Dr. Nothando Moyo, a passionate business enthusiast who started her first business at the age of 19 years, is the founder of the organization Women Inspired, an organization started in Cyprus then set up in Zimbabwe upon her return that focuses on the identification, growth ,development and inspiration of women. The organization reaches out to the world at large, changing lives through empowerment seminars, mentoring, career guidance, and business consultancy.
Her drive and determination, reflected in her publications that now number at least 10 books and 15 international journal publications, have earned her recognition on both local and international platforms. She is a PhD holder in Business Administration, and formerly based in Cyprus for over 8 years where she lectured business, entrepreneurship and economics with Cyprus International University.
In 2017, she got special recognition from His Excellency the President of Cyprus for her thought provoking work on the Women Inspired Network. In 2020, conferred with the Most Fabulous Global Coach of the year at the world HRD Congress in Mumbai India. In 2019, conferred with the Global Women Super Achiever Award by the 6th World Women Leadership Congress in Mumbai India, conferred with the Female Executive of the year 2019 Zimbabwe Southern Region at the Megafest Annual Business Awards in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and received the Executive Coach of the year 2019 at the 4th International Coaching and Mentoring foundation award ceremony in Harare, Zimbabwe.
She is the recipient of the Africa’s Women Leadership Awards at the World Women Leadership Congress, Mauritius (2019). She has presented on many international platforms, namely in Turkey, Prague, Poland, Spain and the Czech Republic where she was honoured with the Graduate Scholar Award.
A humble dynamic young entrepreneur who believes that the sky is not the limit, Dr Nothando Moyo’s businesses in Bulawayo, which also includes M&M Education Consultancy, have grown from strength to strength as she sends many young people abroad on scholarships.
She is a young leader passionate about her community as she also dedicates time to mentoring young women and has also become a Brand Ambassador of the orphanage known as Mustard Seed in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, where she has secured scholarships for children in need for their primary and secondary education. She sits on a number of boards and has actively given back to her community through her association with Rotary International.
Tell us about yourself.
Nothando Moyo is from Bulawayo, born [in] a family of six where she is the thirdborn. I was a very quiet and reserved middle child who always sought comfort in books. I am a mother of two: a son, aged 21, at university in China studying towards a pharmacy degree and a daughter, 14, doing her Form 2.
What inspired you to be an author?
I have always been an avid reader. It has always been easy to go through books at a fast pace and get lost in the storyline. With introversion tendencies, it was always easier to write things down than to verbalize them. Some would always tease me [saying] that I write faster than most people even talk.
So when I gained the knowledge I had in business, I found that it was easier for me to voice my thoughts and research in words. This has led me to come out of my shell over the years as I have become a business coach and motivational speaker mostly using material from my books in the presentations.
How did you start business?
This one is a funny story. I was 19, straight from high school, and the whole time I had been intent on becoming an architect. I was yet to understand that God spoke to me mostly in dreams, but one day I dreamt of a beauty parlour that had a salon, massage parlour, boutique and fitness centre, an all-in-one stop shop for women. The dream was vivid, showing layout, colours and the name of the business revealed.
I woke up that morning and made use of the mechanical and engineering drawing I had done to Advanced level, and I drew the floor plan that I had been shown in my dream. And once the drawing was completed, a fire was ignited in me.
I started investigations on what it would take to get registered and started looking for the shop I had been shown in my dream. I knew that I would need income to start the business, so I started a small-events catering business informally where my friends who had not gone to A-level and had gone straight to working for banks and other formal big organizations would assist me with orders to cater for board meetings, office parties, their own parties, etc. I would serve finger snacks on platters.
It was hard work, but I never complained because I knew that as a young person, I would not qualify for a loan in any bank, and the equipment and all that was required to start would need serious income.
Suffice to say the catering paid off as I was able to slowly acquire equipment bit by bit and by the time I had found the shop space that I had been shown in my dream, I had accumulated a bit of money for the renovations and rent.
However, I was favoured by the fact that God led me to the landlord. And as I was young, talking to them in a sundress and sandals because I did not yet know that people dressed up to make a good first impression, I just went in as I was and the manager spoke to me as though he was talking to his daughter, even calling me young lady. He told me to go put in writing what I wanted to do and they would think about it.
Because I didn’t know how to read the cues that they were just trying to diplomatically turn me down, I took my time asking them what they had to lose, seeing as their place had been abandoned for over two years. They laughed and decided at that point to give me the shop on the agreement that I give them six months to clear out their dead cars that were stored in the shop. And they went on to say that if I managed to finish fixing up the front side of the shop, I could start operating without paying rentals until the agreed-upon date.
I moved like a whirlwind, fixing up the front in record time, getting the licenses and finding hairdressers to work with me. I opened the front part of the shop within the first month, and I used the five rental-free months to accumulate rentals in preparation for when they would start charging me. That is how I began, and I have never looked back since then.
What have been your main challenges?
When I was starting up, my challenges were from not having enough knowledge of systems in business. This often led to people taking advantage of me, overcharging me because I didn’t know any better. Most would walk all over me because I was reserved.
I chose to change the narrative by educating myself on all things to do with business, hence how I ended up with a PhD in Business Administration and lecturing business and entrepreneurship with economics at Cyprus International University because I had told myself that I would not be a victim of my ignorance anymore.
On the financial side, I have always told myself I will work with what I have and from wherever I may be. That puts less pressure on me as I don’t try to please people as that distracts me from my vision.
Some never understood my vision. I have lost friends and been deemed weird even by relatives as some would complain that I am too focused and wanted me to play with others or sit around frequently just to make small talk, which I was never good at. Some then deemed me a snob because they didn’t and still don’t understand that I am comfortable in my own company as that is where I am most creative and productive. But I have hope that one day, they will get to see the full vision then understand.
What were your fears about starting up?
To be honest, I can never say I have fears when starting up. I am one person that could be classified as a serial entrepreneur in that I thrive from the start-up of businesses. I enjoy seeing a vision shape up into something real and tangible and I get an unexplainable sense of satisfaction from seeing it succeed.
Currently, I am the founder of Women Inspired, M&M Education Consultancy, M&M Travel Agency and Tours. I have started a brand of cleaning detergents and other products known as April Fresh. I’m also focused on farming. All these have foundations that have been laid down and [I’m] now focusing on expanding and growing the businesses.
With all these projects, I never fear failure. I actually fear never chasing after my vision and dying with regrets. If anything does not work out, I know that I gave it my best and try and glean lessons of what I could have possibly done better.
What keeps you going on tough days?
I am a very grounded Christian, belonging to Harvest House International. I call on God in both good and bad times. I praise on good days and I engage in serious worship on tough days, and God has never forsaken me yet; and that alone strengthens me and encourages me that whatever I face shall pass. The Word does say that all things worketh together for them that love the Lord. So, I always choose to just glean lessons in everything.
What do you consider to be some keys to your success?
I would have to say a hunger for knowledge. People do not know that any business that I open, [I] first learn everything about it. Not to say I will use the skill, but [I] make use of the knowledge to run the business efficiently. An example is when I opened the beauty parlour. I actually attended hair dressing and beauty therapy lessons and got certified, but I can never do anyone’s hair – utterly hopeless at it – but when it came to stocking up for the beauty parlour, I did not have to rely on other people as I had learnt the trade too.
I don’t shy away from information and would not want to be caught in a situation where your business suffers even legally because you were not aware of some aspects of the business that needed to be tended to. I also enjoy networking. I observe a lot and usually seek to acquaint myself with people I can learn from regardless of gender and age.
What is some advice you have for women who want to pursue their passion?
I would say, start where you are and with what you have. The road to success is not easy, but you need to embrace the challenge. The vision may be large and scary and you may lose friends while chasing after it, but never lose heart. Those for you will never turn their backs on you even if they don’t understand your vision.
Don’t choke yourself trying to start off big. There is dignity in steady growth and people will see the progress and respect you for it. Rome was not built in a day, so humble beginnings do not start with you. Just focus on your vision. Surround yourself with people that will encourage you when you feel like giving up. It’s normal to feel discouraged sometimes, but don’t dwell on the negative emotions.
Never shy away from learning new skills and systems if they will help you run your business better.
Above all, draw closer to God. Even your shadow deserts you in the dark, but God will always be there to watch over you. It takes nothing to support a fellow business person because tomorrow that support will be given to you. Stay inspired.
You can follow Nothando on the following platforms:
LinkedIn: Dr. Nothando Moxie Moyo
Facebook: Nothando Moyo
Twitter: Dr. Nothando Moyo