Gilbert Kamusasa’s Divcon Business Solutions, a Zimbabwean start-up specialising in software development, market research and product development is currently working with the pharmaceutical sectors of Zimbabwe and Zambia towards modernising the pharmaceutical industry in Africa through their innovation called MedFind.
The solution which will be launching soon in these first two countries will help patients and pharmacies to procure their prescription and non-prescription medicines with ease.
“MedFind is a web based virtual pharmaceutical platform that allows patients to procure medicines online from pharmacies of their choice. With four major pharmacy chains having already signed up in Zimbabwe, what the customer simply has to do is to sign up or create an account in order to get access to pharmacies of their choice.” Said Kamusasa
The MedFind innovation which was part of the Seed Stars Zimbabwe’s top 5 innovations for 2019 also won the ACT Entrepreneurship competition and was selected for the Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurship program where it also got funding.
Gilbert, an Accountant by profession who once worked at Deloitte encouraged job seekers to immediately follow the entrepreneurship route through coming up with solutions that address real needs or problems than to always wait for employment.
“My advice to young entrepreneurs is, start now! Money will eventually come if your idea addresses real customer needs/problems.” ….Currently entrepreneurship is the way to go if you have what it takes. Don’t wait for the right moment, start now!” he said
….”When we started Divcon, we didn’t have any money, we used to meet in food outlets for update meetings. We would walk around town on foot and sometimes empty stomachs doing market research for MedFind. Once we had proved our concept well, we approached a local doctor and he gave us our first funding, but it was after a lot of hard work.” added Gilbert
zwnews24.com’s Brian Kazungu had an interview with Gilbert in order to find out more about his business and his personal insights on a number of socio-economic issues.
zwnews24: Would you briefly describe yourself and the background, nature, and mandate of your business?
Divcon: My name is Gilbert Kamusasa, I am the CEO and co-founder of Divcon Business Solutions (www.divconsolutions.com). Divcon is a technology-based consultancy company that focuses on providing a wide range of solutions to businesses and individuals. We help businesses/individuals solve their day to day problems through a process called design thinking. During this process, we dig deep into the problem at hand through empathising with those facing that problem. After thoroughly understanding the problem, we then come up with a solution that best addresses that problem. The solution is prototyped, tested with the users and pivoted (if need be) until it adequately addresses the problem at hand.
zwnews24: What is the main motivation and major push for you to engage in the business that you are involved in?
Divcon: We love solving problems and we have the drive to make the world a better place through providing simple solutions that address even complex day to day problems faced by businesses or individuals.
zwnews24: What are the different products and services that you are offering? Would you describe what each of these products and services is all about and the intended benefit of each of these to your targeted and actual clients?
Divcon: Our main service as Divcon is problem-solving. We help businesses and individuals solve any problems with regards to business that they may have. We also provide basic consultancy services such as software/website development, company registry, tax registrations, market research and product development. We are currently working with the pharmaceutical sectors of Zimbabwe and Zambia to provide what we see as the best solution to modernise the pharmaceutical industry in Africa called MedFind. The solution will help patients and pharmacies procure their prescription and non-prescription medicines with ease. We will be launching the product soon in both countries.
zwnews24: How has the market responded to your products and services so far since inception and what can you attribute to such kind of response?
Divcon: The Zimbabwean market is a tough one for businesses trying to introduce new products/services into the market. Due to trust issues the market does not quickly accept new products and businesses. A lot of patience and time is required for a new business to be able to penetrate the market. The policy inconsistencies by government have made it worse. For example, some of our solutions for customers were developed based in USD and when the government banned the official use of the USD we had to change the whole business model to suit the new government requirements. However, it seems the economy is ‘re-dollarizing’ itself and we may have to readjust soon if the government chooses to dump the RTGS.
zwnews24: What is it that is unique about yourself, your team and your services, that sets you apart and which helps you to stand out among various service providers who are in the same category with you?
Divcon: Working hard and smart, and quickly adapting to situations has helped our business survive this harsh economic environment. I work with a team of smart, intelligent and hardworking ladies and gentlemen. We work as a team and we treat our work seriously. Our solutions address real problems being faced by businesses and people. We provide tailor made solutions be it software based or physical products and that’s what customers are looking for.
zwnews24: What do you believe and understand are the main advantages to your clients when they make use of your company products and services in addressing their needs and wants.
Divcon: The major advantage is we are a local company providing solutions that suit our environment. We don’t copy and paste solutions from first world countries. We spend more time understanding what our clients need and provide solutions that best suit their needs.
zwnews24: Do you have any background in this industry? If yes, how could this have helped you in identifying the business opportunities behind your entrepreneurial drive?
Divcon: I am an Accountant by profession and I worked with Deloitte (an audit firm) for 6 years. During that period, I got to understand various business models and operations though the audits that I conducted in a wide range of industries. Above all I am a TEF Alumni, YALI Alumni, Seed Stars Alumni and an ACT Alumni. All these some of the best entrepreneurship programs available in Africa and they have helped me attain more business knowledge. I am also a self-taught software engineer with experience in python, HTML, CSS, Django, Flask and Bootstrap. In our team we also have a Marketer, Chemical Engineer, 2 Software developers and another Accountant. This gives us a competitive advantage as a team because we have a wide range of skills that can offer better solutions to customers. All the above have also helped me in identifying viable business opportunities.
zwnews24: What can you look back at and say that so far, this has been your major achievements as an enterprise and what do you believe has greatly contributed towards such achievements?
Divcon: As a company we are still very young and we still have a long way to go. Our first main product is MedFind which won the ACT Entrepreneurship competition, was selected for the Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurship program and got funding and was also part of the Seed stars Zimbabwe top 5 innovations for 2019. We have also done some basic consultancy work for over 10 local start-ups, 1 big listed company and 1 local NGO. Hard work, innovation, as well as focus and discipline have helped us immensely thus far.
zwnews24: In a world where most people, especially the youth are failing to start and run their own enterprises because of lack of capital, how have you managed to launch and operate this initiative?
Divcon: I always argue that capital is not the problem, innovation and execution is. Where there is a good idea that has been tested and proved, capital can be sourced. Most young people want to raise money first then think of an idea or start implementing their idea but it is supposed to be the other way around. When we started Divcon, we didn’t have any money, we used to meet in food outlets for update meetings. We would walk around town on foot and sometimes empty stomachs doing market research for MedFind. Once we had proved our concept well, we approached a local doctor and he gave us our first funding, but it was after a lot of hard work. My advice to young entrepreneurs is, start now, money will eventually come if your idea addresses real customer needs/problems.
zwnews24: It is a fact that the current economic situation globally and even in your country is challenging. As such, what is it that has helped you as a business to continue operating under some difficult conditions that you have encountered?
Divcon: As a company that provides business solutions, it is actually our job to help other businesses to survive any challenges. One of the strategies that we always advise our customers is to have as many revenue streams as possible, and also, to do some work that can earn you foreign currency. You must also make sure that you have a solution or product that is scalable across the world. Businesses also have to keep up to date with the economic activities and adjust their business models as they go until the economy is stable.
zwnews24: What are and what has been some of the operational challenges that you have encountered so far in the pursuit of your entrepreneurship vision and how have you dribbled past them?
Divcon: The major challenge for us has been the economy and the inconsistency in government policy. We overcome these challenges by making adapting fast and making quick and precise decisions. We have also begun the process of setting shop in other African countries.
zwnews24: Based on your experience, what advice can you give to unemployed youths and many other job seekers concerning entrepreneurship as a way of creating employment for themselves and others?
Divcon: If you look at the current economic setup in Zimbabwe, it is 90% informal and that’s not a good thing for job seekers. It is going to take us 10 years or more to be able to build an economy with more than one hundred 1 billion-dollar companies that can employ at the scale of Econet or Delta. Currently entrepreneurship is the way to go if you have what it takes. Don’t wait for the right moment, start now!
zwnews24: What are the current challenges happening in your industry or country, which are affecting the viability of your business? In that regard, what are the strategies that you are putting in place for you to achieve your goals?
Divcon: To us, it goes back to the economy, policy inconsistency, lack of support from government for genuine upcoming entrepreneurs like some of us. Currently everything is polarised and politicised and that’s killing businesses in Zimbabwe. That is why we have begun looking at other African countries.
zwnews24: Where do you foresee your business in the future and what legacy, history or impact do you want your business to have in your community, country or across the world? Why do you have such convictions?
Divcon: We see ourselves making a huge impact in Zimbabwe, Africa and the world at large because we provide simple solutions that address real problems. We are happing to create employment and wealth to our employees as well.
zwnews24: How do clients and other stakeholders engage your business? How do they get in touch?
Divcon: Phone: 0715592622 / 07150071450 | email firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.divconsolutions.com | Office: 72 George Silundika Avenue Harare | Social Media: @divconsolutions – FB and @BusinessDivcon – Twitter
#. The questions in this interview are adapted from the book, The SME HANDBOOK written by Brian Kazungu: https://amzn.to/32hZSlb