Case study: The Clean City business model

Case study: The Clean City business model

As an entrepreneur, if someone asks you, “How does the Clean City or a similar ‘Uber type’ business model actually make money?” would you be able to take a pen and paper to explain how it works? This week I have asked the CEO of Clean City, one of our companies in Harare, to do just that.

First the backstory: Do you remember how this all started? The local authority of a city with a population of over 5 million announced that they were battling to collect garbage. Garbage began to mount up everywhere. It was creating a health hazard.

Entrepreneurs began to emerge in the rich neighborhoods and also for large businesses. Only problem is that these entrepreneurs did not have the capacity or resources for a city-wide solution…

__Our executives at Vaya Logistics then saw an opportunity to provide that solution.

The solution they came up with is basically made up of two well-known business models that I have discussed here before:

# The Franchising Model:

Problem: Most existing waste management contractors were small operations, and could not handle more than 500 homes per week because they did not have capital and vehicles. Solution: we decided to help “capacitate” them.

To do this, we carefully selected around 20 such companies and turned them into “Franchisees”, each assigned a specific geographic area. We give them training and equipment to expand their operations. We also have monitors to check their work. They collect the garbage and we provide them vehicles, marketing, and payment collection.

# The Shared Economy Model:

We provide trucks on demand using our Vaya Trucks. Our truck partners provide 10 tonne trucks which are then retrofitted to carry garbage.

Like any start-up company, Clean City faced a few challenges:

#1. The City Authority was still sending out bills to people even though they were no longer collecting garbage.

Rather than shout and scream, we approached them with a proposition: “Let’s work together. We will give you a share of the revenue on the collections. It’s not right for you to bill people when you don’t provide the service.”

So we proposed a formula where the truck owner gets the highest percentage, followed by the Franchisee, with City of Harare and Clean City getting the remainder commensurate with the cost drivers. To ensure that streets and public places would be kept clean, 5% of the revenue goes to the Community Environmental Service (CES) fund.

#2. More than half of Harare’s 500,000 households cannot afford to pay for garbage collection. So what were we to do?

We created what are known as “Drop Off Zones” in these communities where people can simply drop off the garbage for a token fee and we will collect from there.

To clean up public areas like streets, each Franchisee is required to deploy people who are paid from the CES fund. Over 500 people are deployed for this work every day!

We also introduced “Material Recovery Centres” where each Franchisee must sort out the waste to remove things like plastic and eWaste. This is to create jobs for people who scavenge on the garbage dumps.

The work of cleaning the city is actually being done by over 200 small businesses:

# The Franchisees employ the people who collect the garbage from each home and business.
# These small businesses each employ about 100 people. And there are 20 of them.
# The trucks are owned by independent truckers, and there are 200 trucks employing 400 people.
# Clean City itself employs over 30 people.

Just imagine the number of jobs in this model?!

From the outset, Clean City Africa worked hand in hand with community leaders such as Residents’ Associations and local councillors. Together we cleared illegal dumps and got residents engaged in cleaning.

Even the Environmental Management Authority (a central government agency) participated fully in this initiative.

What’s that in your hand?

__The Clean City Digital Platform allows customers to schedule and pay for garbage pick-up! The Franchisee assigned to the area collects the garbage and gets paid through the platform. It’s that simple!

Do you see how, by tackling this problem with an entrepreneurial mindset, using technology and proven business models, Clean City is now delivering a solution in a way that involves partnership and visionary support of people across one city, whilst cleaning up the environment and creating jobs?

This is my challenge to all the young entrepreneurs on this platform!

Since the launch of the platform, cities across Africa have been asking us to expand our operations. We will start scaling it up later this year.

I have said here before: the environment must be protected and there’s not a moment to waste… but for #entrepreneurs, this can mean venture opportunities, too.

What are YOU doing? Let’s talk.


Image caption: Check out the website to find out more:

Author:Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.

47 Replies to “Case study: The Clean City business model”

  1. Afterthought 2.
    Clean City is a business of Vaya Logistics which offers trucks on demand in much the same way that Uber offers cars. Our truck owners get 30% for every pick up of garbage. It’s a very nice business for a truck owner because it is guaranteed business on a long-term basis. Check it out and see what you think!

  2. Afterthought 3.
    A franchisee operator who used to collect from 800 homes can now collect from 25,000 homes per week! They don’t have to invest in trucks, and other equipment. We guarantee them customers and payment. What need do you see in your own community that can be #Solved by the Shared Economy Business Model?

  3. Afterthought 4.
    Almost every company in the country uses Clean City. We sell plastic, paper and eWaste materials to recyclers and have decommissioned over 600 dump sites!

    Do you have similar projects in your own communities led by #entrepreneurs? Let’s talk and learn from each other. The future of the earth for our children and grandchildren depends on … us!

  4. #Reflection

    I have told this story before: There was once a young man who was negotiating a deal at an expensive restaurant in SA. At the end of the meeting he realized he did not have enough money to pay. so he approached the owner with a proposal:

    “I have just closed the deal of my life. I’m going to be a millionaire. I can give you shares, and make you very rich!”

    The restaurant owner refused, and demanded his money. The embarrassed young man had to send for money from his mother. Years later the young man returned to the restaurant driving a freshly minted Ferrari. He had made it big!

    “Do you remember me?” he asked the old man.

    “Yes of course. You are the kid who wanted to give me shares in your business.”

    “You could have become a millionaire, man!”

    Then the old man said: “Son, that night I knew you would be rich for sure. But I made the right decision. I’m a very happy man. I have what I want. I’m so happy for you, and I hope this will help you become wise.”

    There are lessons in this for those who would be wise, rather than those who simply want to be seen as smart.

  5. #Pause:

    In order to develop @Clean City, we ‘reverse engineered’ the Coding for Uber Eats!

    In an ‘Uber type’ car service, there are two partners serving the customer; Uber and the Driver.

    In Uber Eats there are three partners serving the customer;
    Uber, the deliverer, and the Restaurant.

    In Clean City there are four partners serving the customer:
    The truck owner;
    The Waste Management Franchisees;
    The City Council.

    Our Coding Team studied Uber Eats, and then applied the same Coding principles!

  6. #Pause:
    More details on how @Clean City operates:

    The City of Harare was divided into 10 Franchise Zones. The Franchisee is allocated a zone to clean. Every morning the Clean City App, allocates trucks to each zone [on average there are 20 trucks per zone].
    The “Accounting Officer” sits next to the driver with a Smartphone that tells the driver where to go, and stop. Once garbage is collected, the Accounting Officer deducts payment for the collection using EcoCash Mobile Money!
    The money is divided by the App in accordance with their share.
    The system is self auditing, and we know exactly where each of the 200 trucks is in real time!

    As Clean City, we only have one asset:
    The App!
    We can manage collection in 500,000 homes per week, if necessary.

    This is the digital age guys!

  7. #Pause:

    The engineer in charge of @Clean City innovation is a 20 year veteran of Econet called Gavin Manning. He joined me when I first moved to South Africa.

    He is the same guy I sent with Lovemore to respond to Cyclone Idai.

    I asked Gavin to see whether we can build a biogas electrical generator using waste from the staple diet [ Maize Meal, meat, and vegetables]
    He has already designed the system, and has issued tenders to international companies to build phase one of the plant!

    Yes! We know exactly how much “Sadza” is thrown away, and we are going to use it to generate 10MW of electricity. Thousands of homes will get power when it is commissioned.

    “De is monè in dat garbage!”

  8. Aweko Faith writes,

    My name is Aweko Faith, founder Reform Africa a social venture that tranforms plastic waste polythene bags into fashionable, sustainable and durable school bags.

    The Plastic waste disposal in Uganda is increasing. It is estimated that 600 tons of plastic are disposed off in Uganda daily.

    Kampala city alone accounts for the vast chunk of plastic waste, which is littered all over the city and clogging the sewage systems. About 51% of the plastic garbage in the city is left uncollected and ends up in drainage channels, wetlands, natural water sources, manholes, undeveloped plots and on the roadside. In the rural areas, it is a sad story; plastic garbage in most cases left to decompose on its own.

    Production starts from collecting the plastic bags from dumpsites. This is done by a team of 10 Single Mothers who we pay a fair rate compared to what middlemen pay. More than 100kg of plastic is collected every month.

    My reply,
    I hope that Lovemore and Gavin can find a way to integrate what you are doing.
    Perhaps we can help you set up your business as one of the Franchisees!

  9. Austin Uzim,

    Dear Austin,
    Thank you for your pitch.
    As you know I have great respect for you, and I know you are going to succeed.

    With respect to @Clean City:

    #1. @Clean City is part of Vaya Logistics/Trucks.
    It does not make enough money as an independent business to justify it expanding into another market like Nigeria, until the whole business of Vaya arrives in Nigeria.
    When we come to Nigeria, we will be looking for Franchise Partners, and we will include you.

    #2. It will take a lot of capital to tackle a market like Nigeria. We cannot just plunge in. We have to approach it very strategically.
    We have other pressing priorities such as Sasai, which is a much bigger initiative for our group.

  10. #Reflection:

    By the turn of this century when many of you on this platform will still be alive, more than 2bn Africans will be living in cities.
    The world’s largest cities will most probably all be African, with Lagos expected to become the largest city in the world by 2050!

    Waste Management and Sanitation are amongst the many challenges that city authorities and entrepreneurs will have to address.

    It will take courage to tackle these challenges.
    God help us if we fail..we cannot afford to fail!

  11. Milimo Zumbunu writes,

    Questions :
    1. the drop off zones were residents that are unlikely to afford, do they have full time staff ?
    2. What’s to stop a resident from these areas from dumping without pay ? ( what’s the incentive for them ?)
    3. Are the workers paid direct from the CES or from the franchisée? Thanks a lot for the idea l, my plan is to learn as much as possible from the model in a practical sense. It will be a good template for my thought process in the future.
    Thanks again

    My reply,

    #1. Each community has a Drop Off Zone, for those who cannot afford to pay for home collection.
    They are manned by full time staff. The workers there are paid from the token fees for Drop Off.

    #2. It is illegal not to dispose of Waste through official channels.
    People who dump will be fined.
    There are volunteers in each community to monitor dumping.

    #3. The greatest incentives come from a community that wishes to live in a clean environment. That is why we engage the Residents Association.

    #4. If you own a home in a community, you will know that the biggest contributor to the Market Value of a property is cleanliness of its environment.
    This is why Clean City not only collects from homes, but also pays for street cleaning, and public areas like bus stops and shops.
    #5. The CES workers are paid by the Franchisee who is then reimbursed.

    The success or failure of this type of model is the Community itself. They must appreciate living in an clean environment and want to do something about it.
    The people of Harare are determined to see their city restored to its Sunshine City status. This is why it is working.

  12. #Clean City Model attracts global attention:

    The Clean City Model that we are implementing has been attracting global attention from philanthropists, donors, and City Officials from African cities.
    Several of them have actually visited the city or requested our officials to visit them.

  13. #Clean City started as a campaign to fight Cholera:

    Many people have forgotten that Clean City started as an initiative to fight a Cholera outbreak that killed more than 50 people:

    #.1 Lovemore Nyatsine an Econet executive was sent as a volunteer to help clean up the garbage that was responsible for the the disease [experts said that sewage and waste was making its way into the wells that people in slums used for drinking water]:
    Lovemore hired hundreds of young people to collect all the waste and decommissioned Dump Sites.

    To avoid a repetition of the collection of waste he organized the young people into a cooperative that continued the work. We pay those young people.
    We keep that area clean for free even to this day.
    We cannot afford another Cholera outbreak in the city.

  14. #Clean City is also an “audit trail”:

    Since we know where every Clean City truck is in @RealTime, it means the platform has an audit trail:
    #1. We know where each truck went, and stopped, as well as the number of bags collected from each home.
    #2. We know which homes in a city did not release waste, which means they are disposing in an illegal manner.
    This endangers the health of a city.

    Local authorities can use the @Clean City platform to manage the end to end collection, even with their own vehicles, as drivers can be notoriously wayward.
    They can also manage contractors and employs who basically defraud them.

    #3. Payments are done on a Prepaid basis, using a transparent tariff.

    #4. Every citizen knows the times of collection of waste.
    This too is important to prevent disease outbreak.

  15. #ShoutOut!

    Mansur Sani

    Good day our able mentor and Father of Africa’s Entrepreneurial Journey Elder Strive Masiyiwa.Today marks the United nations international day for Mother tongue and it will not go without a mention of the great hindsight of making our Sasai app Speaks Over 50 languages the world over.This is quite an achievement,and I believe many are underway.
    I have perused the Hausa version and it made me excited.The translation was great.,though I have noticed some minor corrections and adjustments.

    My reply,
    It is indeed an important event, and we had planned around it.

  16. #Reflection:

    How much does it cost to set up a business model like @Clean City?

    For more than six months Clean City has collected waste from over 250,000 homes, every week for FREE!

    We as Vaya still paid the truck owners, and the Franchisees, as well as the hundreds of people that clean the streets, from our own pockets.

    We identified over 600 dump sites around the City; we hired trucks, bulldozers, and cleared them all, for FREE!

    The home owners probably thought we were doing it on behalf of the City Council, who had continued to bill them. But that was NOT the case, at all!

    The City Council Leadership then met and decided that they would prefer a partnership in which they worked with us, and our 250 partners.
    This is a first for Africa. Now many across the continent are clamoring for a similar model.

    The City leaders and Clean City, now speak openly of challenging Kigali for the crown of Africa’s cleanest city!

    Is this a template of how we can all tackle problems in future?

  17. #Pause:

    Never stop innovating!

    Remember, the principle of entrepreneurship, I taught you a few weeks ago, called @Pivoting?

    When you see an opportunity to use the business model or assets you have to deliver another product?

    In Africa, piped water is a dream experienced in just a few cities. Entrepreneurs from Lagos, Dakar, Nairobi, and even Harare have long moved in to “meet the need”.

    The Clean City Digital platform is perfect for delivering water to the very same homes and businesses where we collect waste!

    Lovemore and his team quickly asked the Vaya coders to include water delivery. This time we are working with Private water delivery companies to expand their capacity, and give them easier market access to our customers.

    Which do you think is the bigger revenue driver?
    (1) waste management
    (2) water delivery?

    “Innovation makes money. Everything else is cost”

    Oh how I wish all Africa’s young people would be entrepreneurs through innovations!

  18. Sospeter G Mumbi writes,

    This is such a good model but not in Kenya and particular Nairobi where cartels are more concerned about their stomach rather than the well-being of the entire citizen.

    My reply,
    My mother would have rebuked you with these words:
    “Don’t fear from a distance”.

    Even before you have looked into something, you are already thinking of every possible obstacle.
    Do you think there would be businesses like Uber, if the founders had considered obstacles from cartels.
    They were just kids, but they faced the challenges.
    There is no entrepreneur who does not face obstacles.
    As for me:
    I eat cartels for breakfast;
    I feast on monopolies;
    I snack on the bones of the corrupt.
    Let’s get going:
    Remember these words:
    “If you have been wearied by the footman, what will you do about the fighter who comes against you on a horse?”

    There are entrepreneurs who will do Nairobi, Lagos, and Johannesburg!
    Bring it on!

  19. #Franchising in the Shared Economy Digital Age:

    As you examine this Business Model [which is why I wrote about it], you should be seeing how we blended two business models:
    #1. Franchising;
    #2. Shared Economy [sometimes referred to as “gig economy”].

    The guys who developed businesses like Uber, AirBnB, and other “gig economy” models were actually upgrading the Franchise Model developed by the likes of McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.

    In this case study, I wanted you to focus on understanding Business Models [hence my title].

    A serious investor who wants to put money into your business needs to be comfortable that you are a competent entrepreneur, who knows the “craft skills of the game”. You are not just a guy who thinks soccer is kicking around a round ball!
    You are a player!
    If an investor asks you to discuss Clean City, you should be able to discuss it using the language of the entrepreneur, and not the language of a man in the street!

  20. Russells Enogha writes,

    Sir, What caught my attention is the accounting officer who sits next to the driver.
    My question: what makes the accounting officer so important? Is it as a result of the digital literacy level of the drivers or for reasons of accountability?

    My reply,
    You cannot have a truck driver navigating a huge truck, whilst having a Smartphone in his hand.

  21. #Pause:
    Study the Business Model, as an entrepreneur and make sure you fully understand it!

    @Clean City does not have a contract with the local authority, and it does not get paid by the local authority!

    The local authority had already stopped collecting waste because they had no money. So why would we enter a contract with someone who says they have no money?
    In this model, @Clean City collects directly from the consumer, through its Digital Platform, which includes mobile money. It then distributes the money to the 250 service providers, who are the owners of the Trucks, and the Franchisees. They actually get the bulk of the money; @Clean City gets a 20% commission income, and gives an equal share to the local authority.

    We had to design a Business Model that made sure that our Franchisees and Truck owners get paid, as well as ourselves.

    Don’t rush into contracts with parties that don’t have money, because you will end in tears!

  22. Caesar Ngonda writes,

    I cant for this to come to my country.

    My reply,
    That is not the mindset I want you to develop.
    I put it up because I wanted you to study closely business models, as an entrepreneur.
    It is important for two reasons:

    #1. You might be able to use it in your own business strategy,
    #2. Your understanding of such things, might be able to persuade an investor that you are skilled in the craft side of entrepreneurship.
    Investors are not just interested in your business idea, but most importantly they want to know that you understand how entrepreneurs turn ideas into successful businesses.

    I might never bring @Clean City to you country [you did not tell me, which it is], BUT, if one day we should meet, I want to hear how you used this Disruptive Business Model to develop an exciting business.

    Now go do it!

  23. J. James writes,

    Now,this money that is given to the local authority, how is it categorized? Tax? Or which? Why are they paid? The community Fund kit would be best for this monies…

    My reply,
    They own the dump sites, and they they need money to carry out their own role in waste management, which goes beyond collection.

  24. Thembisile Mlambo Mutlanyana writes,

    Hmm… Never stop innovations… Water delivery generates the bigger revenue because water it’s a basic need… obviously one cannot leave without water a day…

    My reply,
    If you answered like that before a panel of investors, they would fail you immediately!
    It was a trick question which investors use to test first time entrepreneurs!
    The answer is always to say “all industries have the same opportunity. I would have to study the numbers and appreciate the Business Model to answer this question correctly”.
    Don’t fall for a trick like that!
    We are in the senior class now.

  25. Justus Kalungu writes,

    This is nice,I think you guys should extend your services to Nairobi city,largest in East Africa yet choked by garbage

    My reply,
    As an entrepreneur you SHOULD NOT say “I think you guys should extend your services to Nairobi City, largest in East Africa yet chocked by garbage”.

    Rather you SHOULD ask:
    “Is there a way I can license this platform to use it in one of my own markets? “
    And if I say “No”, then you would say “is there a way I can build something similar, after all there is no patent in this.”
    I don’t tell you these things so you can just admire, but so that you can acquire entrepreneurship insights applicable in any type of business.”

    If you happen to be already in Waste Management, you might want to examine how this model works.

    When I was a young entrepreneur, I would have studied this model, over and over again for Insights.

    We study to do!

  26. Justus Kalungu writes,

    This is nice,I think you guys should extend your services to Nairobi city,largest in East Africa yet choked by garbage

    My reply,
    As an entrepreneur you SHOULD NOT say “I think you guys should extend your services to Nairobi City, largest in East Africa yet chocked by garbage”.

    Rather you SHOULD ask:
    “Is there a way I can license this platform to use it in one of my own markets? “
    And if I say “No”, then you would say “is there a way I can build something similar, after all there is no patent in this.”
    I don’t tell you these things so you can just admire, but so that you can acquire entrepreneurship insights applicable in any type of business.”

    If you happen to be already in Waste Management, you might want to examine how this model works.

    When I was a young entrepreneur, I would have studied this model, over and over again for Insights.

    #SEVERAL SMART ENTREPRENEURS HAVE ALREADY REACHED OUT TO VAYA AFRICA [not to me, because I don’t do business on behalf of our companies]

    If you are an entrepreneur, you don’t admire, and comment:


    Remember this is the last year of this class, and I’m also impatient to ensure you get it, before it is too late!

    I want you to prosper through the tools of entrepreneurship!

  27. #Pause:


    Young entrepreneurs in the US follow their own entrepreneurs by listening to Podcasts like #Business Wars, #How I Built This, #Masters of Scale, and many others.

    It is much cheaper to listen to all this material than to send one single What’s App message!
    That is correct!
    It is a fraction of the cost of watching a single YouTube show!

    Last night as I boarded a long haul flight, I downloaded several episodes of HOW I BUILT THIS. It took me just seconds, and then I listened as I passed through the airport.

    I listened to the one on a young guy who set up a sandwich making business called Panera, which is now worth $7bn!

    I also listened to one of my favorite entrepreneurs of all time, Michael Dell.

    I managed to finish the latest #Business War episode between Nintendo and Sony!

    The insights I picked up were just priceless, and to think it cost me a few Kobos or cents!

  28. #Reflection:

    Why I bottle Coca-Cola in Zimbabwe:

    I have urged you all over the years to “stay in your lane, by pursuing a singular passion, in a business area, where you @Knowledge Up like no one else at it.”

    And yet I have one business, which is an “outlier” [different from the others] my Coca-Cola bottling franchise in Zimbabwe’s Manicaland Province.

    I felt I need to give you an explanation:

    Many of you know the story of my long legal battle to get my mobile license. The legal team of people like Tawanda Nyambirai, Antony Eastwood, Nic Rudnick, are now well known.
    But all these guys worked for a firm called Kantor and Immerman, a legal firm owned by two Zimbabweans who happened to be Jewish.
    They were patriotic Zimbabweans who loved their country so, so deeply.

    When I ran out of money to pay the legal fees, they agreed with their families to continue to support me without payment. They would often invite me to have lunch with them, their wives, and partners at the firm such as Tawanda Nyambirai, Beatrice Mtetwa, Shelby Hwacha, and Canaan Dube, to name a few.

    Fast Forward:
    When I left Zimbabwe 20 years ago [this March], Harry Kantor [the senior partner] called me on the phone and asked to come and see me in SA. He told me about a new law called “Indigenization” which was being passed:
    “As Jewish Zimbabweans we fear this will strip us of our property, by forcing us to sell to people, or just give away shares to political hacks.”

    I had never seen him so sad.

    “How can I help? You know the guys in power hate my guts.”

    “I know,” he added, “but I think you can still help.”
    “I have a member of my community who prefers that you buy majority in his business to comply with this law. He lives alone in the East.
    You can afford to give him a fair price for majority. And you be his partner. That is what he wants.“

    It was a difficult request but I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do.

    I did not hesitate even though it broke my golden rule, not to stray from my lane as a telecoms – tech guy.

    I bought the shares in a business I did not know, or ever visited to this day.
    I told Harry to do the deal at whatever price he thought was fair.

    I also told my new partner,
    “anytime you want to buy me out, we can do the deal at the original price.”
    I never saw it as my business; I was just a custodian to fulfill righteousness demands.

    When the law was reported dropped by the new government, I called him and asked if he wanted to buy back the business, but he declined, saying he loved our arrangement.

    Harry Kantor died over Christmas, and I mourned him dearly. He was like a father to me…
    There are some truly good people out there. Find them, and let them find you.

  29. #Reflection:

    I learnt about Franchising by studying McDonald’s and Coca-Cola:

    By now many of you have listened to the #Business Wars Coca-Cola Vs Pepsi, and McDonald’s Vs Burger King.

    More than 30 years ago:
    Yes, 30 years ago!!
    I decided to study Coca-Cola and McDonald’s in order to understand the @Business Model they apply: Franchising!
    There was no Amazon books, or #Business Wars Podcasts. I had to do it the hard way!
    I remember research books on these two companies. Then I ordered the books. Sometimes I would bring them back in my suitcases [often paying duty because books are heavy].

    What you learn from one simple Podcast, I took years!
    And the cost to you?
    Probably about 50 cents in Data Bundle!
    Amazing! Amazing! Amazing!

    Have you listened to this stuff on #Business Wars?!

    Makes me want to cry tears of joy for you!

  30. #Business Models Matter!

    The coach of a soccer team knows that it’s not just about having good talented players, but also knows the power of the formation that he applies on the field. It outweighs the talent of the team.

    A good entrepreneur, like a Master Coach, must know about the #Business Model, or even models, that she and her competitor must apply to win in the market to achieve:

    For you and I to sit down to discuss business over lunch, would you really be able to discuss “coach to coach”?
    #Up you game by @KnowledgingUp!

  31. Austin Uzim writes,

    There is a story about the weaver bird.

    I have closely watched weaver birds start their nest construction project. Throughout the day, small pieces of grass are gathered and brought to the construction site.

    Day after day, the building project goes on with incongruous whistling producing melodious songs or note-ably so. Each note reminding the weaver birds that a healthy competition makes good neighbourhood.

    lt makes little sense from the initial stages what a weaver bird is up to, but with time, the idea becomes meaningful. With continued commitment, hardwork and focus on the end product, what appeared ordinary from inception becomes a magnificent piece of artistry. A master piece!

    l am inspired by the wisdom of the weaver bird when the ordinary idea is converted into greatness. The wisdom of the weaver bird has it that nothing beats a man who is committed to a worthy cause.

    Even if the world misunderstands the initial stages, keep at your game. Commit to it day and night. lt will make sense to them shortly.


    What entrepreneurial lessons have you picked from this anecdote?

    My reply,
    This is wise!

    It reminds me about when we launched Sasai [when the weaver bird gathered the first blades of grass]:
    Do you remember the comments of the Twitterata?
    They went something like this:

    #The Weaver Bird cannot build a nest; that should be left to Eagles from America, or China?

    #The Weaver Bird does not have the experience for this, it can only be done by big birds.

    #Since when does an African bird build a nest?

    #Why can’t you build like the Swallow?

    “End of March I will have you a nest”, said the Weaver bird, as she Whistled away!

  32. Scolar Meela writes,

    I need this job how can i get?

    My reply,
    Here we train entrepreneurs to start their own business or Not For Profit Enterprise.
    Maybe you can join one of us. You are really welcome.

  33. #I used Franchising to drive my mobile business!

    Having studied Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, I was determined to introduce the Business Model to my Mobile Business:
    I introduced the concept of the “Franchise Shop”.
    Even though all the Econet Shops looked the same, I only owned the “Flagship Stores”.
    My Franchisees, including a famous cricketer at the time, owned the other shops across the country.
    It meant I could drive my sales through “hungry” entrepreneurs rather than employed staff.

    “How can they know, if they have not been taught? And how can they be taught, if they do not have a teacher [with practical experience of what it takes]?”
    ~Paul of Tarsus [paraphrased]

  34. Mohamd Saydi writes,

    People who post GIFs and jokes, every time others are engaged in a serious conversation, are like toddlers seeking attention when they see adults talking.
    You are not a toddler, so don’t act like one.

  35. #Business Model Matters!

    EcoCash is the most successful Franchisee/SharedEconomy model I ever conceived:

    #. There are almost 100,000 franchisees in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Burundi.
    #. The actual cash used in the transaction belongs to the Franchisee.
    #The Franchisee owns the physical assets [the store and the money] used in the transaction;
    #The Franchisor owns the digital platform that brings the customer to the Franchisee, and enables the transaction.

    You deal with platforms like this on a day to day basis, and probably never stopped to think that someone deliberately crafted a #Business Model:

    Yes, we sat to design a Franchise/SharedEconomy Model. We shared articles, and papers on the issue just like MBA students do with a CaseStudy!

    Don’t bumble around on these issues:
    What is your “business model”~every business MUST have one, even if the owners are not conscious of it!

  36. #Business Model Matters!

    Let me show you another example:

    When we bought a small bank called TN Bank in Zimbabwe. It was operating in a typical commercial banking model which involved building nationwide branches. There were about 25 such branches.


    We shut down the branches, and introduced an “Agency Model” [another way of franchising sales, and distribution]:
    Overnight we had hundreds of branches without the “C”!
    Sales went up, costs came down.
    Biggest bank by customers!

    You drive Innovation!
    We rebranded as Steward Bank, and drove a marketing campaign.

    So when I buy a business I study its #Business Model, and draw up a list of changes based on:
    I look at how the “3Ps” work or can be improved. Usually a good hunting ground!

    “profit is good”!
    ~Richard Quest of CNN.

  37. Austin Uzim writes,

    Six years ago in 2014, Chief wrote on MFP about reading skill. Take a listen in case you missed it.

    “You should know by now that continuous reading, and study is part of my approach to everything I do:
    “Good leaders are readers. They are always current, on best practice, in their industry and their field.”
    The other day, I was going through my library of books, and I noticed something very interesting:
    1. Most of my books, are on entrepreneurship and business issues.
    2. Most of my business books, are on management related issues.
    3. I do not borrow books; I buy them. You are not serious about an issue until you pay something for it (Prov 23:23).

    Try always to know the “best practice”. Always ask yourself:
    “What is the current, and best practice in this area”? Things are always changing, and what was a good approach, a few years ago, may have been superseded. This is particularly so, in management, and business leadership. If you do not do this, you and your organisation will become inefficient and uncompetitive”.

    ~Strive Masiyiwa

    My reply,
    Thank you Austin!

  38. Dumoluhle Dube writes,

    My name is Dumoluhle Dube from Zimbabwe am a social entrepreneur could I kindly send you my business model so you could give me feedback . I have had this business idea for a while but have failed to implement it am not sure where am missing it.

    Thank you

    My reply,
    With respect Dumoluhle; never approach anyone [including me] and ask them to do the work for you. As much as I love you [and I do], it is asking a lot that I should perhaps spend hours reviewing only your business. It is unreasonable, and if you make a habit of unreasonable demands, others will shun you.

    Rather present yourself as one who is ready to do the actual work:

    Look at the man Austin Zim of Nigeria [ and many others on this platform]; they have read EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER WRITTEN INCLUDING COMMENTS. THEY HAVE STUDIED IT, AND KEPT STUDIOUS RECORDS.

    They and they alone will take the 7 years of my work on this platform, and turn it into a platform for their own success.
    It will not be those I touched, or shook hands with, but those who STUDIED TO DO!

    I have answered every question in your mind, and even those you have not asked.
    The class is almost done!

    I actually hate it, when people say things:
    “I want to inbox you my business plan”.
    It’s like saying to the teacher:
    “I need to send you my homework, so you can do it for me”!

    When people do that I usually ignore them hoping that in time they will learn:
    “No one owes me a living in life”.

  39. #Role Models for women entrepreneurs!

    Whilst I love #Business War Podcasts, as a father of budding young women entrepreneurs, I was a bit disappointed by the absence of #Business Wars led by women.
    There are only three [I will give a #ShoutOut to the first person to point them out].
    Anyway, there are a number of great stories of women entrepreneurs on other Podcast entrepreneurs. When I find them I discuss them with my daughters.
    Last night I listened to the story of a young woman who set up an amazing business called MM LaFleur. She was interviewed on NPR’s #How I built this!
    Another “Rockstar” for me is Sarah Blakely founder of Spanx. My wife and I are friends with Sarah.
    Please find her interview and tell me what you think. Ladies only please!

    Finally, I listened a couple of months ago to a Podcast on probably the greatest black woman entrepreneur of all time:
    Madam CJ Walker [XX Factor: American Innovations]:
    Her story will blow your socks off!
    Given the “degree of difficulty” she had to overcome, she could be one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time!

    These stories show you how ordinary people just like you, and me, overcome extraordinary obstacles without access to banks or governments, and built businesses.
    You can do it too!

    “How can they know, if they have not been taught? And how can they be taught, if they have no teacher?”

  40. #The Cheapest way to increase the value of your property:

    Many people in Africa really appreciate the value of property as a form of investment. And yet few people appreciate that the easiest way to enhance the value of your property is keep its environment clean.

    A clean City is not just about our public health, it is also our wealth.

    A property that is surrounded by waste is next to worthless.

    Anyone who believes that they should not pay to get waste disposed properly is not ready to own property in a community.

    In Singapore, if you so much as throw away a piece of paper, people will come up to you, and ask you to pick it up!

    In New York, if you take your dog for a walk you must carry a plastic bag to pick up its waste, even if you are a billionaire [and they all do it very gladly].

    Who is willing to take responsibility for this?

    “If not me, then who? If not now, then when?”

    Should be your mantra!

  41. Tafadzwa Chiponde writes,

    I stay in Chiredzi town i Zimbabwe and we have a challenge with garbage collection the council only has one truck to collect waste in the whole town and is very ineffective how can we benefit from this clean-city franchise

    My reply,
    If you want to make money as an entrepreneur, then find a solution for this so called “challenge”.
    Other young Africans across African cities have taken inspiration from what we did in Harare [which was my intention]:
    They don’t need me to come to their cities; instead they are @Fast Following the model.
    I will be so happy to see them create their own @Clean City, because I cannot go everywhere in Africa.

    I have told you EVERYTHING you need, but I cannot give you the will; that comes only from you!

  42. Amanda-mercy Tsiga writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa I realised that tooo !!! My brothers on the platform have beaten me in identifying the ones on business wars. Last week I listened to Madam CJ. Walker : American innovations twice. I loved it. Great inspiration for us girls . I found myself thinking : her struggles were very similar to my struggles as a girl . If she could do it , I definitely can too . When you recommended we listen to business wars, I started with the Coke and Pepsi. When I got to the episodes with Mrs Nooyi I got hooked even more!!

    My reply,
    You are one of my great students. Keep commenting!

    Mrs Nooyi and I are great friends. Last year we were both honored with doctorates at Yale University.
    I once travelled with her to see President Obama at Camp David.
    She is just amazing.

  43. #Pause:

    This is your chance to launch a business in the digital era:
    Don’t miss it!

    As you reflect on the @Clean City Business Model, I want you to begin to think about what other services one could address using a similar approach:

    #1. @Clean City is a “home collection” service:
    So what else could you deliver or collect from people’s homes using a Digital Platform.
    #2. There are so many services that one could Deliver/ Collect.
    I know a guy who looked at this platform and went off to develop something for Gardening Services. Another decided to use the concept to do deliver shopping for busy [wealthy] executives.
    I know some guys in the US who run a huge company just doing shopping. They employ thousands of “Shoppers” who go to Supermarkets and buy on behalf of executives.

    Others use the Clean City Business Model to do deliveries.

    Listen to the Podcast on HOW I BUILT THIS, about s guy who built a business to deliver Shaving Blades to business executives at home. Yes shaving blades. It reportedly became a multi $bn business!

    Go out there and think of all the things you can either collect or deliver using a Digital Platform!

    The list is actually endless!

    Now here is the thing:
    If you come up with a brilliant idea don’t rush to tell me here, because others will get it. Don’t try and contact me, because it is for you, and not for me. My joy will come from your success.


  44. #Pause:


    Consider this from @Clean City:
    When Lovemore advertised for people with 10x tonne trucks in the Harare area,in less than two days over 750 people registered with exactly what we needed.
    Each truck was then kitted out with a special canopy with the @Clean City brand. The driver was trained, and they began to work!
    Most of those trucks were underutilized.
    Now here is my question:

    This is how thousands of young entrepreneurs around the world are developing businesses for themselves, without having to buy any assets!

    The other day I was in Luanda, and I saw all these little scooters carrying gas and water bottles. I took my camera out and took pictures for Lovemore with the caption:

    Did you know we collect thousands of children from home to school, and deliver them back, every single day:
    #Vaya School Shuttle!


    Forget all these government tenders and focus on the digital era, where you just do a bit of coding, and innovation!

    “How I wish all God’s children were entrepreneurs”.
    ~Strive Masiyiwa

  45. #Pause:

    Final lesson from @Clean City:

    “Don’t make perfect the enemy of good”.

    If you look at the Clean City trucks, they are not specialized waste collection vehicles called “Compactors”. We had no money to buy these expensive vehicles, instead we used ordinary trucks with just a simple tent canopy.
    We then repaired the few City Council Compactors available. We use them in a stationary mode [to ensure they continue to function], just to compact at the Landfill.
    A guy who works as a specialist in this field in SA was “blown away” at the improvisation.

    In Africa you cannot be an real entrepreneur, if you are not willing to improvise to get something done.

    Now, as we make money, we will begin to slowly introduce the specialist equipment we need.

    Meanwhile we are serving our customers with a big smile!

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