By Amanda Ellen Nicola Jojo
WHAT makes entrepreneurs exceptional is that they build their businesses from their ground up through a mixture of characteristics and belief. Nyasha Prosper Dowa is a resilient self-made entrepreneur who started at the rock bottom and found a way to propel himself beyond his wildest dream, all through his wit and sheer force of will.
Dowa is at the helm of Safety Driver Training which is a training institution which coaches learner drivers to be licensed and competent drivers.
His entrepreneurial endeavors aligned with his traits, upbringing, life experiences and background.
“I’m an optimist, I believe in myself, I am a pugilist, a risk taker and I always believe I can make a difference wherever I am, if I put my mind to something. And from this background I knew it might not happen right away but it will happen.
“I am the third born in a family of 5. My dad passed on when I was still in form one and that changed me to be a man I am today, since there was no one to look after me. I later moved in with my uncle’s family setup from the one I was used to.
“My uncle was in the army and he was a strict person who demanded the best in everything I did. Back then I would say it was tough but today I thank him as that made me the person I am today,” Dowa said.
Dowa held various leadership positions during his formative years. He did Information and Technology (IT) studies with the University of Zimbabwe.
“I did my networking at the University of Zimbabwe, after my attachment and I finished my course I never practiced it anywhere..
“At the age of 25 I moved away from IT to pursue driver training after failing to make the impact I hoped for. I trained as an assistant driving school instructor in 2010 in 2011 a certified driving school instructor. which led to the formation of Harare Driving School Instructors Association,” he explained.
His entrepreneurship journey started in 2013 when he established Safety Driver Training. He got his first car after the employer he worked for failed to pay his salaries for 4 months. He was asked to pay for the remaining balance of the vehicle he was using as an instructor through rent to buy.
After taking the first leap into entrepreneurship, there were various inevitable curveballs that Dowa faced which were in the form of market penetration, corruption, capital, cash flow and other macro economic challenges.
“Starting a driver training institution where they were already big players and without any reasonable capital was an out of this world decision. I only had one Toyota Vits which I was renting to buy.
“The main challenge I am experiencing like any other business is lack of financial support, corruption and inflation. Our sector is not a well recognised and is considered informal or small therefore sometimes it’s left behind when the government make consultations with the business sector,” he added.
In addition, Dowa acknowledged the importance of social media in the running of his business.
“Social media marketing is the future and I saw that back in 2014 and it has worked wonders for me and my businesses, today Safety Driver Training has a following of around 150k across all social media platforms,” he said.
With the increasing competition in the driving training industry, Dowa admitted that customer acquisition is somehow difficult as such he has managed to position his company in a unique way.
“I know in each and every sector there is always space for someone who is willing to write his or her own book differently, I explore to see what I can do differently.
“To date, Safety Driver Training is the first driver training institution to do online provisional lesson in Zimbabwe in 2016, we are also the first registered driving school to a have mobile application again in 2017 we disabled and relaunched again this year 2022,” he highlighted.
Even though he still feels he has a long way to go, Dowa’s dream is turning his business into a lasting asset, thus he is on a drive to build a legacy.
“I am not yet there not even half way, I want to be in each and every city, I want to leave a legacy, a company that will survive when I’m long gone. I want to take my share from the unemployment basket, I want to change people’s lives for the better,” he said.
KEY TAKEAWAYS ON INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY: The role that comes with me being a man drives and pushes me to work harder, however it’s also important to talk about the struggles and pressures that comes with it. As you can see they has been handful of suicide from the male gender and mostly it’s from these pressures that comes with being a man.
PARTING ADVICE TO ASPIRING AND STARTING UP ENTREPREPRENEURS: The shifting of dynamics in our economy can only challenge a proper entrepreneur to look deeper and see what you can do to change or address the challenge into a money making solution. A serious entrepreneur is not affected by the weather but rather manipulates the weather to suit the people and in the process make money legally.