A maid who transformed into a corporate leader . . . from humble beginnings in Domboshawa to Borrowdale
RISING from a humble background where she had to be a street vendor as a child and later on working as a maid to raise school fees, Winnet Jakachira has defied odds, climbing up the ladder with a just Grade 7 Certificate as her only academic qualification to show.
As they say that success is not a tree to be climbed with one’s hands in the pockets, the adage rings true to Winnet who has spent her whole life trying many various business ventures until she succeeded, and now runs Winfounders Group of Companies with the assistance of her husband, Founder.
Winnet is the director of Winfounders which recruits and finds placements for professional maids, nurse aids, gardeners, private guards and drivers.
Founder Jakachira runs their micro-finance company under the Winfounders brand.
From the streets of Domboshawa where she made a living through selling various wares, the 42-year-old entrepreneur now resides in the leafy suburb of Borrowdale.
So shrewd is she that she turned a part of her Harare home into her offices.
“I was born in 1978 in Domboshawa in a family of six girls and one boy and I was the fifth born. My mother used to buy and sell various goods and as a result we grew up in a selling environment,” Winnet said.
“I went to Shingai Primary School from Grade 1 to 4 and then grades 5 to 7 at Domboshawa Primary School. I then did secondary education by correspondence up to Ordinary Level while doing menial jobs and failed my ‘‘O’’ Level.
“From a young age, I would go around the suburbs selling eggs, vegetables and, other things, needed in households, and even worked as a maid at one time.”
The bubbly mother of four said growing up she wanted to be a soldier, but could not go for it because of lack of academic qualifications.
However, inspired by her mother who was self-sufficient through vending, Winnet emulated that and followed through the trade of buying and selling.
“I started cross-border trading, taking some wares to South Africa and Botswana to sell and brought back other goods to sell locally, and business started booming,” she said.
“As time passed by, I eventually owned a shop in town, then a tailoring company sewing school uniforms and industrial wear which had six employees.
“When Longcheng opened its doors around 2013-2015, I then opened up a restaurant there called Sadza where I employed seven people.”
Winnet then decided to expand her services and ventured into training housemaids and represent them as a recruitment agent.
“I started an agent because I felt that I should do something to assist women who are usually forgotten in society yet they play an important role in various households,” she said.
“I stay with them during the training process until they get employed. Those who want maids they come at this place and conduct interviews here.
“It has always been my wish to create jobs for the disadvantaged and every month I send about 15 women for employment. Even ministers come looking to hire maids that I train.”
Winnet expressed concern over how some people mistreat maids and look down upon the very important people who take care of their families and households in their absence.
“We should take good care of people who look after our children when we are at work, cook and clean for our families, so that they also work whole wholeheartedly,” she said.
“All I want to say to women who did not manage to get education due to different circumstances is that education is not everything without hard work.
“Those who did not get a chance to earn higher education should not lose hope, but keep on dreaming and pushing forward and being innovative.”
From being a domestic maid, armed with a Grade 7 certificate, Winnet defied odds and rose to become a successful entrepreneur in inspiring women the entrepreneurial ecosystem who are actively starting new businesses, and hoping to eventually be a role model.
While her husband runs a successful micro-finance wing of Winfounders as a business technocrat, Winnet has branched out to venture into different entrepreneurial projects to expand the business.
For most of her life, she has done nothing, but work, hustle and scaled above hurdles of life coming out victorious no matter the circumstances.