Zimbabwe’s Empire Communications, a full- service public relations and communications agency, which specializes on the development and content management of new media tools wants to put young entrepreneurs on the map.
Empire Communications was founded and is wholly owned by Tawanda Chitiyo. I am inspired by a passion for new media projects, creative ideas, proven methodologies, strong media relations as well as flexibility, initiatives, and efficient execution. Also by the success stories of other young entrepreneurs who are broadening their horizons and opening up to limitless perspective.
TechMoran caught up with Chitiyo and he revealed his plans into the future of his firm below.
What exactly do you do?
We offer an integrated online, offline and mobile communications strategies. That includes marketing, advertising, awareness and promotion of goods and services using the mobile phone, internet (online) and outdoor LED screens (offline). The outdoor LED screen will be installed by the 2nd month of 2014 in Mutare, Zimbabwe’s fourth largest city.
Do you have any clients at the moment?
We have six confirmed clients but we have embarked on an aggressive door to door campaign mainly targeting small to medium scale retail enterprises (SME) and the response has been excellent. We have approximately 501 (SME, s) in Mutare. This figure is based on the number of valid shop licences with the City of Mutare Council. Most of these cannot afford traditional advertising and marketing methods so we offer them a cheaper alternative, in the form of direct targeted advertising on Facebook mobile and on Google. After the marketing campaign we will have a lot of clients.
Are you seed funded?
We haven’t yet have access to any form funding due to the economic environment that we are operating in. According to the 2014 World Bank’s Doing Business report Zimbabwe is ranked 170 out of 183 countries, meaning it is one of the countries where doing business is very difficult and expensive. Therefore making it unattractive for investors and funders.
Where do you think your company would have achieved in two years?
In 2 years we would have finished our ongoing drive to deliver fresh vigour to the IT industry in Zimbabwe. We plan to create a unique and personal connection to the digital world for all the people in the rural areas and farms. Create a larger market share, profitability and geographic spread.
Do you have any expansion plans?
2014 we plan to venture were no one has dared to venture that’s the rural areas, farms and all the marginalised areas. Introducing mobile web advertising, create interactive text messaging, conduct competitions and sell content. Sports betting, lottery style power ball and casino games on the mobile phone and online.
What would you tell the youth trying to start businesses?
Youths need to be persistent and patient especially in a patriarchal society like the one we are in were change is passionately resisted. Youths also need to embrace failure and learn from it and use it for our advantage.
Challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?
Mainly its legislation making it illegal for us to offer some services without a licence and the licences and application fees are very expensive. That’s also a one of the main reasons why we cannot get funding. But we always try to find loop holes that we exploit to work according to the law. Besides that we do not have any other challenges to write home about.