“The hurdle, first and foremost is mindset.

For any person, and in particular women, it's this fear, this lack of self-esteem because of how we have been socialised.

In this part of the world, we were raised to think that as a woman, you don’t need much education, you don’t need to be ambitious… you’ll get married and make children for the clan.

We were socialised to think that we should not dream about becoming high-flying businesswomen, business leaders or politicians. But in our minds, we must believe we can do these things. Belief in oneself – that comes at the top.

Support from the top

We need government support too.

We lobby government, and in our case, the legal framework is there including the constitution that has the 50/50 requirement. However, women economic empowerment still has to gain more traction in terms of implementation as that is still the problem.

We continue engaging our government to ensure it walks the walk when it talks to achieving real women’s economic empowerment.

We continue engaging our government to ensure it walks the walk when it talks to achieving real women’s economic empowerment.

As an entrepreneur I always was looking for opportunities. And indeed, I saw the opportunity in the security sector, because there was a gap for a quality service-orientated company.

It's about the passion

So I came in and disrupted and ensured that I created value. And that was it. It was really a gap I saw in the security. The security business was not the first business I started. I cut my teeth in catering, in transport, in clothing, but I did not see much scale in those sectors.

I don't think there's anything female and male about entrepreneurship. It's not about the sciences. It's passion for the idea. It's the brain. It's the thinking outside the box, it is the business acumen, it's identifying what has got to be done for anything in that particular sector that makes the service better. So that's all I did.

What I'm most proud of is that I changed the narrative of the security industry in Zimbabwe, because women were not previously accepted as able practitioners.

I sought to change the mindset. And I deliberately and very consciously fought for that because of women.

When I started recruiting women they couldn't believe they could do this job. Now, the face of the industry has changed; they were accepted. The companies saw that they were deriving value in their business by deploying women.

My company is the largest employer of women outside government and the women have acquitted themselves very well, rising to the top ranks.

I'm happy that I have been able to give opportunities to women, including single mothers and widows … For some, it means educating their children to university level. And some of those women had husbands who died from HIV, and some of them may be HIV positive.

It’s a comfortable environment here, we have a very robust HIV and AIDS policy and there is no victimisation.

We support our employees greatly, and all of them show their gratitude …. The icing on the cake is really the women whose lives are transformed.

The icing on the cake is really the women whose lives are transformed.

It’s these and many other things I personally started in this economy that have impacted positively on other women that I am most proud of.

These are the things that make me want to go to work every day, not so much the many business excellence awards I have won over the years.

Being the President of Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, I realised there were very few women in the main business member organisations, hence we started a sub-committee at the chamber called the Women’s Desk that is now bringing more women into these organisations, and where opportunities are derived from.

Mentorship programs

At the Women’s Desk we run a number of initiatives that support the growth of women in their professions as well as growth of their business enterprises.

Among others, we run a mentorship program called Mentorship in Practice that has impacted many young women and women who run small scale businesses.

We also have an initiative called Woman Owned Brand, which links women-owned enterprises to corporate supply chains for access sustainable markets, thereby scaling up their businesses.

And training and capacity building is another area we support women in, as well as recognising and celebrating those doing well through our prestigious annual Women in Enterprise Conference and Awards (WECA).

I would say to my younger self, work hard and have the right attitude. There’s no easy road; you just have to claim your space, because no-one will hand it to you.

You just need to go out there and claim it.

The magnifying of my success story and other women’s success stories is something I am happy to do all the time, as the role modelling is important to make it believable and possible for young women.”