Yeukai Karengezeka Features Correspondent
The adage, a journey of a thousands miles begins with a single step, can be the story of businesswoman Uzzillah Hove who began her journey by selling a few packets of sweets.
Hove, an established entrepreneur, is making strides in empowering other women to become financially independent by rolling out projects of her own.
She narrates her long-winding journey from being just a housewife to an entrepreneur.
“I got married in 2005 and I was staying with my husband Stanley in South Africa. Then, I was just a house wife and I was solely dependent on my husband for everything, not because I was not educated but because I did not have a work permit,” she said.
“I got used to that for seven years but over time the money my hubby was getting could not sustain us and that’s when I thought of doing something.”
The 39-year-old entrepreneur said she was encouraged by a sermon from her church that discouraged laziness.
“I was awakened by this sermon one day at church that a woman must not be idle at home “a zuva rese pamba” (ZRP) woman and be a “marry me, feed me” type and that hurt me inside and I thought of doing something,” she recalls.
She was then given R200 by her husband and she bought packets of sweets which she started selling at church.
“My husband gave me a capital of R200 and I bought some packets of sweets. I sold them at church and I remember that I made some profit and I was happy about that and it also boosted my confidence.
“However, I could not run that business for long because my kids liked the sweets a lot,” said Mrs Hove.
From sweets she ventured into perfumes, then later started selling kitchen ware material in 2013.
“I then started selling perfumes at church for a short while but I felt that I had to venture into selling kitchen ware products in 2013 out of a passion to improve woman’s domain — the kitchen.
“In 2016, I then re-branded to Today’s Kitchen and Home because I realised that every woman, just like me, wanted nice things for her home,” said Mrs Hove.
Due to overwhelming inquiries from other women who wanted mentorship from her she then introduced business seminars titled Today’s Business in 2017 which are yielding significant fruits.
“I launched Today’s Business Women Development seminars in December last year that was attended by more than 50 ladies from different parts of the country. We held the second one in March and was attended by over 120 women. Participants came from as far as Malawi and Mozambique.
“After training, we nurture them and visit them until they produce something. I am proud to say more than half of these women are now running their own businesses no matter how small they are,” Hove said.
Major concepts at the seminars include — how to start a successful business, how to grow your business, how to manage your finances, how to market your business, how to create the income generating streams.
To date she is running more than eight projects that are benefiting a number of women.
Some of them include “Today’s Licence” where she encourages women to acquire driver’s licenses whether they have a car or not. Since 2016 at least 100 women have successfully obtained their drivers’ licenses.
She also runs Today’s cars, stands and building projects where she encourages women to buy these properties and build their own houses.
Early this year she registered a trust called Today’s Home Trust where they raise money as ladies and buy some clothing and groceries that they donate to the less privileged members of the society.
In January this year, they gathered clothes, pampers, blankets and food items and donated to an orphanage in Harare.
They also donated shoes and bags of cement to Churu Farm Primary School worth $2 000 in June.
“It is our norm to assist the needy, we donated 100 bags of cement, 50 pairs of shoes and socks for the pupils. We also adopted 25 children whom we will now be paying school fees for every term,” said Mrs Hove.
Several ladies told The Herald how their lives were transformed through these projects.
A 32-year-old lady — Kurwaity Maulana said her breakthrough came after she joined Today’s Kitchen and Home Facebook page in 2016.
“I tried selling at tobacco floors and running a tuck-shop before but it all failed because I did not have sufficient knowledge on how to go about it. My breakthrough came after I joined the group. I pushed on with the group for two more years and I was strengthened on the challenges that I had been encountering,” she said.
Sinodia Mapango who used to be a cross border trader today runs a chicken project, décor and caterer business.
“Apart from my long term projects of broiler rearing, I was encouraged to have some other income generating projects and I run a registered event management company where I do home décor, baking and catering.
“Today I run a successful tuck-shop that has enabled me to buy a car and two stands of my own,” she said.
Hove says she is inspired by her late mother and Apostle Enour Guti.
“My role model is my late mother who was very hard working and also Apostle Guti. I learnt a lot from her teachings and she taught me to work hard,” she said.
She is bookkeeper by profession and she recently launched her debut empowerment book titled: “Gift of a Woman.”
The launch was also attended by one of her regional business colleagues, Sumisola Aderonke Kuku from Nigeria who is the head of One Woman Africa.