By Ajong Mbapndah L
At the moment MoneyMart Finance (MMF) is doing very well and it is truly living up to the expectations that I had when joined the African business competition back in 2020, says Ethel Mupambwa, Co-Founder and Executive Director.
“Our success has largely been due to my participation in the African Business Heroes Prize competition, the training we received from it, and that we received from the Alibaba Netpreneur Training organized by Alibaba Global Initiatives, because these opportunities have opened so many doors than I could ever have imagined,” says Ethel Mupambwa
May we know how Moneymart is doing at the moment, is it living up to expectations or the vision you had in mind and any figures to back that up?
Ethel Mupambwa: At the moment MoneyMart Finance (MMF) is doing very well and it is truly living up to the expectations that I had when joined the Africa’s business competition back in 2020. On pitching during ABH I was looking at turning this business into a digital tech organisation where services can be accessed via USSD or through a MoneyMart Application which we’ve managed to do. For us the year has been so great and when we compared 2020, 2021 and 2022, the numbers of our 2022 revenue exceeded the full 2021 year in terms of figures.
To elaborate a bit: –
- Our 2021 income grew by 976.8% compared to 2020.
- In the first half of 2022, income grew to a total of $0.99 million which is 26% increase from the $268,499.00 attained in the first half of 2021, and 8% over and above the 2021 annual income.
- Overall profit margin year to date rose from 18.9% in 2020 to 37% in 2021. This can be attributed to expansion with more branches being opened.
- MMF now has 16 branches across Zimbabwe from the 5 branches in 2020.
- Loan book to date grew to $1,100,000 from $76,920 as of 31st December 2020 which is a 1,330% increase.
- The number of our active clients has increased from 1,232 to 5,860 to date.
How much of its success is attributed to the 2020 ABH Prize Competition that you were a second runner up to, and also the AGI’s eFounders / Netpreneur Training that you were part of ?
Ethel Mupambwa: The success of MoneyMart Finance is heavily due to the win of Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition in 2020. My company was hit hard by the aftereffects of covid-19 just like it was for so many businesses. We therefore needed to rebuild our systems and structures to be able to match the needs of our clients and existing contracts. We needed to help our clients especially as most of them were home and not earning any revenue during the pandemic times in most part of 2020, and since we deal mostly with women in the formal sector, the ABH prize money really helped us support many of them. As a result, we gained so much trust from our clients and as a result it increased our client base in the long run especially as they knew we are reliable regardless hard economic times. Many people were testifying about the goodness and reliability of MMF and advocating to others to join us. In 2021 we became a big brand name because of all this.
In line with our vision mission and values, the strategic planning made my team and myself to fit in with the new mode of doing business. I therefore conclude that our success has largely been due to my participation in the Africa’s Business Heroes Prize competition, the training we received from it, and that we received from the Alibaba Netpreneur Training organized by Alibaba Global Initiatives, because these opportunities have opened so many doors than I could ever have imagined. I can’t thank the entire team at Jack Ma Foundation’s ABH initiative, as well as the team running the Alibaba Netpreneur Training enough. May God reward each and every one abundantly.
What are some of the challenges that Moneymart has been facing despite the progress?
Ethel Mupambwa: One of the major challenges that we’ve been facing is raising funds for the growth of the business and ensuring that we have sufficient capital to sustain all our business activities for instance marketing to ensure continuous growth. Thanks to ABH competition and Alibaba’s Netpreneur training which has enlightened us, mentored us, and connected us to wider networks that have enabled us to come up with potential solutions to the challenges we have been facing.
The other major challenge we had before ABH was securing partnerships with bigger institutions as most of them were asking what value we can bring to them, but from the ABH competition and Alibaba training we are now viewed as a big institution, with great value – something that has reduced this challenge of securing partnerships and we are making steady progress.
In terms of mentorship, what are some of the success tips that can be shared with some of the younger entrepreneurs who want to emulate your example?
Ethel Mupambwa: I always say to young entrepreneurs that fortune knocks at the door of those who are brave and prepared. If you’re not brave enough, it will shy away from you, so you need to pull up your sleeves and go out there. Be brave to knock at those big doors and to put your name where big people are putting their names. We all have something we can contribute to humanity. For any business to thrive, it has to be making an impact to society. Always think around challenges people are facing and what you can do as an entrepreneur to solve these challenges. The moment you strike that light which is being switched off in society, everyone will be excited about your innovation and trust that you can win. Look for that dark part in the community and be a source of solutions to it.
My last tip is don’t forget to pray. I’m a strong believer in God and I know He has big plans for us if we believe and have enough faith in Him. Whatever you do, pray for God’s mercy and guidance. Be patient as you pray and continue to do your honest part. When we put God first, plan, work hard and smart, God will grant us what is meant to be for us.
How is the investment climate like in Zimbabwe today and any recommendations on what the government could do to enable talented youth to thrive?
Ethel Mupambwa: Our investment climate in Zimbabwe today is not yet really favourable as a country, but even amidst the existing economic challenges, Zimbabwe is making progress, getting into regional investments and even consulting from other countries. Zimbabwe is a highly recommendable country for investments mainly because there are so many opportunities one can reap from here. My recommendation to the government is to invest in the Youth and in youth initiatives especially as they are the future generation and make up over 65% of the population.
Zimbabwean youth are talented and innovative. With dedicated mentorship they can change the country in a very short time. I urge the government to build a youth hub whereby young people can be trained, mentored, advised and funded. The government should build more capital bases to support young people’s innovations just like what you see in some developed countries. The government needs to understand, nurture and support the youth to enable them to realise their dreams especially as they make up majority of the population. I strongly believe that once youth are supported, Zimbabwe will be a better country and will realise accelerated economic development.