An old adage has it that some are born great, some achieve greatness while some have greatness thrust upon them. The story of George “Billionaire” Munengwa is one such story of a man who has risen from limiting conditions to become a mover and shaker who is making shockwaves in the local air-conditioning industry.
By OUR CORRESPONDENT
The 33-year-old managing director’s air-conditioning brand, ProAir International, is scooping accolades for fun and is the most sought-after service provider in the air-conditioning industry, but he believes there is a whole world ahead of them.
“As ProAir, we are in the business of conditioning with a pay-off line that says ‘make the weather behave with ProAir’”, said Munengwa. “We are there to provide heating and cooling solutions to people’s cars, homes, offices, supermarkets, churches and businesses while raising awareness on how air-conditioning has become a necessity now more than ever before. Because of climate change, temperatures are increasing by two degrees every year and air-conditioning will soon become a necessity and not a luxury.”
To this day, ProAir has received seven accolades in recognition of their outstanding workmanship and Munengwa believes all that reflects the grace of God in that when they started out they were not looking for accolades but to position themselves as the brand of choice in the air-conditioning industry through top-of-the-range services. The recognition has become the cherry on top as they now seek to conquer the region and indeed the world.
Some of the accolades won by ProAir included Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012, Top Air-Conditioning Company, Top Emerging Business Leader, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneur second-runner up, Upcoming Businessman of the Year and Institute of Directors’ Director of the Year award, among others.
What is amazing is that for all that he has become, Munengwa at some point considered himself a “reject” employee owing to some work-related pressure and the isolation he faced.
Like the lion-hearted entrepreneur that he is, Munengwa has risen to become a respected managing director for his own air-conditioning brand.
The proud father of three, who passionately cherishes family, says being a father with challenging responsibilities was actually the greatest motivator in his endeavour to set up a viable business.
“It was no stroll in the park for me. Being a family man with a set of twins and earning around $400 made me widen my horizons,” he said. “There were so many responsibilities for me as a father and the situation was challenging. That aside, I was also having issues with my last employers, but unbeknown to me, God was pressuring me into my breakthrough.
“To this day, my family is the backbone of the organisation. My wife Lisa and my three kids, the twins Gugu and George and my youngest son Gabriel, are the reason why we have grown to become who we are today. Just knowing that I have a family to look after and that they rally behind me keeps me going.”
The amount of faith which the man embodies aptly sums the “billionaire” tag which he has acquired over time and though he may not be an actual billionaire yet, he is making the daily steps towards reaching that destiny.
“I believe it is good to have a personal vision of where you want to go. When I started calling myself Billionaire, some would laugh and say ‘do you know how many zeros are in a billion’ but my vision kept me going. I could have targeted a thousand, but I like billionaire because my vision is international,” he said.
“It’s better to have a big vision and a big dream and then you fall short at 450 million. By calling myself Billionaire, I am not being pompous but it’s about my vision. That thinking attracts certain opportunities and remember people who lack vision never make it in life. It may take me five or 10 years but with the amount of grace in my life, no dream is too high.”
Munengwa, who is a member of Jehovah Jireh Chosen Generation Ministries, also acknowledged the value he has derived from his church and Apostle Melody Sibanda, who he said has stood with him and nurtured his vision.
“As much as one may have mentors, it is also important to have a man or woman of God who also directs your spirit to where you want to go because you are blessed to a blessing,” Munengwa said.
“I didn’t start this business from nowhere, a man of God actually spoke to me and I believed it was time to take the step. Our company believes in the word of God as taken from Proverbs 3v 5-10. When God is the foundation of any business, it’s bound to be a success. Things may happen but as long you believe in God you will stand. We are a prayerful company and we don’t start work before we pray.”
The ProAir managing director also revealed that when they started they were focussing on the local market as ProAir Zimbabwe, but they are now going international and are looking at manufacturing a unique brand of an air conditioner that speaks to current innovations and advancements in the air-conditioning sector.
“We started off as a small company with a staff complement of three but we have grown to employ administrators, technicians among others. We are already in talks with other stakeholders and very near clinching some lucrative deals towards our expansion goals,” he said.
On what makes his ProAir brand, Munengwa said it was their workmanship that makes them stand out.
“Once you try ProAir, you won’t think of the others because we give you the best. We are honest and we give you back up. While other players may give you an equally good service; we go the extra mile to ensure you get value for money. Our quality of workmanship has put us on the map in the industry and we continue exploring new heights,” he said.
In an environment where most businesses are struggling and the majority are folding, the ProAir boss revealed that one’s faith can have a bearing on how they face challenging situations.
“God must be your foundation. Let God be the chief executive officer of your company, then your business becomes sustainable,” he said.
“Success is not an elevator which takes you to the 10th floor right away. You have to take the steps. Sometimes it can be demoralising but if you keep the faith, you will hit the mark. Also important is the fact that your association determines your destination. If you surround yourself with chickens and you are an eagle, you will forget that you can fly.
“I surround myself with the right people and mentors who guide my thinking and keep me focussed and challenged. I encourage my peers to have a vision and purpose. Find God and let him direct your work. Don’t surround yourself with pessimists. Surround yourself with positive thinkers and even when times are tough, you will fly above the tide.”