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COVID-19 a Blessing in Disguise for Emerging Entrepreneurs

COVID-19 was a blessing to a majority of emerging entrepreneurs in Hwange whose backyard shops are still operational to date. Image by StartupBiz

BY LETHOKUHLE NKOMO | @The_CBNews | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | NOV 2, 2022

For a majority of emerging entrepreneurs, the COVID-19 pandemic was nothing short of a blessing as many of them took advantage of the failure of established traders to provide goods on demand thereby establishing their own thriving small business which are in operation to date.

HWANGE (The Citizen Bulletin) — Mary Ngwenya (43) catches the earliest haulage truck to Bulawayo to buy basic commodities in bulk. She has opened her own backyard shop just behind the DRC bus terminus where she resides.

Her clientele includes DRC residents who find it difficult to go to town for groceries.

“Of course COVID-19 came with a number of sad tales and disadvantages, but to be precise, the pandemic helped me to launch my own small business,” she says.

Ngwenya who buys and sells basic commodities from Bulawayo launched her small business at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When there were travelling restrictions, I would still travel to Bulawayo using haulage trucks which were coming to ferry coal from Hwange to Harare.”
Mary Ngwenya, an entrepreneur

Lindani Sithole from Hwange Business Forum says the impact of COVID-19 was so strenuous that everyone wanted to come out with ideas for survival.

“Everyone became a vendor. If you notice in Empumalanga suburbs, something is being sold from every household and that also extends to rural areas. People would stock some small things and sell them. Some dealt in groceries, others in farm and garden products,” says Sithole.

“Some sell their products in cars, as they can quickly move if police come, wheelbarrows, push carts, markets are everywhere now,” adds Sithole.

ALSO READ: COVID-19 Strains Local Labour Market Further

Luckmore Ndlovu, a business expert, says the coming of the pandemic was a wakeup call for most entrepreneurs in Hwange.

“Those who opened shops and started online shops, still have running businesses in the mining town. COVID-19 was like a wakeup call for most of us in small and medium enterprises.”
Luckmore Ndlovu, business expert

As backyard shops continue to mushroom, local entrepreneurs are appealing to the Hwange Local Board to establish a market stall in Empumalanga suburbs.

The Hwange Local Board had promised to construct a state-of-the-art flea market using devolution funds but it is yet to do so.

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Dumisani Nsingo, the local authority’s spokesperson says construction of the market will commence soon.