Source: The Herald – Breaking news.
The attention of our inquisitive nose for news is drawn by an imposing and eye-catching building, which we later learn will house 48 residential apartments, that is taking shape in Harare Central Business District at the corner of Herbert Chitepo and 8th street.
Our search for the investment vehicle splurging into such a capital-intensive project leads us to a relatively unknown 35-year-old entrepreneur by the name of Dr Henry Dandadzi, who initially declines our request for an interview.
“I am not the type for mass media interviews,” Dr Dandadzi tells The Herald news crew soliciting for an interview, “I prefer to do my things in silence and let my businesses do the talking and I don’t intend to change.”
“But Doc, you never know how many young people out there will be inspired and start big businesses after reading your story,” our crew tells the young entrepreneur. “You never know how many people of means who are holding on to capital and would be encouraged into investing for the benefit of the economy after reading your story.”
Only after learning of the public good and service to his country such an interview will do, he agree sto sit down for his first ever media interview.
“The block of flats that has drawn your attention is just one of our real estate projects that we have invested in,” he says.
A chemical pathologist by profession, Dr Dandadzi is the founder and director of the country’s third largest medical laboratories, Interpath Medical Laboratories, and also owns Realty Microfinance Private Limited – one of the fastest growing microfinances in the country.
He is also a successful commercial farmer specialising in tobacco and horticulture.
“I graduated with a degree in Medical Sciences from the University of Zimbabwe in 2012 and with that, I am sure I would have afforded a respectable career path that would have enabled me to lead a decent life,” says Dr Dandadzi.
“But the quest to make a positive impact in people’s lives and to continuously challenge myself to the limits drove me into establishing Interpath which I think has done reasonably well in the national quest to improve the country’s health services.
“The world of today has heavily embraced evidence-based medicine, where practitioners are keen to scientifically and authoritatively establish ailments afflicting their patients before prescribing and the role of the medical lab in this regard cannot be overemphasised.
“Zimbabwe had a gap and we seized the opportunity and came into the space. We are happy with the impact we have made but that doesn’t mean we are satisfied neither are we about to be satisfied,” he says.
Having established in 2018, Interpath was just on time and became one of the first three medical laboratories in the country to get Cabinet clearance to test for the novel Covid-19 in 2020 in the midst of an international health emergency which went on to claim millions of lives globally.
Zimbabwe for its part, went on to mount one of the world’s best Covid-19 pandemic responses which has been widely commended by several international organisations including the World Health Organisation (WHO) with medical laboratories playing a key role in this success.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is by far one of the biggest public health emergencies ever to face the world in recent memories,” said Dr Dandadzi, “Here we were, faced by a monstrous virus we knew very little about which was threatening the very existence of human kind.
“Understandably, several people including medical professionals, stepped back in fear, but we didn’t. We, as Interpath, raised our hands when Government called, plunged right into the frontline and became one of the first three laboratories to offer testing services and played a huge role in identifying, isolating and stopping its further spread.
“You never know how it would have ended. In fact, several frontline workers died. Our service during Covid-19 is a clear example that for us business is not necessarily about revenue but about a service to your people. I am a businessman anchored on solid Christian values and I believe revenue will flow where there are good deeds to humankind,” he said.
Realty, which he bought last year, is one of the most established microfinance in the country with “a very healthy balance sheet”.
“At Realty, in as much as we are in business, our biggest inspiration is to help others establish their businesses.”
He says microfinancing is a business that has not been helped by players charging “extortionists interest rates” and ethical businesses can help correct this anomaly.
The excellent service that he emphasises has been confirmed and corroborated by several national awards under his belt.
He has won several awards including the Institute of Directors of Zimbabwe Young Corporate Director of the year – 40 years and below, winner of the CEO’s Network Outstanding Young CEO, winner of the Megafest Zimbabwe’s Top 20 Outstanding Man in Business of the Year, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Mashonaland Young Entrepreneur of the year among many others.
Going forward, Dr Dandadzi envisions Interpath growing into an international medical sciences laboratory of international note.
With 10 branches in the country, Dr Dandadzi is convinced Interpath now has the requisite national foothold for an international rollout and to support the target, the company is finalising modalities for opening up shop in neighbouring Zambia.
For Realty, the target is to eventually mutate into a fully-fledged bank.
It’s a journey that he has prepared himself for. From his first degree, Dr Dandadzi went on to take up and graduated with a Master’s Degree, and a PhD in the field of Chemical Pathology with the University of Cape Town and KZN respectively.
He has also studied marketing with IMM Graduate School and is currently studying towards a qualification in construction management with the University of Cape Town.