Fabulous Women in Start Ups & Growing Enterprises

Be inspired by some of the women that I have connected with from Africa. The key for me is touching one person at a time through coaching/mentoring/encouraging and even connecting them to markets and financiers! My vision is to ensure I effectively empower them, provide the right tools and working space for them to connect to the bigger global village. Drop us an email if you are inspired. We value your feedback. Please email on melmudiwa@gmail.com we’d love to hear from you.


Josiphine teaching at her School in Zimbabwe.

Hazel former banker now fashion designer.

Hazel former banker now fashion designer in Zimbabwe.









Josiphine’s Story!

I am the founder of Metropolitan Development Trust in Zimbabwe and established a private school in the high density area called Hatcliffe Extension. My vision is helping more and more kids and expand to areas where there is need in the community. Josiphine Mutengwa picThe Women Entrepreneurs group set up by Mellany has assisted me a lot in pursuing my
vision by giving me ideas on how to keep the organisation running. My main challenge is that the business is established at an area where most parents cant afford to pay school fees for their kids. We face shortages
of educational resources such as furniture, books, uniforms for the kids and finance for the day to day running of the school. This will not make me quit because I know I am touching a future generation, and through connecting with others and helping each other as women, we will succeed.

Bridget’s Confectionery & cakes for all occasions.

My name is Bridget Rusere,  I am a 32 year old lady who is a marketer by profession. I am a holder of  an Honors Degree in Marketing Management from the Midlands State University in Zimbabwe.  My Business is  in confectionery with special emphasis on baking and decorating cakes for various occasions. Making cakes has always been my passion ever since I was a child, where I would bake in my mother’s kitchen. My  skills in making cakes as an entrepreneur are self taught through the internet. My vision is to run a coffee shop.

The Free Woman Entrepreneur platform has helped me particularly in instilling confidence in me that my dream can indeed come true. Secondly,  through her workshops I have had the opportunity to attend, I was able to network and met various people from different business backgrounds. Lastly I learnt the importance of visibility in the growth of a business.

I am based in Harare, Glen Norah. All my cake orders are baked and decorated in my home kitchen. The major challenge I have faced in my business is lack of capital, hence I am operating from home and unable to see my vision of running a coffee shop coming to fruition. The absence of appropriate business premises has also hampered my business visibility. Lack of proper equipment has also hindered my business. The confectionery industry particularly cakes is continually evolving hence new recipes and decorating skills are essential, this therefore means that I have to be upbeat in terms of my baking  and decorative skills. I need capital assistance for establishing a coffee shop and acquiring equipment as this would go a long way for my business. Secondly, assistance with exposure to internationally recognized bakers like the #CAKEBOSS would make my dream come true!

Hazel’s Story

I am a fashion artist/tailor/designer. I grew up an academic and an artist. I pursued a different career path from fashion because of influence as a young person in the family set up to have my academics on point.  I would dream in my sleep a unique dress for concert or event and put it on paper, if I managed to get appropriate material, I would fabricate the dress. I worked on my friends’ leavers dance attires at the time and they were stunning. I value the aspect of charity though I have not much to give at present. My vision is to have an Art of  Fashion institute that can create unique fashion for the celebrities, the common man, as well as cater for the less privileged with the proceeds.

Mellany Mariri has helped me to air my views as an upcoming entrepreneur as she creates a platform whereby I can market myself as well as get ideas from other women in our global society. To have a stage where I can keep my dreams up and hope for the best that my business can finally take off. I am based in Harare Zimbabwe, and I know that my target market may not be that wide in terms of special unique outfits because there are some limitations in societies’ receptiveness.

My main challenge presently is lack of finance as I lost my job as a banker and could not acquire any benefits due to a law that was passed which terminated on a three months notice. My other challenge is working space, it is very limited where I reside. I also need industrial sewing equipment but right now am using a domestic machine which is what I could afford. Whenever I manage to get my hands on cloth material, my hope is alive and I forget all my problems and current challenges. I need to live up my dream, care for my family and create employment for many if possible. I know God has a plan for me. Thank you for encouraging me Mellany.

Runyararo, I want to pioneer 

I am a single mum of a little girl, never been married. I developed self hate and bitterness because of it. Hatred grew in me and suffered but one day I woke up from the prodigal son phase. I knew I had to focus on my life. My vision is to make change in the health department through unique ideas. I want to change lives  by creating and leading the first Health Bar in my Zambia. I know that the likely challenge in this type of business is affordability.

Runyararo has vision of running a Health Bar in Zambia

Runyararo has vision of running a Health Bar in Zambia.

People want healthy food and living but because people don’t have money to buy proper food and get enough information on health for them to be aware they settle for the usual cheaper and unhealthy alternatives. Economic hardships affect a lot of people’s choices. Right now to start this business I need space – a garden and capital.

I am grateful to Mellany for putting up a platform to transform women who want or who are doing business. She keeps me motivated and made me discover the key to create my extraordinary business. If I was near her I would say ‘give me five’ hands up to you for the dedication and all that encouragement of women to work and feed their families. It is not a man’s world after all because we have women who do jobs that were known to be for men. “Great opportunities are not seen with eyes, they are seen with your mind, fear is the limit to success”.


Cakes by Fortunate

Fortunate is my name, am 26years old and a single mom. I have a passion for baking and have such a thrill when baking. I want to be the new kid on the block in regards to business. I have been groomed from a young age business principles, sales fortunate cake picsand marketing. I see myself being a household name and even getting awards for it. I even want to start an after school program for school children all inspired by my daughter who by the way is called Chelsea. I have been through some jobs which I believe were for a purpose in regards to my own development. I have been a brand ambassador for a company, and now am also getting my own independent sales reps as I understand how it works.

Being on the platform created by Mellany has helped me in a number of ways. Firstly, not to just think outside the box but to actually throw the box away. It is also teaching me to be a risk taker, taking that leap of faith in business and its proving to be working. I strongly believe its God who gives me the ability to make wealth too. I am based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and the challenge I have is that I do not have a formally registered company yet because of financial constraints. I also do not have a place of my own to be doing my business but I know it will all come together somewhere.

Wendy, mum of three and running poultry business

My Poultry business has to grow

My Poultry business has to grow

My name is Wendy Madende, I am a Zimbabwean who is based in Botswana and I am 39 years old. I am married with three children. I run  small poultry business keeping broiler chickens for meat. I started this business in June 2014 using some money that I had saved when I was employed. I run this business from home and I keep about 100 chickens at a time. My wish is to see my business grow and become a force to reckon with in the poultry industry. I would also like to leave this business as a successful legacy for my children. I would also like to branch out into keeping layers for egg production for resale. I want my business to create steady employment for members of the community in which I live.

Being a member of the Free woman Entrepreneur group has helped me to network with other women running their businesses similar to mine and others running different businesses. I get to impart the little knowledge and experience that I have gained to others. In turn I also get to learn something new time and again to improve my business through our brainstorming and sharing sessions on the group. I am thankful for the dedication and coaching that happens.


I live in a village called Molepole which about 60km from the capital city Gaborone. When I buy my day-old chicks I keep them in a small room which is also used as a storeroom. After 3 weeks I transfer them into a round run for more space for the chickens.They are kept there until they are ready for slaughtering in about 5 or 6 weeks time.

The main challenges in my business include adequate financing which results in not being able to meet the demand from customers. Trying to get funding from financial institutions when one is based in a foreign country is a major drawback. I face challenges in transporting the inputs such as the chicken feeds, marketing adequately and selling final products due to lack of a vehicle or truck. Despite the ups and downs that I have encountered in this business so far, I have hope and I believe that my business will grow to my expectations.


Farmer Esther 

I want to increase my yields

I want to increase my farm yields

My Name is Esther Moyo Chikumbu. I have been farming for the past two years in a farming town called Banket near Harare to raise funds to sponsor my vision to become an established woman farmer specializing in horticulture products including processing for export.

Being part of Mellany’s coaching platform has enabled me to meet women from different spheres and seeing what they do, sharing on the challenges we are facing as women. The most important thing I have learnt is to never give up on your dream.

My biggest challenge among others is a close source of water for irrigation. I currently rely on the rains, which is the main reason I have not been able to expand my current farming. It is restricted to the rainy seasons which of late has been very unreliable. To further develop I need capital to put all things in place which include a commercial borehole, establish an irrigation system, greenhouse and other necessary infrastructure.

Precious’s Story

Precious Sells Women's clothing and runs a poultry business

Precious Sells Women’s clothing and runs a poultry business in Zimbabwe

My name is Precious Magadzire, am married and live in Harare. My business is poultry and ladies clothing. l face many challenges and normally not able to restock chickens due to finances. Recently l had to divert the money from the chicken sales and the mini boutique to my children’s school fees. Starting over is always a challenge when cash is low.
Mel’s  platform has helped me a lot, for instance marketing my goods when l have stock, and never to give up even if l am struggling. l also get to hear what others are doing. The platform is very encouraging considering our economy and l learn not to give up but to keep pushing and learning from my mistakes. l hope to have my boutique grow from a mobile mini boutique to a bigger boutique and to expand my poultry project.


Boga’s Farm start up threatened

Am Boga Mnindwa aged 40years old from Botswana. My vision is to own a farm that I can use to grow vegetables so as to employ people in my country that is full of youth who are not working. Not only to take youth from the street but to give them a living. This platform, Free women entrepreneurs by Mrs Mellany Mariri is great. I have learnt a lot from it because women interact there talking about the businesses they are doing or aspiring to do.

I have a ten hectare farm here in Botswana that is on virgin land and full of bushes and trees because I do not have the means mainly being funds to carry out the process of preparing it for farming. I have tried to look for funds but I can’t be funded as my paying job salary is not adequate for me to be funded. I must also not be working but it’s not a guarantee that I will be funded if I stop working. What pains me and is scaring me is that after some years if the plot is not developed, it will be repossessed. I hope I get access to funding by connecting with other women and getting help.

Loveness from Malawi

I am Loveness Humba, a holder of a Diploma in Rural and Community development, with 2 years of experience working as a field officer for Nancholi Youth Organization (a local organization in Southern Malawi). Through my field experience I have come to realize that true worth lies in agriculture.

It has always been my strong desire to venture into the agriculture sector to contribute to the country’s economy and food security and also to empower less privileged Malawian youths through education support. I therefore have plans to start a poultry business which has huge potential for growth. I have strong confidence that through this business, someday I’ll become a key supplier of chicks to fellow women and others interested through this business.

Loveness Humba pic

My business interest was strengthened when I joined Free Women Entrepreneurs which is run by Mellany. I am inspired by success stories of other top business women with humble small beginnings. Their stories give me the confidence that I can do it.

Currently I am based in Green corner, Blantyre (near Puma filling station, Chikwawa Road), where I want to have the business established.

The major constraint that I have is capital. I invested in Maize and Groundnuts farming during last growing season to boost up my capital but due to drought effects, I ended up making losses. I am now failing to raise enough capital and therefore need support to kick start my poultry business.

Creative and energetic Sharon’s story

Sharon Tanya Mbazima was born in Harare Zimbabwe to Zambian parents, she is the last of five children. She is a seasoned Executive Assistant and CEO and founder of Urban Edge; a relatively unknown consultant company that specializes in virtual consultation.

Running a Virtual consulting company

Running a Virtual consulting company

When asked what inspired her to start the business and what challenges she faces she animatedly responds; “I was having dinner with a good friend towards the end of 2015 and I was giving him advice on the many issues he faces; I jokingly said “I should charge you for this…” and he agreed saying I always gave him sound advice, for the next 5 minutes he relayed how much money I could make in the consulting business. That was the seed planted, the next few months I spent asking CEO’s and influential people of their view of virtual consultation. Since I have experience in executive assistance my focus was on that. I joined LinkedIn groups, I researched, I spoke to people, I tried every avenue to get all the information I needed about the virtual assistant (VA) industry. Now you have to appreciate that in Africa this industry is practically non-existent (there are only 2 major companies in Africa) I guess us Africans are so used to “warm bodies” and therein lies my biggest challenge. Imagine telling a CEO of a big corporation that his PA doesn’t need to be in the office 8 hours a day, that she can work remotely and still deliver on time every time. Being a VA allows that new mom job flexibility, that masters student adequate study time, that jet setting entrepreneur a sense of stability. You won’t have any sick days and all the undesirables that accompany being in the office full time. I mean the rest of the world is doing it surely we can too.” She goes on to explain that this industry has been in existence in Europe and America since the late 90’s; “Big corporations use this platform to recruit personnel. Most of my clients are based in Europe, I had a contract that recently ended with a publishing company in Sweden. Everything was done online. Being in the virtual business requires trust. I tell people yes its doable, its achievable.”

Vision for Urban Edge; “Any entrepreneur will tell you they want to make their business a fortune 500 company, I do too. I see so many graduates with no jobs, I envision Urban Edge being a platform for these youth to use their expertise to service large corporations, its absolutely ridiculous how a graduate is expected to have minimum 3 years experience, I mean where could they possibly get the experience if we have no jobs. I want to see both young and old use this platform to empower themselves while making a decent living. I would love to see big corporations using VA’s to get the job done. Anyone and everyone can do it.”


“I am constantly learning and trying to improve myself and my business. I keep telling people slow progress is still progress. Take baby steps, I’m still trying to find myself in this industry, it has its highs and lows. I believe if people see value in what you are doing they will not compromise on the price! Know your worth! Write your achievements down, document your progress. By doing this you are mapping your way to success and telling yourself you can do better.”

“Thank you Mellany for the fabulous platform. I can’t wait to organise your life to with my services. You are doing a great job for many women. Do not get tired of doing good!!”



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