Woman giving life to the hopeless

Zimbabwean woman based in United States Florence Mushusha (35) is changing the lives of young women by training them in entrepreneurial skills and offering them employment in her handicrafts boutique.

Florence Mushusha - I am in a trian and I belive I am moving together with all other women
Florence Mushusha – I am in a trian and I belive I am moving together with all other women

Using her skills that she acquired in March 2011 at the leadership conference for the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) in Washington, Mushusha is in the country running a series of workshops and training courses.

In 2010, Mushusha applied for a USADF grant and it was approved. Using the US$50 000 grant she founded the Florence Boutique and Handicrafts in 2011 that has a thriving shop in Mutare.

She another part of the grant to improve and expand the company's facilities, provide for business training and increased marketing.

Mushusha is also running the training workshops on entrepreneurial skills development to young women.

A breakthrough came when she used some of the funds to attend trade shows in New York and Germany.

"I am very honored to have attended the leadership conference. The opportunity was life changing for anyone, let alone a Zimbabwean female entrepreneur, with just a university level education, it was a great and wonderful achievement for me," she said recently in a sideline interview at a training workshop to women entrepreneurs in Mutare.

Some of the women attending a skills training workshop
Some of the women attending a skills training workshop

"It was my devotion and determination that kept my company going. By 2013, I had increased the number of my staff to eight females from just two," she said.

"I have various products and catalogues that include a broad range of products from intricate window curtains to decorated handbags that have an international appeal," she explained.

Her presence at trade shows in New York and Germany resulted in a dramatic increase in demand for her hand-crafted products.

Mushusha has won awards in USA and Nepal, and her products are now sold internationally.

"I also have many local and international tourists buying my handicrafts in my shop in Mutare City centre and it is quite encouraging," she said.

In 2012 she announced a partnership with American designer Rachel Roy; the collection is exclusively featured in select Macy's stores.

The self-taught business mogul inspires hundreds of women and young-adults in her hometown, Mutare – many of whom are widows or orphans – to think about their own dreams.

"Since founding my business I have helped improve the lives of those who once said they "have no future," by employing many and training many more," she said.

Among all of her awards and accomplishments, changing lives – especially the lives and role of women – is what she is most proud of.

She said her ambition was to continue working towards a future in which men and women have equal investments and power in Zimbabwe.

She said, "I am on the train. I might be in the third class, but I am on the train. While I am on the train I can move towards first class.

I am doing something for women and I believe we are moving together in the right direction."

One of the beneficiaries, Cathrine Mlambo (26) of Mutare said: "She has inspired us a lot. Through her words and example she inspires all her employees including me and other women who are attending her trainings."

Mushusha said she plans to expand her business and trainings to other areas and the provinces in Zimbabwe.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *