By Staff Writer
It is the desire of every student to study with international accredited universities and Melzara Education, an educational consultant company founded by Stanford Chabayanzara is there to fulfil that.
Stanford Chabayanzara was born and raised in Chakondora Village, in Chihuri, (between Bindura and Mt Darwin). He initially dropped out of school when he was about to start his O Level Exams in 1995. After much pleading from his mother against the decision, he left for Harare. Five years down the line, he was forced to go back to the village to seat for his O level, life hadn’t been rosy for him in Harare as he was working at a farm.
“I resigned and spent the rest of 2000 in the village doing my O’level full time. This was my best decision ever,” said Stanford.
In 2006, he left for Cape Town to visit his uncle. He later settled in South Africa and got a job as a construction assistant, he jumped from job to job until he became a taxi driver. However, the desire to impact his village saw him venture into entrepreneurship.
“Beyond providing for my family and 6 siblings, I assumed the responsibility to come back to my village and help the community that raised me. I knew my salary would not be enough to support my family and make impactful contribution to my village,” said Stanford.
Stanford’s first company was Soko Corporate Care, it partnered with companies to increase staff productivity by offering physo-social services. He later sold that company.
“I then established Melzara Education, which works with educational institutions like UNICAF as its recruitment partner, we assist prospective students with all admission processes including securing them lucrative partial scholarships. Our core business now is to mentor, hand hold and supervise post-graduate students of our regional and international partner universities,” Stanford said.
“We also established Quayside Technical College (operating from Silveira House), it offers courses like motor mechanics, food preparation, motor maintenance, beauty therapy just to mention a few. Recently we established Boundless Wonder, it manufactures cosmetic products and Soko Brewery, which is in brewing beer.”
Just like any other entrepreneur, Stanford also faced some challenges in his venture.
“My challenge has always been creating products or services that speaks to the needs in the market – we had to discontinue other services because they were created based on assumptions not on what the market was starving for,” Stanford said.
“The other hoop I had to pass through was getting the product and service to the starving market, I did not fully comprehend this initially as a result I relied upon word of mouth and referrals. I did not fully grasp that my real job as the founder was to sell the services – the other functions could be outsourced not sales, this impacted negatively on our growth and bottom line.”
Stanford advised young and aspiring entrepreneurs to start now, effectively market the products and services as well as solving real problems.
“You have an idea? Don’t wait for a perfect moment! The perfect moment is now, launch with the limited data you have, and pivot based on the feedback you are getting from the market.
“I want young and aspiring entrepreneurs to understand that the fate of your business lies not just in having the best product or service but in your ability to market your products or services.
“The market does not pay you to have the best products or service. It rewards you for solving problems. A transaction takes places where, in the mind of the consumer, the value of the solution you’re selling outweighs the price you’re asking,” advised Stanford.
This article was first published in the August Issue of The Entrepreneurial Magazine under the headline “Zimbabwean Entrepreneurs breaking the ceiling glass in the diaspora.”