Dr Charles Mazhude is the founder of Zambezi Medical. The company provides access to a range of healthcare services both in the UK and in Zimbabwe. Hundreds of Zimbabweans in the UK use Zambezi Medical to provide healthcare to their dependants in Zimbabwe. They can select from Zambezi Medical’s comprehensive range of services that includes Medical Aid packages, GP and Specialist consultations and prescription services through partner pharmacies. In addition, Zambezi Medical works directly with healthcare institutions in Zimbabwe to facilitate the provision of essential medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. Dr Mazhude has leveraged his experience in healthcare to develop this ground-breaking initiative. www.zambezimedical.com
1. What does this nomination at the Zim Achievers awards mean to you and your business?
This nomination is an honour and it means more than just recognition for me or the business even. This is really an opportunity to shine a spotlight on how we in the diaspora can be of service to loved ones in Zimbabwe by providing access to health services. It’s about stepping up and giving the gift of piece of mind. For me and the team at Zambezi Medical that is what really counts.
2. Are you familiar with some of the other nominees in your category and the other categories?
I believe that the private sector is key to strengthening and rebuilding Zimbabwe. We have seen it over the years and we will see it in the future. To be in a category of entrepreneurs, trailblazers in their individual fields is humbling indeed. Each of us, no matter our niche, is part of the growing community of dynamic Zimbabwean business people that can make a positive impact on our nation’s prospects for the future.
3. Why did you become an entrepreneur?
Zambezi Medical has really been about a drive to do something about a social issue. I recognised a gap and was driven to find an affordable and sustainable solution. We all know someone who’s life was cut short because they could not afford the medication let alone a visit to the doctor. I hope in some small way that Zambezi Medical can help families to have that access to health-care when they need it. That is what inspired me to start this business and that is what keeps me going, even when it gets hard. If we can help to save just one life then we must do that.
4. How would you describe your business?
It’s a work in progress and really my life’s work. Zambezi Medical is the perfect convergence of my education, my professional experience and my identity as a Zimbabwean. It is about using what i love and what i know to be of service to my community.
This business is about people, their lives, their health and transcending the geographical borders imposed by the diaspora to help each other in some small way.
5. How did you come up with your business idea?
Talking to Medical colleagues in Zimbabwe, it was clear that for some patients, the only way to access health-care was through the support of family members living abroad. On the other hand, those living in the diaspora needed assurance that their families could access care whenever they needed to. That was the opportunity.
6. What are the biggest challenges you faced starting up and how did you overcome them?
There are numerous challenges in starting any new venture; they are a necessary part of the process i feel. I have learnt to take each challenge as an opportunity to improve and do things differently. In all this, a strong team is essential. The support of my team has been critical at every stage.
7. How big is the business now?
We are a new business so our focus right now is on making sure we understand what our customers want from us. We have a small but dedicated team that works hard each day to help Zimbabweans achieve peace of mind.
8. What are the biggest challenges you face now?
We are working on letting people know that we are here. Getting the word out and building a reputation takes time but it is an investment we are willing to make because that is what will make the business grow and survive.
9. What advice would you give other Zimbabwean entrepreneurs starting out today?
Do your research, identify a niche, know your target market and your competition and then make a plan. Remember that reputation is everything – you can lose money and make money but your word and your reputations is priceless.
The Zim Achievers Awards are on the 9th of April at The Mermaid Conference & Events Centre in the City of London. For more information and tickets please visit the website.
Compiled by Quartz Marketing