‘Just fol­low your in­stincts’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Bianca Mlilo Busi­ness Re­porter

IN an en­vi­ron­ment where job se­cu­rity is no longer guar­an­teed, a ma­jor­ity of peo­ple get dis­tressed on the prospects of be­ing re­trenched. As com­pa­nies down­size in a bid to cut costs given the chal­leng­ing eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment, even those who oc­cupy pres­ti­gious po­si­tions are not spared. It takes a dili­gent mind to pick up the pieces, rise from the ashes and carve your own pro­file as a busi­ness per­son.

Such is the story of Mr Di­vine Mhambi-Hove (38) who re­fused to be crushed by the cir­cum­stances he found him­self in.

Busi­ness Chron­i­cle met Mhambi-Hove at his work­place near OK Mart com­plex in Bu­l­awayo where he runs Di­vine Tech­nolo­gies, a com­pany that is in the busi­ness of car wash­ing and restau­rant ser­vice. He em­ploys 33 peo­ple.

The en­tity has nine car wash­ing sec­tions that can op­er­ate si­mul­ta­ne­ously and eight vac­u­um­ing ar­eas, which of­fer a full valet ser­vice, a deep wash­ing tech­nique in the in­te­rior.

Mr Mhambi-Hove nar­rated his jour­ney: “I’m an ac­coun­tant by pro­fes­sion and I lost my job in 2010 when the com­pany I worked for closed shop. I then worked at a car wash in Bu­l­awayo, shut­tling cars,” said Mr Mhambi-Hove.

“I in­ter­acted with dif­fer­ent peo­ple and in that process I be­gan to pick up cus­tomers’ needs. I picked up what cus­tomers needed, like chairs and news­pa­pers, things which were of­ten taken for granted.”

Out of this re­al­i­sa­tion he says he set out to es­tab­lish his own busi­ness, which was not an easy road. The path re­quired per­se­ver­ance, hard work and the will to suc­ceed, says Mr Mhambi-Hove, who says his fam­ily is his source of strength.

He says he got start up cap­i­tal from fam­ily mem­bers to rent a small space and buy a few work­ing tools. It was from this hum­ble be­gin­ning that the busi­ness grew. To­day the com­pany op­er­ates from a big ware­house that is di­vided into three sec­tions. One sec­tion has a neatly dec­o­rated restau­rant, of­fices and a news cen­tre for the con­ve­nience of clients.

The two other sec­tions are the en­try and exit sides sep­a­rated by a tiled, lighted walk­way with small tele­vi­sion screens, which flight ad­ver­tise­ments of dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies. The com­pany has part­nered with MoB Cap­i­tal, a thriv­ing Bu­l­awayo-head­quar­tered mi­cro­fi­nance in­sti­tu­tion with foot­print across the coun­try. The part­ner­ship is ex­pected to fa­cil­i­tate ex­pan­sion of the busi­ness.

“Part of our ex­pan­sion project in­cludes hav­ing a gym at the back and a big news cen­tre, which will have news­pa­pers and com­put­ers so that one can do other things while their car is be­ing washed,” said Mr Mhambi-Hove.

He said the restau­rant of­fers tra­di­tional foods af­ter re­al­is­ing that there is a cor­re­la­tion be­tween health­con­scious­ness and driv­ing.

“This is the logic be­hind the gym con­cept, which is still in the pipe­line. The place has be­come a favourite ren­dezvous be­cause of the ser­vices we of­fer, which in­cludes free Wi-Fi.”

Mr Mhambi-Hove’s vi­sion is to ex­pand the busi­ness to in­clude a chil­dren’s play­ing area.

Miss­ing in this grand plan for the fu­ture is a bar, which Mr Mhambi-Hove said was raised by his clients who feel the ser­vice would at­tract many mo­torists.

“I am a very de­voted Chris­tian and would like to keep this place as clean as pos­si­ble and I feel that if we fac­tor in a bar then we’ve alien­ated some of our cus­tomers who do not drink al­co­hol,” he said.

His word of ad­vice to other bud­ding en­trepreneurs is that: “Don’t take an idea that is not yours. Work hard, get your pri­or­i­ties right, be hands on”. — @ Bian­caMlilo

Di­vine Tech­nolo­gies em­ploy­ees at work. Inset, Mr Di­vine Mhambi-Hove

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