Dar es Salaam. It was no walk in the park for Simon Makole to establish his own public relations and marketing company and run it profitably.
The last born in a family of three set up his JSP Marketing Link Ltd, with a starting capital of Sh500,000 sourced from personal savings.
The company grew. It took part in the Tanzania Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies Survey in 2018, and emerged the second run-up. That is not a small feat!
It needed a spirit of daring and hardworking. Currently, the company employs 16 permanent employees and nearly 100 part time workers, with their salaries ranging from 400,000 to Sh5 million a month.
It was just at an age of 28, without even having an office, when Makole established the company for marketing, PR, promotion of events and brand management.
He was sometimes forced to turn a bar place into an office.
That was in 2010, just a year after he graduated with a BA in Public Relations and Advertising from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM).
Mr Makole, 36, says he established the firm before quitting his job at Keys Marketing Ltd, where he was being paid Sh250,000 a month.
His company became operational in 2013 after leaving his job in 2012.
Despite being difficult for him survive in the industry which was then dominated by foreigners, he never lost his entrepreneurial focus.
It was easy for him to get a job upon graduating because he had created a network when he was the information, sports and social affairs minister at the UDSM students’ organisation.
Actually, even before his graduation ceremony, he received three job offers, with Keys Marketing being his choice of preference.
He was then promoted from the project manager of a single project to the head of operations and them chief of commercial department.
He says being employed at a reputable company seems to give you to instant credibility.
“Whenever people used to ask me about my job, I could confidently hand over my business card branded with a recognisable company logo,” he says.
“Even when I wasn’t excited by what I actually did for a living, having a neatly packaged job title at a well-known company helped me hold my head up high and feel respected.”
After spending three years at Keys Marketing Ltd , he thought it was time to work on his own.
Although he has quit Keys Marketing, he still visits his former colleagues at the company.
“When I do, I feel a bit envious when I see what seems like a huge sea of smiling employees with their badges, getting out of the office on their way out to have lunch together,” he says.
“I can’t help but feel nostalgic about the buzz of working in an office that makes you feel like ‘you’ve made it.
“Reporting to someone else would be extremely tough to stomach now,”
With his own company, he stands a chance to spend more time with people he loves, including his wife and children.
“I get a chance to rest because I have established a strong system which does not entertain a one-man’s show.”
Mr Makole says it was his team’s commitment that saw his firm emerging the second runner-up in Tanzania Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies Survey 2018. The survey, which recognises mid-sized firms that have shown entrepreneurial excellence, is the brainchild of Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL), through The Citizen brand and KPMG, a top audit, tax and advisory firm. “I was caught by surprise; it is not easy to feature on the top three the very first time we are participating, thanks to the team’s hard work,” he says.