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Young entrepreneur provides e-solutions for SMEs, informal traders in Africa

by Bustop TV News

By Trevor Makonyonga

It has often been said that the best way to make a name for one’s self starts with the desire to change society. This desire can lead great minds to either be innovative or be proactive towards the one goal that they have set for themselves. Such a mind is 29-year-old Gary Ruwona. The cliché of making lemonade from the lemons thrown defines the nature of how Gary Ruwona has built his business.

Ruwona’s journey kicked off when he was a cross border trader. He was faced with many struggles which motivated him to bring about fluidity and change for others who are involved in informal trade. He was determined to create solutions and improve the lives of informal traders.

Speaking to Bustop TV, Ruwona said that he developed interest in building market from his days as an informal trader.

“I believe that my days in trading brought about my interest in marketplaces. We have gone on to create a seamlessly integrated digital ecosystem made up of various products to provide businesses with services and tools that smarten the way business is done. Locally, over the years we’ve become a market leader in Omnichannel marketing and we intend to leverage the surge in mass-digital adoption to lead digital transformation across lagging sectors in Africa”.

To date, Ruwona has founded E-Directories which in 2014, started as a hardcopy directory and catalogue that listed businesses across Zimbabwe. He then moved to the e-version, Yellowpages (www.zimyellowpage.com), an online version of the directory which is a top online business directory in Zimbabwe.

The reason for setting up the directories was to increase visibility of SMEs who generally cannot afford mainstream advertising.
From the directories, now Ruwona has yet again come up with a great innovation, Kulies, (www.kulies.com), an African version of Alibaba.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for businesses to thrive, Ruwona has seen it as an opportunity to advance his work.

He said, “COVID19 pandemic, has brought with it many obstacles that make it hard to do business. But, COVID-19 hasn’t stopped people from transacting — it’s just diverted and dispersed much of that activity across different channels. To cope with the shifts in market systems requires strategic innovation and business modelling – The way we see it companies are being forced into digital maturity as COVID19 actually spurs growth of e-commerce innovation”

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