In 2004, Roselyn was made redundant from her role as Administrative Assistant when her employer SADC (South African Development Community) moved out of Zimbabwe, partly due to imposed political sanctions. With her last pay cheque, she bought a vacuum cleaner, two brooms and a mop.
As the country’s economy took a severe downturn Roselyn’s entrepreneurial spirit took flight and she decided to start her own business. It wasn’t easy, but after a failed attempt she mustered up the drive, determination and enthusiasm to create demand in the market for a small cleaning company.
She recruited a team of four people and secured a cleaning contract within a local office block. Armed with minimal tools for the job, they set to work and did an excellent job. Within weeks, their contract was not only extended but increased, and after one month Roselyn had 32 employees. “My dad always said I was a fighter. I don’t want to be ordinary; I don’t want to be known as ‘that woman.”
Her company was growing rapidly but self-doubt persisted, and this was a barrier for her. Some male business associates felt more comfortable talking to her husband (who had assumed the role of Operations Manager), and when she was criticised by an African peer at an international business conference – told that she didn’t have the business acumen to represent her country at the event – she resolved to seek ways in which she could build her knowledge and strategic thinking.
It was during a conversation with an Enrolment Advisor at the University of Roehampton, London Online that Roselyn began to understand the wealth of experience she already had under her belt.
In 2014, she started the programme, and has thoroughly enjoyed the online learning experience so far. It gives her the flexibility to continue as Managing Director of Surdax Investments, the now family-run cleaning-services company she maintains:
“The main thing that I have gained is confidence. The MBA has given the work I have done a context. I am aware and understand business vocabulary and people no longer see me as inexperienced.”
Roselyn currently sits on the Harare branch of the Zimbabwe National Board of Commerce. Her company now employs over 300 people and, being mother to four children, her weekends are as action-packed as weekdays. Her vision is to establish Zimbabwe’s first independently-owned waste-management plant; creating clean environments and cities that will in turn generate new markets and a green economy, benefiting environmentally-conscious communities.
“I like being creative; that way, I don’t get tired. I always try to learn something every day but education is never enough – you have to have the passion in order to go the extra mile. I ask myself all the time: what am I here on earth for; why was I created? The answer keeps me focused.”
Find out more about the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme at Roehampton Online.