Born in Malawi, Bilesi moved to Zimbabwe at a young age, growing up and attending school there. Bilesi’s interest in electronics began to emerge immediately after he finished school, when he started a business repairing various devices, including televisions and amplifiers. In 2005 he returned to Malawi, with the aim of embarking on a new business venture in his home country. In 2006, with investment from his former employer, Bilesi opened his shop Shamwali Electronics – a repair and servicing business for televisions, DVD players and other electronics. He heard about Grow Movement from a friend who had also been involved, and was keen to take part and develop on his business management skills with a mentor.
Tanja is self-employed as an internal auditor in the UK, and studied entrepreneurship at university in her native Slovakia. She has also spent a lot of time travelling and working for charitable organisations in Africa. She got involved with Grow Movement after seeing an online video about the programme and realising that she could offer her skills as a mentor.
Being new in town, Bilesi found building a customer base quite challenging at first, so worked with Tanja to come up with effective marketing strategies. He also recognised that he was lacking some of the business management capabilities that could really help his business to grow and become more profitable. Before working with Tanja, Bilesi was not accustomed to keeping business records, so couldn’t accurately determine whether he was making a profit or not.
Tanja helped Bilesi to develop his record keeping skills and also supported him with new ideas of how to market his products and services. Bilesi is now able to monitor his sales, and separate business and personal funds. By adopting new marketing techniques and ploughing profits back into the business, Bilesi’s profitability has increased by 20%.
“I found the sessions with Tanja to be very helpful. I learned so much from her - my business really changed for the better.”
“I’d definitely work with Grow Movement again, and encourage others to do so – it’s incredibly rewarding to work with entrepreneurs like Bilesi.”