The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on many people whether health, employment, mentally or changed ones routine.
Zimbini Madikwa (40) lost her job as Personal Assistant after being retrenched due to the pandemic. But instead of being sad, Zimbini saw her job loss as a blessing in disguise. The single mother of three, who worked as a Personal Assistant and a Business Manager also holds a computer engineering and project management qualifications. She then decided to take the plunge and leave Johannesburg for her hometown Cala in the Eastern Cape to set up a fully equipped, custom print shop called Madikwa Printing Hub.
Madikwa Printing Hub provides services including printing, binding, lamination, school photography, engraving, graphic design, and IT services for government, private companies, and walk-in customers. She also opened Zimbini Hiring Services, an events hiring services business.
“Opening up my own business was something I had been thinking about doing for a year or two, and my retrenchment gave me a push to do it,” she tells Buzz Life News. “I suddenly had a lot of free time, so I managed to conceptualize and set everything up in about two weeks.” Zimbini goes to say that her heart has always been in returning to her roots in Cala where she grew up. “My dream is to bring to rural clients printing and IT solutions that respond to their evolving needs by providing high quality and unique products in underserviced areas in the Chris Hani District and surrounding,” she says. She admits that starting her printing business was not a walk in the park but says decade’s experience in managing different enterprises has been helpful in setting up her own business. “When I told friends and some family members that I was coming home to set up a print shop many were skeptical. Some feared that I would face a lot of opposition from other print shops around. Others felt the business wouldn’t do well in the rural area. Some feared that entering a male-dominated area of business would bring tough opposition for me.”
She acknowledges that being a woman in a male-dominated business does seem to have hurdles however, having an open mind and awareness of that keeps her well-grounded.
Zimbini says one of the biggest challenges she faced while setting up her print shop was finding a suitable workspace as the small town is crime-ridden and semi-rural. “Finding qualified staff for her business has also been another challenge,” she says.
These have however not deterred Zimbini from pursuing her dream. She has a number of people under her employ including a graphic designer, IT Technician, embroidery technician, driver and photographer. She says as the business grows, she will employ more locals.
Zimbini, who describes herself as a “hands-on” owner says her reward is seeing her dream come to fruition and knowing that there is still more to accomplish.