ZBIN is on a drive to create as many companies as possible. We like formalisation-in business you open more opportunities when you are formal. We have assisted the formation of companies across the region…Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa. The drive in 2018 is to make them a success!

In Zimbabwe, we are converting all ZBIN WhatsApp Groups into separate companies. Most of these groups have been in existence for more than 3 years, most of the members know each other-some have met and they are always talking to each other in the groups.
Rather than continuing to be mere discussion platforms, we have a drive to make these groups formal. Members come together and register companies. Companies that help employ some of them, help create an extra income for some of them. Companies that are formed as a result of seeing gaps on the markets.

The Rabbit Company
Take for example the rabbit industry-It is made up mostly of scattered individual farmers rearing rabbits for sale. The farming model can be described as subsistence and few are willing to expand into commercial farming due to market limitations. So the GAP here is Access to Markets! This is our third forum objective and we are very passionate about Access to Markets.

To solve the Access to Markets issue, farmers have come together to form a company that will help to market rabbits. Retail shops and hotels are not willing to work with individual farmers who bring small quantities of rabbits. They want a constant supply and what is more? They want to work with registered companies with track records of constant delivery of rabbits.
Therefore working as a group will bring economies of scale benefits, it will specifically mean farmers negotiating formally as a registered entity. Come together agree on quantity and quality standards and help to promote rabbit meat, rabbit rearing and improve incomes of members and the society at large.

ZBIN Conducts a meeting
So yesterday we coordinated the company registration meeting at our nice offices in Monavale. We had already shared in the group the vision and operational steps we need to take inorder to move forward.
The meeting went well, members contributing to discussions carrying out a SWOT and PESTEL Analysis…bottom line being huge opportunities exist for the rabbit industry and there is room for more players to come. Typical of the SME sector, there is no leading national brand on Rabbits. How will members benefit? We listed down on the board what had already been discussed, expanding the points already discussed on the group and adding a few more.

In comes the youth
One of the members had earlier indicated that he was running late and he indeed came late after we had deliberated on most of the issues on our agenda.

Now this young member is a recent university graduate and had done extensive research, had a database of rabbit farmers and he had interesting points which took us by surprise. Of course we had discussed E-commerce and regional expansion opportunities. You all know ZBIN isn’t it? We rarely design products with Zimbabwe in mind only. Our global thinking outlook forces us to design products or programmes with South Africa, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, Lesotho, Botswana in mind.
Lets get back to what the youngster did-So this youngster surprised everyone with some brilliant innovations we had not included on the agenda. Amazing stuff from him! Of course we are an innovative forum, our members are innovative too but what the youngster brought completely over turned the tables!

Lessons learnt
Our youngsters are brimming with innovations, if you do not include youths in the design of programmes then you are missing the mark. If the design team of your project is not diverse then you are not going to come with the best design.
These youths do not have experience but they are not short on innovation! They just need support and guidance and they will do wonders. Youths need to be given space and innovate with the older generation providing mentorship and this is a lesson to most companies or organisations.

Are you giving youths a voice? On your board do you have youths? On your management team…do youths provide input? On your current strategy, did you allow youths to have a say or review? If you did not, then those that do will have a competitive advantage over you.

In future analysis of competitors and designing strategies to outwit competitors is going to be easy. Analyse the team at the top….does the team include youths? If the company does not have any youths at the top then its likely to be thinking of old models, there is likely to be little innovation or resistance to innovation. Therefore to the small company in Makokoba, to the medium scale company in Rimuka and the big corporate in Southerton here is free message-ignore youths at your own peril!

So ZBIN Rabbit company is going to be headed by this young graduate. He has a lot of energy, a lot of innovations but lacks experience -the good thing though is the forum has a lot of professionals right from the board. We draw a lot of expertise from locals, the diaspora and foreign nationals as well. We will give him ample support and allow him to shine and showcase what Zimbabwean youths have to offer. The verdict will be out by end of year.

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