By Amanda Ellen Nicola Jojo
FOR Hillary Mushamuviri, the inborn entrepreneurial spirit empowered him from being a dreamer to becoming a doer, he combined his innate feeling of curiosity, business interests and acumen to establish an online financial technology company called Wanamari. The Entrepreneurial Magazine Editor Amanda Jojo (AJ) had an interview with Hillary Mushamuviri (HM) who proffered his valuable insights in line with his entrepreneurial journey.
Here is what he had to say:
AJ: Tell us about yourself. When did you first discover your entrepreneurial and how is your entrepreneurial career developing so far?
HM: My name is Hilary Mushamuviri, Founder and CEO of Wanamari. I am the first born of Mr and Mrs Kutama. I did my primary school at Holy Rosary and Thornicroft Park Primary. I also did my high school at Terrence Cecil Hard High and Churchill Boys High School. I then went to College at Bindura University of Science Education, were I studied Bachelor of Commerce (Honrs) Degree in Financial Intelligence. I discovered that I had the entrepreneurial spirit when I was form 4, when I started buying computer parts and building a desktop computer and selling them. However I had started selling things from a young age, around 10 years old. I learnt how to sell vegetables and freezits. I still remember vividly when I bought my first clothes with the profits I had made from selling freezits. It has been quite a journey and I am loving every step of it. For the past few years I have experienced tremendous growth as an individual contributing to the success our business. The pace is quite amazing as I take every day as an opportunity to do big things. I am not called to do small things, so I utilize every day to fulfil my purpose.
AJ: What has been the biggest success and failure stories you went through?
HM: My biggest success thus far and I think even in the future will remain being able to discover my purpose in life and who I am. It’s a pity that many don’t know who they are, and are not aware of what they are supposed to be doing in life. God created each one of us to be successful because of the specific purpose that each and every one of us has. I don’t believe in failing, I believe that we learn as we undertake a certain task. For me, my first business, Modern Learning Solutions which is operating to this day. One of the major mistakes I did was to do business with friends and not having proper agreements.
AJ: How did you come up with the idea for Wanamari? In detail, what are the services that you are offering?
HM:I came up with the idea of Wanamari, together with my wife beautiful wife in 2017. I always thought I could help start-up businesses with capital. I had gone through dark time of looking for capital since I started my first businesses. There was no success to my pursuit, so now that I knew how to raise capital, I wanted to take the burden for some entrepreneurs who were having a tough time in raising capital. My passion was in helping entrepreneurs and individuals either raise capital or invest within their means. I love the game of growing money, it’s a hobby for me. At Wanamari we offer funding, investing and savings products through the concept of crowdfunding.
AJ: How do you raise your funds?
HM: We raise our money through the crowd using crowdfunding. So we are creating a community of investors through this concept
AJ: Who is eligible to benefit from your services? What criteria do you use to select the start-ups who need funding?
HM: Any start-up that has been operating for one year is eligible to apply for funding. What we look at mostly is the team behind the start-up, the traction thus far and financial history and projections. Anyone can also become part of our investor community through our investment and savings products which starts from a minimum of USD10 or equivalent.
AJ: You have bought 7 start-ups with shareholding of above 60%. What does this mean for Wanamari and the start-ups in question?
HM: The stake that we have bought in 7 start-ups is a way to preserve and grow the shareholder value. These start-ups always have first preference in getting capital for growth and expansion.
AJ: How has been the reception of Wanamari by key stakeholders?
HM: It has been amazing especially the investor community and start-ups. We trust the regulatory authorities Security exchange commission in particular, that they will form the regulations directly linked to crowdfunding.
AJ: What are your growth plans for the near future?
HM: Our growth is simple, we want to become a digital bank that pays people for keeping their money not charge them. This is what we are working on, on daily basis
AJ: Looking back, what did you learn and what would you have done differently?
HM: One of the things I learnt in this journey is to trust in God who knows your purpose more than you. Every step I have taken I have tried to let God take the lead. Most of the products I pioneered were a direct guidance from God. The other thing I have learnt is to have an urgency to learn every time. I am always hungry for more knowledge. I wish I had learnt the concept of Other People’s Money (OPM). Using other people’s money in doing projects.
AJ: In your own opinion, what are the hurdles that keep people away from starting an entrepreneurial career?HM: Most people are afraid that it will not work and what will people say if I fail. The other issue is believing that I need capital to start which is not true.