The construction business is the preserve of big corporates in Zimbabwe and the world over. Young entrepreneurs have always opted for other business avenues, arguing that the construction industry was meant for the “big boys”.
By Staff Reporter
However, young entrepreneur Tamuka Chihota has taken the bull by its horns and established his own construction company — Frontline Contracting.
Chihota, a psychology graduate from the University of Zimbabwe, is the managing director of Frontline Contracting. He said his vision was to penetrate the global market.
“Our vision is to be a leading international construction company by safety and consistently delivering quality and innovative projects and services,” Chihota told The Standard Style.
“I realised that the construction industry was the only vehicle of elevating the well-being of young people like us, hence the decision to establish my own company.”
The young entrepreneur who had a brief stint in Dubai — a country regarded as the architectural hub of the world — believes his approach to business is different from others, especially traditional construction corporates.
“Our approach to business is different. We work with our clients from the start, thus we offer pre-construction services like assisting on plans, cost of materials and other things,” he said.
Frontline Contracting, despite having been established in 2014, has managed to grab lucrative contracts from big companies like CABS, FBC Bank, National Tyre Services, Old Mutual, Zimbabwe Power Company, OK Zimbabwe and Zinara.
“To date, those are some of our greatest achievements,” Chihota said. “However, our biggest letdown has been the tender system, which is not fairly adjudicated. There is no communication even if you have not been successful.”
“Our success is driven by our promise to deliver quality projects safely on time and within budget. We are known for building the most advanced facilities for our individual, corporate, institutional and government clients.”
Apart from building and construction, Frontline Contracting does shop fittings and civil work, including water and sewer reticulation, steel works, fencing, roads rehabilitation and water proofing.
Chihota said as young entrepreneurs, they were facing a plethora of challenges that included failure to secure financial support from banks, as well as lack of government support.
“Banks are reluctant to lend start-ups to young companies like us. On the other hand, government does not have any structures to support our programmes as young businesspeople,” he said.
The young businessman said the other challenge was that of brand loyalty.
“When it comes to construction, people think of big corporates, yet we have the requisite skills and expertise,” Chihota said.
Having worked for a big construction company in the country before, Chihota believes Frontline Contracting was a company for the future.
“We want to be a global and well-known brand in the construction industry. In five years’ time, we would like to be on the major stock exchanges in the world,” he said.
Chihota said Frontline Contracting had started making inroads into the regional market, having attended a number of expos in South Africa.
“We have gone to South Africa for various expos and this is one way of penetrating the regional market,” he said. “We have used such expos to link with colleagues in other countries and very soon we will be there.”
The company has contributed much towards community development. In December Frontline Contracting launched a football tournament in Chivero, Mhondoro-Ngezi where it donated soccer balls and bankrolled the four-team tournament to the tune of $1500.
“We are playing a part in the soccer development. Recently we launched the Frontline Contracting tournament in Mhondoro-Ngezi where we donated soccer balls. The company has also donated a soccer kit to Chitungwiza Football Club and soccer boots to another school in Kwekwe. We built some classroom blocks at Ruvheneko Secondary School in Ruwa where we told the school authorities to identify disadvantaged pupils that we can assist with school fees,” he said.
“We have also identified one pupil from Kambuzuma for whom we have started paying school fees from Form 1 up to Advanced level.”
The company has also partnered Zimbabwe Red Cross Society where they render free services to the humanitarian organisation’s risk management programmes.