By Amanda Ellen Nicola Jojo
When passion meets hardwork success is guaranteed
Building a business that stemmed from passion and hardwork has helped Trevor Muzungu in various ways. His passion, inspired his vision of establishing AQUADOC.
Muzungu is a hardworking, passionate and hands on Water systems engineer who established AQUADOC in 2021. Before becoming a young entrepreneur, Muzungu worked for Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) in Bulawayo as a Quality Control Assistant from 2017-2019. In February 2019 end of year to 2021 worked for PEPSI Co-Zimbabwe as a Quality Control Engineer/Inspector. He is a qualified Chemical and processing engineer from National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Zimbabwe.
Because he has worked on various notable projects, Muzungu has been on a meteoric rise. In 2019 one of his projects made headlines at the prestigious Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF). In a bid to necessitate value addition in lithium, Muzungu and team developed a pilot plant to process petite ore to lithium carbonate. The project became the project of the year
The birth of AQUADOC
We live in an age of disruption as such it is imperative for entrepreneurs to seize emerging opportunities in order for them to thrive. Muzungu started his entrepreneurial venture through capitalizing on the opportunities presented to him.
He said: “There was a year when I was in high school, and I was admitted at a local hospital due to a running stomach which was a result of drinking dam water. That experience pushed me to start working on water treatment projects as a student at NUST.
“During my tenure at ZPC, the department I worked in was using carbon ash from coal to remove hard elements and heavy metals before disposal of water. This opportunity shed more light on water treatment.
“When I joined PEPSI Co-Zimbabwe, I was motivated to start my own water treatment plant for packaging because the equipment was so modern, and I then told myself one day I will have my own huge plant.”
Together with his co-business partner Oliver, they embarked on a mission to be part of providing clean, affordable and sustainable water for domestic and industrial purposes.
“From our research we then realized that we can surely provide our fellow citizens with water quality solutions. We started providing solutions to people who cannot afford to drill a borehole but still want quality water. We used modern nanotechnology nonchemical water treatment solutions.
“Seeing these water quality problems and solving them without fear and doubt gave me the courage to start AQUADOC. The name came from one of our clients who commented that “Surely you are a water doctor,’” he said.
Sailing through uncertainty
The road to establishing AQUADOC was a battle for Muzungu as he experienced a fair share of doubts and challenges.
“The doubts were there as we started taking the risk of trying to offer solutions to water problems but encouragement from family and friends made me strong. One of my pillars of strength is my wife Vimbai who is also a shareholder of AQUADOC.
“She doesn’t allow me to fail and she in believes me. Apart from being motivated and encouraged, I possess a fierce character of being a risk taker make sure I do everything I can to make sure I have victory in the battlefield. Prayer and fasting has also helped me a lot to conquer my fears and doubts because I have built my foundation on GOD,” he pointed out.
Scope of activities at AQUADOC
There has been crippling water crisis in Zimbabwe, according to Human Rights Watch more than half of the population of Harare’s greater metropolitan area have no access to clean water.
Speaking on that he said: “AQUADOC aims to work with everyone because water is a basic need, and we cannot live without quality water. One of the major causes of cancer in our generation is the unclean water we are consuming daily.
“Modernization of industry has caused a huge impact on our water sources, and this has caused so many sources of water to be contaminated by heavy metals and microbial which are harmful elements to our health. Although, government introduced the WASH programs to try and solve the water crisis, the quality aspect is what is still lacking, hence AQUADOC is coming with sustainable drinking water solutions to make sure everyone has quality water for drinking.
“We are aiming homeowners, NGO’s, offices, communities and those who want to venture into water business for resale. We install water treatment plants to suit the expectations and demands of our clients.”
Of risk taking and utilizing chances
Without a clear exit strategy and security, Muzungu made a risky choice and resigned from PEPSI Co-Zimbabwe.
“I left the company without a solid plan on how I was going to make it. I had financial challenges to start the company and many of my clients whom I sold the idea to wanted to see the product first of which I didn’t have any stock in place. This caused me to make hard decisions, I had to sell my car to buy water treatment plants. After I had stock in place, business started to take steps that I noted, and it made me boost some confidence as I could see some profits coming in.
“One of the major challenges I am still facing as a small business is sometimes, I meet clients who want bigger systems for commercial use but capital to have such in stock is still a challenge hence we tend to lose clients because a client cannot trust what they are not seeing. I have also realized that my target market needs to be educated about the importance of quality water and its benefits. Many people need our services, but they are not aware of how our services work and the treatment solutions we have for them,” he stated.
Leveraging technology in mitigating water crisis
AQUADOC is moving with technology and their systems are non-chemical water treatment plants. They use electrical energy and pressure to remove water contaminants. Conventional methods of the water treatment encompasses of chemical treatment for sterilization and removal of contaminants.
“…but now because of technology there are better ways to treat our water from different water sources using the nanotechnology nonchemical water treatment. This technology has made it possible for homeowners to drink mineral bottled water quality direct from the faucet in their comfortable homes. The domestic system has been on high demand because it is affordable, modern and sustainable,” Muzungu affirmed.
Sleeves up, hands on leadership approach
The astute entrepreneur is positioning himself as a great leader in the organization because he leads by example. He adopted this philosophy of leadership because he believes it breeds a room for growth and a healthy working environment.
“I am a hands-on person in the organization. I work together with my other technicians, and II always make sure I am present on site to demonstrate how we are supposed to deliver good quality job to our client at all times. I am the CEO of AQUADOC, I am also a technical engineer and I make sure I learn more skills from my technicians each time we go out to carry out a project. I make sure I give my employees an opportunity to showcase their best abilities whilst monitoring their progress and learning from them.
“I always make sure that the administration team are free to suggest what they think it’s good for our own growth and before making a final decision. I also consult my mentors Miss Natasha Muzungu and Dr Rinos Mautsa,” he added.
Socialization and establishing culture
He said: “My background as a child moulded me to be a hardworking, passionate, patient and a goal getter person. Apart from my background my mentors have taught me a lot about business. From their teachings I have developed a great culture.”
Dreams, hopes and aspiration
Speaking on what keeps him at night, he said: “I have a lot to accomplish in life, but my major wish is to see everyone having access to clean quality water. This gives me sleepless nights thinking how best this dream can come true. I believe success comes from praying, hard work, faith and most importantly believing in yourself that you can make it. Never stop trying to do something because the next person says it does not work or it does not make sense. Believe in yourself and ask God to guide you and help you to surround yourself with people who motivate you, encourage you and cheer every step you take.
“I am looking forward to retirement at the age of 50 years. By that time, I would have groomed my successor and I would have grown the company into a multibillion company. “
KEY TAKEAWAYS ON INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY: This gives me a challenge to be a real man. Being a man means everything is possible. On this day I encourage every man to take the lead and fight their fears and doubts by starting to do something that is aligned to their vision or dream. Life needs us men to lead, and as men we should not be scared to take risks. We should take calculated risks as we create a future for next generations.
PARTING ADVICE TO ASPIRING AND STARTING UP ENTREPREPRENEURS: As entrepreneurs starting up businesses, we should ensure that there is a balance between our businesses, our employees and our environment at the same time making a profit. The water business we have embarked on as AQUADOC if implemented well it can reduce the exploitation of underground water through borehole drilling hence conserving the underground water for the coming generations. The machines we use are sustainable because they do not use chemicals which might influence our environment hence it is technology, but which is environmentally sustainable. As entrepreneurs we should always have in mind that as much as we want to maximize on growing and making profit, it is also our duty to make sure our environment is being exploited in a manner that generations to come are still able to use the same resources we are using today.