WHILE the construction industry has been dominated mostly by big players over the years, small to medium contractors are rapidly sprouting and taking entrepreneurship to greater heights; and such is the story of Marlvin Kubheka (29), Tatenda Masawi (29) and Munyaradzi Masawi that is inspiring and holds some lessons from their failures.
Taking the bull by its horns, the trio established Tanema Contractors, a wholly owned Construction company headquarted in Harare after identifying a gap and need to render comprehensive and modern construction services that reach out to the isolated markets not serviced by the big players.
Establishing the business in 2019 and incorporating it in March 2020, Tenama contractors offer a range of services including brick laying, painting, paving, plumbing, tilling, carpentry and all renovation work.
The company has so far been involved in the massive construction work taking place at Aspindale Park in Kambuzuma where they were able to deliver state of the art housing units. They have also rolled out massive housing units in the low density suburb of Glen Lorne, along with various renovation work and pavings at several social and commercial centers.
“Our operation has seen us penetrating other markets outside Harare. To date we have constructed several housing units in Matabeleland South, Gwanda,” the trio said in a statement.
“We have also undertaken various construction projects in Mashonaland East, Beatrice district and our team of young artisans continue to display exceptional construction skills.
“One of our major thrust is to be able to create employment opportunities for other young people, which we have been able to do. To date we have managed to offer employment to 15 young people who occupy different positions in the company.”
As thou creating employment for fellow youths has just been a tip of an icebag for the ambitious trio, they have also managed to penetrate the markets that were usually dominated by big players, at the same time partnering with other emerging and established companies enabling them to widen their focus with the hope of expanding operations.
“Our journey so far has been amazing. The business model we employ has seen the business grow from a mire construction unit to becoming a fully-fledged company that excels in providing construction solutions in all the sectors of the economy,” the trio added.
THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP JOURNEY
For Tanema Contractors, the true definition of entrepreneurship is about identifying a problem and being able to proffer a sound solution. It also means being able to think differently and employ innovative ideas that drive socio-economic development, and improve the overall quality of life for all Zimbabweans.
Cognisant of the innovation gap in the construction sector and also the increase in competition and consumer expectations, the founding directors of Tanema Contractors thought of creating something completely different from what the market was offering.
The idea was to do more than just building a house for people but to give the customer a professional support so that they are able to build a modern house on budget and on time.
“Our desire was to offer solutions that would make the lives of home seekers easier, therefore emerging as one of the first construction companies that offer a comprehensive cost effective construction package to assist in the designing and managing of a project,” said the directors.
“We realised that it is always a concern when one wants to build a house deciding who to use, and what to use. This is because the construction sector has been hijacked by some unscrupulous artisans who are usually not qualified and lack the skills to deliver standard work.
“The bulk of these artisans can hardly relate to the formalised way of coordinating themselves. They are skeptical about innovation and they still lag behind and rely on old construction concepts that limit their capacity to take up big and modern projects. Therefore Tanema came in to fill that gap.”
The business sought to differentiate itself through its relentless innovative culture to address everyday challenges through offering modern and world class construction services.
To date the business has developed a broad based diversified platform that house young artisans that poses 21st century skills, and have strong project management skills.
The company is typical example of a modern construction hub where artisans are encouraged to think and imagine brilliant ideas that can transform the construction sector in Zimbabwe, proven by their ability to offer innovative solutions to all sectors.
“We also realised that, there is a serious concern raised over the cost associated with construction services,” they added.
“Therefore, as a business we sought to offer a solution by implementing a cost effective business model which will see our clients receive services at a very affordable rate.
“This model has proved to be the most effective to reach out to the isolated markets not serviced by the big players. This has also made the business to unlock not only cash capital but rather finding new markets.”
The strategy has thus seen the business grow from a mire construction unit to becoming a full-fledged company.
FAILURES AND LESSONS
Like any other emerging enterprise, the biggest hurdle for Tanema Contractors was breaking the ground. The company had to compete with seasoned players that hold years of experience with a proven track record of successful delivery.
The company faced a serious competition and on several occasions lost contracts to big companies, but they were never discouraged. They however learnt that, the big companies were only targeting the upper market.
“So we initiated a different business model that saw us targeting the middle and low income earners. This model proved to be the most effective to reach out to the isolated markets not serviced by the big players,” said he trio.
“We also faced a challenge of failing to win customer confidence. We learned that people are skeptical about emerging enterprise and tend to opt for reputable enterprise, as they are reluctant to hire new contractors.
“This is because clients want to see the work you have done in the past in order to gain confidence in your services. So the business failed on several occasions to win contracts because we lacked exposure.”
Another major drawback for Tenama was the pricing system. They encountered several challenges and resistance from the market because their quotations were overpriced.
“We could not get contracts because we failed to price our services well. However after a series of market consultation we were able to overcome the challenge.
“We realised that the business needed exposure and the reference that the clients would offer. Therefore our focus shifted from not only generating income but also making our brand visible.
“So we slightly under charged our services to attract new clients. This strategy has proved to bear remarkable results. There is a strong demand for our services now.”
MEET THE DIRECTORS
Marlvin Kubheka is a 29 year old, vibrant and self-driven individual who is passionate about entrepreneurship. He started his entrepreneurship journey as a network marketing consultant with a global health firm. He is the co-founder of August Print Private Limited a Zimbabwean company that excels in the marketing and distribution of text books, commercial and scholastic stationery.
He is an accomplished author and has written two shona novels which are set to be published in December 2020. He is currently working on his third book which focus on entrepreneurship and investment.
He recently collaborated with a local film production company where he is set to oversee the script and editing department.
Marlvin is holder of a Bachelor of Science of Honours Degree in Sociology from the University of Zimbabwe. He is also a holder of an Executive Programme in Labour Management from the University of Zimbabwe business school. He intend to enroll for a law degree at the University of Zimbabwe in 2021.
He is also passionate about empowering young people. As a social entrepreneur he intend to run an initiative to train young people start their own businesses. He has a sincere desire of empowering people.
He is a 29 year old man who is passionate about construction and is the co-founder of Tanema Contractors. He has been an entrepreneur his whole life. He started his journey as a vegetable vendor. He went on to open a chain of small kiosk in the high density suburb of Mufakose. In 2017 he ventured into construction on a part time basis. He finally made the decision to go into full time construction in 2019. Francis is typical example of a brilliant entrepreneur. He is innovative and has sound business mind. His entrepreneurial insights have helped shape Tanema to become a construction company of choice. He currently stand as MD in the business.
He is a graduate of the Midlands State University Local Governance School. He hope to enroll for a Master in Business Administration next year.
He is a young man who is still in his twenties. He is well knowledgeable about construction and currently supervise the company’s projects. He boast of many years of experience and has been involved in the massive construction work in the low density suburbs of Harare. He started his career as an assistant brick layer under the arms of a prominent Harare contractor until he was as a qualified bricklayer.
He runs a small private school. He also has a passion for helping youths. He hopes to build a big school for his community in Tsunga area, Beatrice.