Mushonga shares secrets of success

Born in the United Kingdom to a Zimbabwean father and Seychellois mother, Rufaro Mushonga (35) has built on her family’s strong entrepreneurial background to establish a fast rising catering business .

Rufaro Mushonga: We all have to work harder than the next man or woman to be successful, regardless of gender.
Rufaro Mushonga: We all have to work harder than the next man or woman to be successful, regardless of gender.

She draws inspiration from her father, mother and sister – all successful business people.

“I am the last born daughter of Josiah and Nella Mushonga in a family of three daughters. One of my sisters is a Chartered Accountant and also runs two lodges and a Bakery Business in Concession in Bulawayo with her husband, while the other works in the health sector in the UK. I was born in Doncaster, England. We moved to Zimbabwe in 1980, and as a family, we have lived in Harare, Kwekwe and Mutare. My Father owns and runs a gold mining business, and my mother is a full-time couturier and runs a very successful business,” says Mushonga, who holds a Higher National Diploma in Marketing and Tourism.

Her company ProEvents was incorporated in 2007 for the purpose of planning and coordinating social and corporate events within the SADC region.

“We have since acquired invaluable experience in wedding and corporate event planning throughout the region. I started the company after nine years’ experience in the Hospitality Industry. My passion for events management motivated me to start my own business,” she said.

Mushonga also runs The Service Consultants, a company dedicated to service excellence.

Since its inception ProEvents has managed sustainability and financial independence.

Mushonga was quick to highlight challenges in business fraternity. “Every day in business brings with it new challenges to face and to conquer. The business environment is very competitive. The Events and Wedding Industry is a viable business in the country, as not a week, or a weekend goes by without several events taking place. These include exhibitions, conferences, seminars, workshops, customer services training, team building, cocktail parties, formal dinners, theme parties golf days, groups and Incentive Travel & Tours, Product Launches and re-branding events.”

She said the challenge was to convince potential new clients that they need her services to have a successful event. “You need to be disciplined and determined to get your goal in business,” added the soft-spoken businesswoman.

“ProEvents is my dream and my passion. I remain positive because I have committed my business to the Lord as he has commanded in His word. I run my business with the highest level of integrity.”

Mushonga also gave credit to her former boss at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Hazel Gumpo, who introduced her to the hotel and catering business. “Gumpo taught me about attention to detail and international event standards. Nigel Chanakira, who was one of my facilitators for Success Motivation International. He is a successful businessman, and he taught me the importance of living a balanced life, and that great things are accomplished step by step, little by little. There are also international authors who inspire me through their novels like Robert Kiyosaki, the author of ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, Gordon Ramsay of ‘The Lethal Chef’ with a passion for detail. He is a legend in kitchens and restaurants and Oprah Winfrey– Come on, every woman loves Oprah,” she said.

Mushonga disputes claims by many that local businesses are not trustworthy. “Indigenous businesses are perceived to be unreliable, untrustworthy and inexperienced, but this is an absolute lie. I have built my reputation slowly, I keep my references to hand, and I get testimonials and get networked in business. Sometimes I have had to offer complimentary services to prove my capability.”

She also aims to develop other people and create many employment opportunities for young people.

“I would like this business to continue to be sustainable without my full-time day to day involvement – being run by capable people that I will have trained. I have a passion for personal and corporate image building and would like to spend more of my time helping small to medium scale businesses to enhance their images and improve customer services,” she said.

Mushonga believes women must embrace equality programmes which will see them becoming more independent, rather than relying on their husbands or boyfriends.

“If women believe they have to work extra hard, or harder than a man does to be respected, they are embracing inferiority. We all have to work harder than the next man or woman to be successful, regardless of gender,” she urged.

She encouraged youths to pursue education as much as possible.

“Education is a vital tool, if you want to be recognized, and you have been given the resources, work hard and go as far as you can in the education system, get the necessary paperwork to be acknowledged in your career and in business. Not everyone has the resources to get a degree. Learn a skill, even if it means finding an internship that pays nothing. Learn a skill and use that skill to earn a living.

“Do not despise small beginnings. We all want to be multi-millionaires overnight. But we need to start small to grow big,” she concluded.

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