There is something striking about young entrepreneur Ashlee Nyathi. He chose a career path that most of his peers would never consider.
Selling kapenta in Zimbabwe is not a business that would entice many in the age-group of 23-year-old Nyathi.
Besides those in the hotel and restaurant sector who know the value of kapenta when served as a part of various unique dishes, many people in the country see the ‘small fish’ as a relish consumed in times of desperation.
Literally, kapenta is regarded as a preserve for the poor and very few households in upmarket suburbs would tolerate its presence on their shopping lists.
Despite the seemingly poor tag that any business of selling kapenta would attract, Nyathi decided to be different.
He saw an opportunity where others were seeing desperation. When talking about stories of water life, Nyathi’s peers would be proud to discuss dolphins, tiger fish and shacks.
The young entrepreneur chose to talk about small fish of the waters and today his business has led him to rub shoulders with the big fish of entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe.
The young man has made a mark as one of the renowned suppliers of kapenta in the country and has also expanded to export market. He runs MegaPro Trading Company, which imports kapenta from Mozambique and sells in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.
In an interview with The Herald, Nyathi said despite the challenges that he faced as he pushed his business, he was impressed by the achievement of pursuing an industry where most of his peers did not see success.
He said he is determined to break into other countries to expand his company.
“It was not easy to start the company, but I got support from my father and I had to start very small. When I finally managed to start importing from Mozambique, I got an opportunity to expand the company faster,” he said.
“We are currently supplying markets in Harare, Gweru, Bulawayo and Beitbridge. We also send some consignments to Botswana and South Africa.
“I have had the privilege of sharing notes with big guys in the industry and I am getting important information to run the brand and I hope MegaPro will join the list big companies in the country in the next few years.”