Zimbabwe is blessed with a lot of organizations whose focus is on women’s emancipation from cultural misconceptions, but a few delve deeper into financial security. This is the gap that Nicole Marara (NM) saw and filled with her one-year-old Shanda Initiative.
My Afrika Magazine held an exclusive interview to talk about this initiative as well as the one year anniversary celebrations tabled for the 1st of April 2023 at Batanai Gardens in the Capital city, Harare.
SS: Welcome to My Afrika Magazine, a place Where being African is celebrated.
NM: It is a pleasure to be African and celebrated😊
SS: Who is Nicole Marara?
NM: Nicole Ruvimbo Marara is a driven and determined Finance Management and Accounting Enthusiast with significant experience in the finance industry and top management support. Her passion for finance and business has led her to establish herself as a leading entrepreneur and mentor in Zimbabwe.
SS: That’s brilliant. Are you in entrepreneurship yourself?
NM: Oh yes, I am the founder and CEO of Shanda Initiative, an organization committed to supporting women entrepreneurs at all stages of their businesses. Through leadership, Shanda Initiative provides comprehensive support to women, from idea exploration to growth and maturity of the business. My entrepreneurial acumen drives my commitment to emancipating individuals by offering workable solutions to everyday problems.
SS: I have seen something called brand Ruvimbo?
NM: As a thought leader in my industry, my personal brand is called Ruvimbo. This is dedicated to teaching, uplifting, and assisting others. Ruvimbo is a brand that stands for integrity, strength, and community. The brand also has launched products for hair designed specifically for African women. The hair line produces hair foods, shampoos, conditioners, shea butter and castor oil.
SS: Have you always been a leader?
NM: My leadership skills were evident from an early age, as I served as the head girl at Girls High School, Harare. I continue holding various leadership positions and am a member of various women empowerment programs in Zimbabwe and the SADC region.
SS: Please share your journey with our readers.
NM: We started off as SheMeans business last year in April. The vision was clear that we were to focus on helping female entrepreneurs. I believe in fixing “her” crown. We started off with women luncheons and workshops. We have built a strong running team online with different activities that run in our WhatsApp group. This year in January we then rebranded to Shanda Initiative and here we are approaching the celebration of our very first anniversary.
SS: Why do you love women’s empowerment Initiatives?
NM: The future is female. From the female kind, a nation grows. We are the backbone of any tribe. An empowered woman leads to an empowered generation.
SS: Entrepreneurship is the backbone of the economy. How true is that?
NM: Entrepreneurship alone cannot back an economy. Active entrepreneurship that is addressing the SDGs is the backbone of an economy. Entrepreneurship is an action word and not a title that should be stamped on individual’s social media profiles and CVs. If put in action it is a backbone.
SS: Tell us about Shanda Initiative.
NM: Shanda Initiative is a team that supports women entrepreneurs at all stages of their business journey, from exploring the idea of entrepreneurship to growing a mature business – and everything in between. We provide a range of valuable services, including quick answers to your small business questions, training on small business topics, connecting and networking, and in-depth 1:1 business advice.
SS: A year on, what are your future aspirations?
NM: To start a teenage girl’s community that runs under Shanda. We will focus on grooming girls from ages 13-18 on different business aspects. We want to get projects running for women, that will leave everyone in our community financially stable and secure. A financially independent woman is shielded from abuse, as they can stand for themselves.
SS: How has teamwork assisted on your journey?
NM: I work with a committee that is amazing and dedicated. Shanda wouldn’t be standing without the input of those people. We have two PR & Comms officers , a secretary, two content creators and a logistics officer. Teamwork has taught me that it actually takes a community to build an organization.
SS: Tell us about the first-year anniversary. Who is invited?
NM: Our first-year anniversary will be held on the 1st of April 2023. The venue is Batanai Gardens from 2pm to 6pm. We will have Chenesai Monera CEO PXEL Foto,
Ropafadzo Ropearl Machakwa CEO,
Nyasha Munenga CEO Urban Parcels Delivery,
Thelma Chimbganda CEO TSOKA, and
Tonderai Marara CEO Flexline Seamless Gutters.
*NB- This is not a women’s event only but open to all.
SS: Any Last words?
NM: Don’t get into business to taste the waters, get into business to make waves.
SS: Thank you Nicole. Where do people reach you?
NM: Thank you My Afrika for the spotlight of our work. People can reach me on the following links: