Choosing Home - the Story of Rudo Nyangulu-Mungofa, Founder of Stimulus
Based out of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, the social business incubator Stimulus is 8 years old, founded in 2011 by a young woman named Rudo Nyangulu-Mungofa.
What began out of curiosity to understand the unique challenges faced by local entrepreneurs has grown into a thriving business, offering various business literacy training programs and business incubation services in Zimbabwe and other African countries. Stimulus comprises a team of 8 staff, as well a pool of 15 expert consultants.
How it all started?
After studying and living in the United Kingdom for over 10 years, Rudo moved back to Zimbabwe. Having been away for so long, she had to develop new networks in Zimbabwe as most of her friends had moved to various places.
“Most of the people I met were creatives and were entrepreneurial, but they were also not making much money and still living with their parents in their 20s. These people were genuinely working hard but economically not moving forward, and this was something that confused me”, – explains Rudo Nyangulu-Mungofa, the Founderof Stimulus.
Challenged by the stagnation she saw in many young entrepreneurs, Rudo began to question Captains of Industry and other stakeholders in an effort to understand the barriers for incorporation of innovative ideas by local entrepreneurs. In one such conversation the former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zambia, Michael Gondwe had a simple response for Rudo: “If you see the problem, do something about it”.
“I am a lawyer by profession, and during my time in University I worked on a business development program with the Prince’s Trust. The program focused on developing business ideas from youth coming out of prison and children who had gone through the childcare system”, adds Rudo.
Rudo, who has always been entrepreneurial set out to establish Stimulus in 2011. The first iteration of Stimulus focused on making connections. Stimulus set out to provide local entrepreneurs with mentorship, networks and basic business training. In 2013, Rudo got married, and her husband joined her in developing Stimulus. This brought a new wave of energy and vision to the business which saw a move from the adhoc workshops to establishment of the innovation centre in 2015.
“Do the western blueprints of enterprise development work here? The Silicon Valley approach is romantic at best,” shares Rudo.
Stimulus has set out to develop training tools, and has a pool of non-governmental partners. This has seen the hub, reach young entrepreneurs from all walks of life. One of Stimulus’ flagship courses, Maita, is a low literacy program and has reached youth in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa with plans for expansion.
“You may have a brilliant idea, but the way you are thinking about it is so expensive. Unless someone else comes in and points out some opportunities to reduce cost, this will always be an idea on your laptop,” concludes Rudo.