Women entrepreneurs find coping mechanisms in Zim's tough economy

By Lungile Moyo

While Zimbabwe’s economic situation has not been pleasant  for most citizens, women have not given up on empowering themselves through business opportunities arising during these tough conditions.

Some women have somehow found determination to uplift themselves through different businesses such as petty trade, foreign trading, self- help skills and network marketing.  

Amakhosikazi Media spoke to some of the women from different backgrounds in areas like Bulawayo and Matabeleland North (Lupane), women with different capabilities and encounters, who pointed out that it has not been easy but they were willing to give it their all to make it in business.

Daisy Ncube a woman from Lupane (Matabeleland North) who produces and supplies her community with dishwashing liquid and detergents said the production process itself needs time, commitment and focus.  

“One 20 litre container of dishwasher of cleaning detergent can take up to five hours to get ready.” she said. “So without focus and patience it would be impossible to meet the demand and also l would not be able to meet the quality and mark that my clients are now familiar with” said Ncube.

Ncube also said the challenge she is facing while doing her business is finding a market, and that the economic meltdown and price hikes have put her business in jeopardy as she finds it hard to keep changing the prices of her products everytime circumstances in the economy change.

She pointed out that another challenge she faces was that of  transport costs as there are no suppliers of ingredients in Lupane thus she often has to travel to Bulawayo to purchase them. 

Most quality toiletries like Sunlight liquid, Handy Andy, detergents like Domestos, Harpic, Duck, and washing powders like Surf, Omo and Sunlight have become scarce on the local market forcing some women to import these products from South Africa or Botswana through runners (Buyers who travel to SA and Botswana to shop for their clients for a 10-20% commission)

Sphiwokuhle Tshuma a woman from Pumula South suburb in Bulawayo who is into the network marketing business says her business needs persistence and commitment in order to be successful. 

“Since l joined this business l have realised that without commitment  l will not be able to make it”, said Tshuma. “I am actually benefiting a lot from this business because I am earning forex. The only challenge is that l have few customers who buy my products because l am selling them in Rands which my customers don't have” she said

Kudzai Chitsa from Mahatshula South in Bulawayo said she is into cross border trading business and that kind of business needs persuasion and single-mindedness to be able to meet orders of customers often. She also commented that this kind of work is a bit challenging as she is often far from her family.