Resounding and substantial strides in the world of entrepreneurship: Chipo Mataka

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By Amanda Ellen Nicola Jojo

NEVER has the adage “Creativitity is the mother of invention” has been truer than in the world entrepreneurship.  This the story of Chipo Amanda Mataka a budding entrepreneur who is thinking outside the box and larger than life ideas.

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Her back story

Chipo Amanda Mataka is an Electronic Engineering enthusiast, graduated in 2021 from the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) with an Upper Second Class and awarded the HIT book prize for the best graduating student in technopreneurship. She is a social entrepreneur, Founder of Craftastics Zimbabwe, a handicrafts business centered on waste management.

Chipo is a STEM volunteer has worked with various organisations such as Purple Future Trust and Africa Asia Foundation for Youth, to drive and apply STEM for community development.

She is currently volunteering with Oleans Waste Management Services as a Technical Assistant. Out of all variety of values she exhibits, her core values are devotion (to the Supreme Being – God), honesty, creativity and innovation.

Her entrepreneurial journey and experience

We all start from somewhere before we find the ultimate business venture that set us apart on the right path to success.

Her eagerness to learn acted as a magnetic force that pulled her into entrepreneurship.

She said: “Covid-19 birthed my business. I grew up being good at academics but l did not have any co curricula activities which l was good at, but l had the wish to be good at something else besides academics.

“This set my default living mode to learner  I am ready to learn whenever there is an opportunity for me to learn something constructive. Kudos to Boldness Mashayamombe through her Busy Hands Initiative where she equips young women with practical hands-on knowledge so that they stay busy and productive.

“I learnt the skill of crafting rugs and mats from her during the first lock down that transpired in Zimbabwe from March 2020. I was able to continue polishing up the skill because finally l had something that l was good at besides academics.”

Chipo is eco-minded as such she started a line of business that is committed to contribute to the green economy.

She pointed out that: “The love for my environment drove me into business. If you solve a community problem, getting something in return is inevitable. I grew up in high density suburbs of Harare (Glen View and Kuwadzana) and there are contemporary issues in high density suburbs include poor waste management.

“Residents blame the responsible authorities for inadequate or no waste collection services. In turn, the responsible authorities blame the higher authorities for lack of resources.

“I decided l cannot be part of the blame game, rather l chose to be part of a solution. We all know how poor waste management affects us, reeking unhealthy atmosphere, filthy streets, hygiene related diseases and blockage of sewer and drainage systems by non-bio degradable waste such as plastic and fabric.

“With my ability and capacity I decided to make my handicrafts environmentally friendly by focusing on fabric waste management. That’s how Craftastics Zimbabwe was started.”

Scope of services of her entrepreneurial venture

Fantastic crafts = Craftastics Zimbabwe

A handicrafts business centered on waste management, founded in 2020 and formally registered in 2022 as a Private Business Corporation.

“We craft rugs and mats from fabric waste. We custom make our products, giving our customers the power to decorate their space as they wish.

“Our products are environmentally friendly, with raw materials sourced at a low cost thus making them relatively cheap and affordable than those existing in the market, we produce stylish high grade artifacts with low downstream environmental carbon footprint,” she explained.

Of enhancing programs and capacity building

Chipo is an alumni of theFemBioBiz Season 4 Zimbabwe, this is a programme that seeks to develop leadership, technological and business skills in female-owned bio-businesses in the SADC region, to support deal-making and business acceleration in the biosciences arena and create a peer to peer network among the local female bio-entrepreneurs.

It targets women in the biosciences sector and empowers them through a series of training boot camps on various business aspects for example financial modelling, pitching, marketing and human resources management. Finalists receive seed funding for boosting their businesses.

Encompassing the Fourth Industrial Revolution(4IR) tools into a business is a key takeaway from the FemBioBiz.

Commenting on how she intends to put into practice the 4IR she said: “I would like to incorporate the 4IR techniques by research and development of innovative solutions to increase our work production rate, reduce labour to our craftsmanship and generate an automated platform to engage with our customers.

“Other key takeaways from the program were to know your target customers, it does not necessarily have to be a large market, but you have to understand who you are making the product/service for, and know their needs, perspectives and perceptions so that you deliver products or services they love not what you love to deliver.”

She is also part of the DoDigi Entrepreneurship program sponsored and supported by Dream Factory Foundation, Meeticks and Google.

Some of the key pointers of the program include, effectively communicating a unique selling point to both customers and investors through good story telling.

She said: “Every business has to have a competitive advantage over others to thrive in the highly populated business world so that it is set apart from the existing market. This has shaped my business in developing our products bearing in mind how each step in our process contributes to the final look and feel of the product.

“So much that when there is an error or undesirable feature, we redo and start over till we produce a top notch fine artifact. This is in a quest to satisfy customers as per their specifications whilst delivering our standards of unique style and grade.”

Demystifying the myths around entrepreneurship

Venturing into business or entrepreneurship has a lot of myths Chipo threw light on some of the narratives that have the potential to scare away women intending to start an enterprise.

Myth 1: To start a business you need large amounts of capital.

She said: “My point of view through personal experience – I started my crafts business with $2, 05 I bought a scissors for $1, 2 ply twine for $1, medium sized needle for $0.05 total amount about $2,05. The first time, a relative supported the business with free raw materials which was a 50kg fabric waste.

“My point is start a business you need to utilize the little dollars you have now and build from there.”

Myth 2: You need to be a crook (corrupt) in entrepreneurship to be successful.

She clarified that: “I would say, entrepreneurship has legal and compliance issues and they do not hinder your success rather they reinforce your brand for growth and success. Be watchful of who inspires you, do not compromise your principles.”

Myth 3: To start a business you need a customers

“I hear people say l don’t have customers so how can l start my business, who will buy from me

“I would say, your network are your customers. Start from there. Your colleagues, your friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighborhood etc we all have people around us,” she said.

Role model: Boldness Mashayamombe is my role model. She is a doer not just a dreamer and l would like to model myself and my business journey that way. Dreaming and doing.

Parting advice: “To all the young people, pursue your purpose passionately, do not pressure yourself into chasing money for quick riches. Solve problems in your community, money follows problem solvers. Solve a problem and money will follow.

“We all need money, the mystery of money is not to focus on it, but rather focus on solving problems for the people but make sure you are profiting from it. It’s a money mystery.

“The same way when someone is looking for a job, they don’t tell the hiring manager that they need money to earn a living, rather they say they need a job but the truth is they need money through a job. So in entrepreneurship or business you get the money through a solving a problem. I call it a money mystery.”

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