab technician.
“Being a lab technician has shaped my work ethic in the medical sector we have over time, night shifts that has made me a hardworker moreover making judgement calls, which is something l do every day in order to save lives.”
In addition, she values her Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply qualification as it has shaped her sense of doing business.
“CIPS has moulded my business sense l think the corporate way. I now understand the supply chain and its loopholes. I am very good at making contracts and negotiations with suppliers on behalf of clients,” she pointed out.
While running a business offers a ton of potential upside, entrepreneurship comes with a host of challenges.
Commenting on that she said: “Operating a business in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) environment like ours is not easy. The economic atmosphere is tough, you need to go gangster when you want to do something in Zimbabwe.
“Being a woman there is a lot of judgement people don’t have confidence that l can drive alone to Masvingo and back. Some think the business is just for a season it will soon be history. The other challenge is in Zimbabwe people tend to copy and paste businesses . You have to be work hard to build a brand to be outstanding,”she lamented.
In October, Kerita bagged a Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (Small to Medium Enterprises category) award.
“Hardwork, consistency, honesty and passion has taken me far. The award gave me confidence for once in my life l felt like “Kerri you can do it” no more hesitation we going full throttle.
“My dreams are big they scare me a lot they wake me up in the middle of the night to pray. I hope to own the biggest logistics company in the country owned by a woman.
“I hope to create employment for hundreds of man and women. I hope to be the Oprah Winfrey of Errands, the Lebron James of Skincare,” she expressed.