Being a young professional bachelor, my little sports car was my pride and joy. I had tweaked up its engines, and it had its own unique colours, and when I drove it everyone in my hometown knew it was me!
One morning, I parked the car outside a small branch of a bank, and went in to see the bank manager. As I sat down, the bank manager remarked, “I like your car. Where did you get it? ”
We chatted for a while then we got down to business. I needed an overdraft for my small but growing business. I showed the manager the records of my deposits at the bank. I now had a big project, and I urgently needed an overdraft. “Do you have security?” she asked. I had nothing.
After a while I exclaimed “What about my car?” “We cannot take a car for security, because you can smash it up tomorrow.” Then she said to me, “If you are really serious about going into business, sell your car. But you are not going to get a loan, from any bank.”
That was a Friday morning in 1986 and I am told not much has changed since. I left the bank, drove around in my car for the weekend and by Monday I had sold it! I sold the car and just about anything I could sell, and bought myself, a second hand “mini van”. I was not to buy a brand new car, for myself, for another 20 years.
… To be continued.
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.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa