American actress, talk show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey once said: “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
By Style Reporter
This fittingly describes how Zimbabwean entrepreneur Kudakwashe Chinya ditched his job in the hospitality industry to start his own bag-manufacturing company — Sky Bag.
Chinya, who was the first runner-up at the 2016 CBZ Holdings Youth Entrepreneurs Programme, told The Standard Style that the ingredients to success in business were passion, drive and vision.
“In my case, I was born with the desire to succeed. I am so passionate about what I do, that’s why I left my job in the hospitality industry to begin my own project,” he said.
The youthful businessman, who holds a degree in Hotel and Hospitality from Chinhoyi University of Technology, said the idea to start a bag-manufacturing company emanated from his rural upbringing.
“I grew up in the rural areas and I would see that most pupils in schools had no satchels or bags to carry their books. I realised that I could help a lot if I would manufacture cheaper bags to help those kids,” he said.
Chinya, said the belief in his vision coupled with hard work was the reason behind the success of his project.
“I started this project in 2007, but it became formal in 2016. There have been ups and downs, but because of my vision, I think we are getting there,” he said.
Chinya operates from premises along Harare’s Cameroon Street and has managed to clinch lucrative deals with schools, churches, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and corporates.
“It’s a dog-eat-dog kind of business, but one has to stay focused. I have managed to do business for a number of schools, churches, the corporate world and NGOs,” he said.
“We manufacture bags and brand them with logos for the respective organisations. In some cases, we also brand these bags with awareness messages like climate change, HIV and Aids, among others.”
Chinya said his small business was growing in leaps and bounds following his expanding network.
“I recently met with education authorities whom I briefed about my idea. They have given us the green light to do business with the schools, particularly those in rural areas and we will soon be supplying them with school bags at affordable prices,” he said.
“As for churches, we have engaged most organisations and we are doing a great job for them. We have even exported some of the church bags and our products are now all over the country.”
Chinya said his company was eager to engage charity organisations and NGOs.
“We would like to partner those doing charity work. We can help with the manufacturing and branding of bags at special offers,” he said.
The young businessman described the current business environment as working in their favour and said they would grab the opportunity.
“Yes, the current economic environment does not augur well with most of us, but at Sky Bag, we are grabbing this opportunity with both hands as we try to fill the gap created by the demise of big companies,” he said.
However, Chinya said like any business in Zimbabwe, Sky Bag was finding it difficult when it comes to sourcing materials and equipment.
“We have to import most of our material and equipment. Accessing foreign currency to purchase these is a mammoth task for small businesses like us,” he us.