I have taken upon the mentorship of a young poultry farmer under my wing, and she is going to become Zimbabwe’s next Irvin’s Chickens
By Addlyne McKenzie
“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.’’ – Oprah Winfrey
I meet a young lady who is in need of funding for a Poultry Project in Zimbabwe, with the capacity of approximately twenty to thirty thousand chickens. Her presentation had a couple of important elements missing, such as the financial structure (Amount, ROI, Equity, Growth etc), which the heart of a funding proposal.
As I began to probe further on the costs of the slaughtering facilities, refrigeration etc, she quickly realised that she had not done her research to understand the poultry industry and the standards required to supply fast food outlets as that was the only target market she had presented.
I was reminded of myself 10 years ago as I went about trying to secure funding for my first business – the Cleaning Company.
“Spoon feeding, in the long run, teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon” —E.M. Forster
I left corporate a few years ago to focus on being a serious Entrepreneur in the medical field. I had the experience and qualification but lacked something equally important. I would not have made it this far in business without a mentor – I chose a financial mentor, one who helped me understand the business finance models.
In the great words of Benjamin Franklin – Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.
I accompanied my finance mentor to most of his high-level business meetings, at the time I didn’t know much about him other than what Google said.
I was stupefied when I heard my financial mentor speak finance at a meeting regarding a certain transaction. I got to appreciate and understand his astuteness.
I got to understand deal structures, financial instruments and term sheets and meet the who’s who in the real things of business. I learnt the financial verbiage and occasionally I was thrown into the deep end, where he would hand over the meeting to me and walk out.
Later he would ask the other attendees how the meeting went. Sink or swim he called it. My finance mentor opened business networking doors and continued to push me through those doors and never allowed me to give up on myself.
He taught me what 28 years of working corporate had never taught me, even at a senior management level. I continued to shadow his and after every meeting, I had to explain or identify the risks of the transaction.
Today I am grateful for his financial mentorship which gave me a good understanding of business modelling and structured finance. He relocated back to Zimbabwe and is tilling the land now. He is known to many as the former Zimbabwe Deputy Minister of Finance – Honourable Terence Mukupe, to me he will always be my financial mentor. Thank you, Hon Mukupe.
Soon I would meet a great Financial Guru – an absolute honour to be sitting with Mr. Preston Goredema – Executive Chairman Atria Africa (Pty) Ltd, a Financial Guru in Deal Executing and Restructuring a leader and a champion in Financial Solutions.
My mentorship journey continues as I hold firmly onto the hem as the Executive Chairman of Atria Africa (Pty) Ltd and be part of this merging Financial giant in Investment Advisory, FinTech Solutions, Commodities Trading, Financial Services and Capital Solutions. As I now sit as the Chairperson of Atria Capital Solutions … my story continues…
I know now the importance of Mentorship as I take the young future poultry Farmer under my wing and agree to mentor her to become Zimbabwe’s next Irvin’s chickens. Who are you mentoring? Who was or is your mentor?
“Each one, Teach One”- Nelson Mandela
Addlyne McKenzie is with Jit-Tv & The Media Box, Mud Hut Consulting, Tinavo Holdings, and Healthcare Infusion Solutions. This column is published in partnership with The Sunday Express. Follow her on social media. Her new programme Ndinotaura Zvandinoda is loading.
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