GROWING up in rural Chipinge, Moses Chipi had a sweet tooth and craving for fresh bread.
“Our home is close to a shopping centre and each time I passed through the shops on my way to and from school, the aroma of the baking bread would flood out and engulf my nostrils.”
“I desperately wanted the bread, the buns and the cakes that were on display, but most of the time I did not have the money to satisfy my craving and sweet tooth. I swore to myself that one day I was going to raise enough money to open my own bakery,” Mr Chipi said.
At 38, Mr Chipi, the founder and owner of Bakers King, a fledgling confectionery and fast foods restaurant chain, has partly achieved that long-cherished goal.
The fast food chain has so far opened five branches in Chinhoyi, Harare and Chitungwiza, employing 65 workers in the process.
Among the workers are accountants, confectioners, managers, till operators and cleaners.
The astute businessman said he is a step away from realising his dream of opening a bakery by the year 2030 and contribute significantly to President Mnangagwa’s vision of creating employment opportunities.
“It pains me a lot when I see unemployed youths roaming around doing nothing. When fully functional, the bakery will employ more than 2 000 people. This will be my contribution towards President Mnangagwa’s goal of creating employment opportunities for millions of Zimbabweans,” he said.
A former security guard, Mr Chipi, is using the fast food business as a stepping stone.
“This year alone, we opened three branches in Chitungwiza. My vision is to open branches throughout the country and then after a year or two, open the bakery. We are moving step-by-step,” he said.
Mr Chipi’s transformation from being a security guard to a proud owner of a thriving business enterprise is a clear example of how determination and focus can spur one to realise a long cherished dream.
After failing to pass five Ordinary Level subjects, Mr Chipi worked as a guard, lumberjack, shop cleaner and vendor before establishing one of the country’s fast-growing fast food chain.
He had an ill-fated stay in Botswana where, as an illegal immigrant, he was arrested and barred from running a fast food business.
“I was born in a family of nine and my father worked at a farm as a carpenter. After failing to pass five subjects, I worked as a security guard and lumberjack at Gwindingwi Estates in Chimanimani. It was a tough job, cutting and loading logs onto lorries,” Mr Chipi said.
From Chimanimani, the determined Mr Chipi, who passed the O-Level subject he was supplementing, moved to Mutare where he worked as a security guard before enrolling for a Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality at Mutare Polytechnic. He was at the college from 2006 up until 2009.
“I studied Tourism and Hospitality with the aim of one day opening my own bakery. After finishing my course, I worked for a Mutare fast food outlet as a cleaner.
“I deliberately joined this food outlet so that I could further learn how to bake and make confectioneries,” Mr Chipi said.
He then went to Botswana where he worked at a garage as an assistant mechanic. He then secured employment as a confectioner at a supermarket chain where he only worked for less than a year.
I was working in the confectionery department, baking cakes and bread. I then decided to go it alone and started my own business. I was producing fat cakes and selling them at construction sites. Business was thriving.”
Since he was an illegal immigrant and was selling cakes without the required papers, Mr Chipi was arrested and then deported.
“I found myself in Harare for the first time. I became a vendor selling mosquito nets and kapenta. I briefly worked in a restaurant and supermarket.
“I was fired from my job at a supermarket after my boss stumbled upon my project proposal for opening a fast food outlet,” he said.
Mr Chipi’s breakthrough came in 2012 when he secured employment as a confectioner with a supermarket group. He was subsequently posted to the supermarket group’s Chinhoyi branch.
For five years, he was working and saving money to start his own confectionery business.
“I sat down with my wife and agreed that we were going to forego certain luxuries as we were saving money for our business. We also started baking cakes at home. After raising US$5 000, I left my job in 2017 and started my own confectionery business,” Mr Chipi said.
After buying second-hand equipment from auctioneers, Bakers King was born with him at the helm.
His wife and her brother were his first workers.
“The equipment that we had when we started was very old and often broke down. Also, after acquiring the equipment, I was left with very little money to kick start the business.
“At first, we failed to satisfy demand but we managed to pull through and now here we are,” Mr Chipi, a devout Christian said.
He advised young people to exploit the business opportunities that he said are abundant.
“Some people are spending so much time posting negative things about this country on social media platforms.
“They are wasting their time. We have a listening President who is creating ease of doing business and the youths should take advantage of that and start businesses,” Mr Chipi said.