The story of Phiona Bhatasara is a testimony of the impact of life skills, entrepreneurship and mentorship in developing young people especially women. Phiona is a 25-year-old JA Alumni who participated in the JA Company Program at Girls High in 2009 in partnership with Barclays Bank.
She was the Human Resources Director for their JA Company at Girls High school. She would handle the recruitment, motivation, and any other human resources issues of the company. Through this exposure she gained skills in leadership, public relations and entrepreneurship.
She went on to study BSc in Economics at the University of Zimbabwe where she was also elected to be the Vice Project Leader of Enactus. She has also obtained the opportunity to work as research assistant for the Institute of Environmental Studies in March 2015, and researcher for the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe in September 2015.
Currently she is based in Germany where she is studying Master’s in Economics at Universitat Siegen, and a delegate of the Model United Nations in Economic and Social Council. As a delegate Phiona focusses on strengthening the coordination of humanitarian assistance, integrating sustainable development into post conflict reconstruction and implementing sustainable development goals. In November 2017 she was elected the Best Delegate representing Guyana in the Common Wealth Heads of Government Meeting to combat climate change.
Calisto Rukuni who is the Branch Manager for FBC Bank in Kwekwe is proud to be the JA Alumnus who participated in the JA Company program in 2006 at Churchill Boys High. He was in the finance department during his time at high school.
“I was the finance manager of our company at the school, a position which I wrestled to take since I was passionate about learning accounts practically. I really enjoyed being part of the JA program as it exposed me to the real world of work and being passionate about a career. I was mentored to love accounts” said Calisto. He did finance with the University of South Africa and is now a registered chartered accountant with the Institute of chartered accountants of Zimbabwe.
Calisto mentioned that, he rose through ranks due to his leadership skill and hardworking in all his jobs with various companies he had worked for. He incomparably explains that the JA program equips young people to the best, for the best. His resilience to work owes it to the firm base he acquired during high school participating in the JA Company program.
Nicolae Gambiza, aged 24, is a beneficiary of the Internship program offered by Junior Achievement Zimbabwe (JAZ) in partnership with International Youth Foundation. Nicolae is a holder of a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree in Business Management at Midlands State University. He graduated in October 2014 and had stayed eight months without obtaining employment. His joy came when he came across an advert requiring for interns at Junior Achievement Zimbabwe.
After applying for the internship, he was called for an interview. This raised his anxiety as he was looking forward to obtaining employment and was very nervous about interviews. He was relieved when he was informed that he had successful in the interview and thus attended the 3 day work-readiness training from 2 June to 4 June 2015. The training covered the essential life skills that included work ethics, interview skills, CV Writing, Communicating Effectively in a Workplace, Building Rapport, Mentorship, and Working in Teams. On the 8th of June 2015 he began his internship at ZimSeller. The internship placement helped him in business development where they would hold meetings and review progress. This exposure assisted him to be able to be more creative in how the company can be more productive. Within a month having started internship placement, he was called for an interview at Coloursell Furniture. Through the interview skills he had received during the work-readiness training he confidently participated in the interview. This gave him an urge over the other interviewees leading to him obtaining Graduate Trainee position in the Sales Department on the 1st of July 2015. During his graduate traineeship he managed to display ability to communicate effectively with customers, supervisors and colleagues; good teamwork; good planning and stock management; and an excellent work ethic. After the 1 year graduate trainee program he was promoted to become the Branch Manager at Coloursell Furniture. This gave him greater sense of self-actualisation and self-esteem. He realised that the opportunity to be influential does not lie in the state of the economy though rather in the skills and abilities that one possesses.
While serving as a Branch Manager at Coloursell Furniture, an opportunity arose at Tile and Carpet Centre for Sales Consultant. Due to the CV writing skills that he now possessed he managed to prepare a CV that created an interest in Tile and Carpet realising that he had only almost 2 years work experience. He was shortlisted for the interviews where he increased and did not hesitate to impress. On the 8th of August 2018, Tile and Carpet hired Nicolae as Sales Consultant based in Kadoma.
“Thanks JAZ for the personal skills training they offered for my personal development. I am now a more confident young man and have better interview skills. I encourage young people to participate in such development programmes.” said Nicolae.
Doctor Faith Nyamukapa is the Executive Director for Kinder Care Zimbabwe and a JA alumnus.
She is a young Multi-award winning entrepreneur in Zimbabwe having received over 28 accolades and awards locally, regionally and internationally. Dr Nyamukapa is in the education and training sector. She is a mentor, an inspirational speaker and is involved in the motor vehicle industry. She has passion for children mostly the early childhood development which is her focus. She works with different partners who focus on key areas that mould a child is it the health, moral, spiritual aspects and many more. She is married and also a mother of three children.
Dr Nyamukapa got involved with Junior Achievement Zimbabwe at Roosevelt High in 2002.
“I remember the first session that we had they approached the form three class when they came and launched the company program at Roosevelt High School in 2002.”
The JA Company Program was an exciting programme because that presented an entrepreneurial spirit. Through the program she experienced financial management skills, resource management, running a business and entrepreneurial basics.
“What interested me most about Junior Achievement Zimbabwe was the organization moulding the entrepreneurship spirit within the young generation. The experience shaped my mind-set from a tender age so if I see myself now I can’t say entrepreneurship started now it started way back then.”
MM: Can you briefly tell me about yourself?
CS: My name is Courage Shoniwa born in Murehwa in 1982. I’m the financial group director for Minerva Group Advisors and was also a Finance Director for the JA Company Program in 2000. I am part of the board for Junior Achievement Zimbabwe and a number of companies both in the private and non-private sector. The most notable ones are; trustee for Minerva Pension fund with a value of three million dollars. I am also a board member for Junior Achievement Zimbabwe and also the committee’s Chairman for Micro-hub Zimbabwe, Sodew Investments (MSU Subsidiary) Committee Chairman – Micro Hub Financial Services and also Midlands State University board to mention but just a few. So in a nutshell this is Courage Shoniwa.
MM: When and how did you get involved with Junior Achievement Zimbabwe?
CS: I got involved in the year 2000 about 18 years ago when l was doing my Advanced level at Harare High in Mbare. I was involved with the program for a year where we created our own company with colleagues Bernard Chidzero and Archie where l was the Finance Director. I attribute my achievements to those two. Initially we were running a mini shop where we were printing t-shirts for the students and doing event management where we hosted different artists.
MM: Given the high demands of A Level studies, what motivated you into participating in the JA Company Program?
CS: The urge to know more about running a business made me want to participate. I was majoring in business studies so l wanted to have the hands on experience of how it feels to actually run a company since what l had at that time was just theoretical.
MM: What has JAZ contributed in your career?
CS: JAZ has contributed a lot in my career because it created the foundation for me to build my career firstly it gave me the entrepreneurship spirit that is required for any person in the financial sector. It also gave me the confidence as part of the process we had to do presentations in front of audiences as well as bringing me a spring board into my career. One of my achievements is that l was voted the Young Director of the Year 2015 to 2016 by the Institutes of Directors of Zimbabwe. I actually attribute this to Junior Achievement of Zimbabwe because when l really started being a Finance Director in the program that’s when l really started studying how one can manage a company. It created a foundation for me to be the person l am today.
MM: What can you contribute to JA Zimbabwe as the youngest board member?
CS: I think l will bring fresh ideas as a young person who just turned 36 and is in touch with current trends. I am the bridging gap between the youth and the older generation so obviously l bring in new ideas especially to do with entrepreneurship. Besides being an entrepreneur l have a couple of companies that l run and founded. These include a Mercedes Benz garage called McCarthy Cosh Motors which l co-founded with my friends. I am also into farming in Marondera where I’m into maize farming and a piggery. I have also started a fishing project. This is a living testimony that as youth we can actually do something with our lives besides waiting for someone. I have started some new ventures in Gweru l now have a successful boarding house accommodating 35 students for Midlands State University.
MM: What encouragement would you like to give to the young stars of today concerning JAZ and their future and your final thoughts?
CS: I really urge the young stars not to give up on your dreams. There is a favorite saying that l always say “Reality happens twice in your mind and secondly for the rest of the world to see”. So never give up on your dreams you have to dream every day until they come true. Some of the things that I’m doing now it was only a dream maybe 16 or 15 years ago when l started to draft these things for the businesses that l am doing now. Secondly, you have to follow your passion. Do not just enter into business because everyone is getting into one but do something that you really enjoy in your life. That way you reduce the risk of it failing. Follow your heart in everything that you want to do. Thirdly, one has to be prepared for any situation. I always laugh about it and regard myself as a lucky person but the definition of lucky is when preparedness meets opportunity because everyone has an equal chance of getting those opportunities but if you are not prepared then you will become unlucky.