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'Zimbabwe crisis presents immense opportunities'

13 Dec 2020 at 08:10hrs | Views
IT has been an eventful year for Tendo Electronics MD and recent winner of the director of the year award at this year's edition of the Megafest awards, Mike Kamungeremu (MK).

The firm, which supplies 90% of data centres in Zimbabwe, defied volatilities posed by the pandemic to commission major projects.

The man, who calls the shots at Tendo was also elevated to senior positions with the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC).

Our business editor Shame Makoshori (SM) caught up with the youthful executive to discuss his journey into entrepreneurship. Here is how their discussion went.

SM: Tell us about Tendo Electronics.
MK: Tendo is the leading provider of total integrated power, renewable energy and other related solutions in Zimbabwe.
We supply, install and maintain standby generators, solar systems, CCTVs, access control, fire suppression systems and air-conditioning.
We also design and build data centres.
We boast of having designed and deployed more that 90% of all data centres in Zimbabwe.
In terms of foot print we cover the whole of Zimbabwe.
Go to almost any bank branch today or telecoms base station, you will see something supplied and serviced by Tendo Electronics.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, we still managed to commission four big projects during the lockdown.

SM: Has it been an easy journey?
MK: It has not been an easy journey, particularly with the ever-changing environment in Zimbabwe.
We have been through tough times, and good times.

SM: Which areas can a person aspiring to start a business today focus on and why?
MK: Opportunities are aplenty in Zimbabwe because we have many problems.
These problems represent opportunities. All that a person needs to do is provide solutions to our problems and make money.
In agriculture, mining, manufacturing, energy, tourism and others sectors, there are plenty of opportunities.
From 1 January 2021, the African Continental Free Trade Area is coming into reality and that means there is a bigger market for our products and services.
We need to leverage on that. The Finance minister in his 2021 budget spoke about venture capital funding for youths, women and war veterans.
Our people need to tap into that and use that money to solve our many problems in a profitable way.

SM: Tell us about your role at the ZNCC. What has been your experience?
MK: I am currently the vice-president for Mashonaland region.
Before that I was the chairperson for the Harare branch.
I have been in ZNCC structures since 2015 and our interaction with policymakers has been fantastic.
I have contributed to policymaking through the ZNCC.
For the 2021 budget, we made presentations to Parliament on behalf of business.
It was good to see that our recommendations were in the budget.
We will continue working with government to improve the business environment.

SM: There was talk about the $18 billion stimulus package, which did not come. What is your advice to government?
MK: We actually made a submission to
Parliament about this and we hope government will attend to it.
Businesses really need that to reboot and recapitalise post-Covid-19 and they may sink deeper if they are left at the mercy of banks.

SM: Congratulations for winning the Megafest Director of the year award. How did it come?
MK: I never dreamt of winning it. I was just doing my job.
It is only now that I am beginning to reflect on what Megafest could have seen that prompted them to nominate me and subsequently give me the award.
Like I said before, we commissioned very good projects during the lockdown against all odds.
We offered more innovative solutions to our clients in the area of building and energy management.
At the beginning of the year, we were also ISO 9001:2015 certified.
When Covid-19 came, we were one of the few companies that quickly put in place a business continuity plan that helped us adapt quickly and enable the business to continue.
I guess that's what Megafest saw. But that surely would not have been possible had it not been for the support of fellow directors and all Tendo staff members.

SM: Now tell us about your background. Who is Mike Kamungeremu? MK: Mike Kamungeremu is a business
leader who is the current managing director of Tendo Electronics Pvt Ltd and vice-president of ZNCC in the Mashonaland region.
I also sits on the boards of Net Professional Business Academy, Ramola Security and Zimtrade.

SM: Tell is about your early days.
MK: I went to Manetsera Primary School, then Gwangwava Primary School, for primary education, and then Gwangwava High School for my O' Levels.
This was in Rushinga in Mashonaland Central province.
I then proceeded to Lord Malvern High School in Waterfalls for my A Levels.
After that I enrolled at the University of Zimbabwe for the Bachelor of Accountancy degree and the MBA in Financial Services.
I am a qualified chartered management accountant, which I obtained through the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA-UK).
I am currently studying towards the Bachelor of Laws degree with the University of South Africa.

SM: How did your education shape you?
MK: I managed to break into executive leadership at an early age because of my accounting background, which gave me the capacity to understand organisations from a holistic perspective.
Remember everything starts and ends with accounting.
But I had to quickly grasp other areas through reading, training, mentorship and experimenting on the job.
Today, I am well balanced and evaluate and take decisions in almost all areas affecting business.
What helps me more than my certificates is that I have a strong network of peers who help me with solutions to problems.
So I am resourceful because of that strong network.

SM: Tell us about your working life?
MK: I worked for Doves Funeral Services before joining Tendo as head of finance and administration before finally taking over as MD. I am also a shareholder in Tendo.
It has been eight years since I took over.
With support from colleagues, we have taken the company to another level. But the journey continues.

SM: Do you have any other business interests? What inspired you to venture into business?
MK: I have interests in security services, energy, transport and farming.
The need to diversify and solve problems prompted me to venture into these businesses.

Source - the standard
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