The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a Business in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a land of entrepreneurs. Well before independence, Zimbabweans have been running businesses: in the form of grocery stores, bottle stores, grinding mills, bus companies, haulage companies and many others. 

After independence, black Zimbabweans started entering the mainstream manufacturing and services businesses, which had previously been the domain of whites and foreign-owned conglomerates. 

Although some succeeded in the mainstream sectors of the economy, the majority remained in the retail and informal trade sectors. Real economic power remained in the hands of a few individuals and foreign-owned companies. 

The 21st century started with major transformations in the social, economic and political environment in Zimbabwe. Economic productivity declined significantly. The major manufacturing firms shifted to other countries in the region. Hyperinflation, price controls, foreign exchange controls and shortages of both local and foreign currency made most business activities unviable. In the midst of the chaos, informal traders thrived. 

They came in all colours, black Zimbabweans, white Zimbabweans, Indians, the Chinese, Nigerians, Somalians, the Congolese; you name them they could be found in the streets of Harare. The shortages and controls had created a heaven for traders to make a quick buck from a black market that supplied everything from commodities to household goods, industrial machinery, fuel, foreign currency and everything in between. Wealth was created for the street-wise and those prepared to take risks and cut corners. In 2009, laws and policies were put in place to normalize the business environment. Foreign currency restrictions were relaxed and businesses could now sell their products at market prices.
Business in Zimbabwe
 Business in Zimbabwe
Hyperinflation stopped with the adoption of multiple foreign currencies for use in Zimbabwe. A new generation of young Zimbabweans can now start businesses knowing that the playground is even and fair. The old ways of doing things have gone. Change is now among us. The real battle is no longer between business and the law, it is now between businesses competing for a share of the customer's mind and hopefully his dollar. Young entrepreneurs can now get up and start filling the productivity gap that resulted from the national decline. Zimbabweans need to start again producing the goods that had been replaced by imports, some of which are of questionable health and quality standards. 

This guide website is aimed at young entrepreneurs, not necessarily young in age, but those who stay young in mind, think big and want to always innovate. It provides information to help you plan and start a real business: how to assess the viability of your idea; how to develop a business plan; where to look for finance, how to write winning business proposals and how to comply with the tax and licensing authorities.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general information purposes only. They do not constitute our legal or professional advice. Readers are advised not to act on the basis of the information contained herein alone. Every situation depends on its own facts and circumstances. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage of whatsoever nature which may arise from reliance on any of the information published herein without consulting a professional legal practitioner.

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