A new giant in the steel market emerges

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THIS week we continue looking at and celebrating indigenous players in the small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) that are enjoying brisk business despite the prevailing economic challenges.
Through sheer hard work, innovation and a never-say-die attitude, these players are fast establishing themselves as leading players in their respective sectors.
We take a look at Steelmate which has formalised its operations and is fast becoming the preferred supplier of a wide range of steel products.
According to the Micro, SMEs and Co-operatives magazine, The New Economy: “Steelmate is a pacesetter of the formalisation of enterprises at Mbare’s Siya-So SMEs complex and is in sync with the formalisation agenda that is being encouraged by Government.”
Information gleaned from the company’s facebook account proudly states that the company: “Housed in the heart of Magaba home industry in Mbare, a stone’s throw from the CBD, Steelmate (has become) a force to reckon with in the Zimbabwean steel market.
“Steelmate is as an indigenous company which sells a wide range of construction material, offering comparatively the best prices in the construction market.”
Not only does the company push products off its shelves just for profit, but also ensures that its customers get the right and best materials.
“Apart from selling steel products, we also offer advice to our clients on what material to buy so that they purchase the proper products that suit their diverse needs,” says the firm.
“All our valued customers can bring their bending schedules to our premises in Mbare where we will assist them with free sound construction expertise on the material they need.” Clients are also guaranteed convenience during shopping.
“We have lots of parking space at our premises and our clients should not be worried about the safety of their cars when they come to do business with us because we have loads of parking space for our motoring clientele.”
Steelmate, owned by Clive Chisenye, offers deformed reinforcement bars, round bars, mesh wire, round tubes, rectangular tubes, roofing sheets, CR sheets, HR sheets, angle irons of all sizes, aluminum checker plates, tying wire, straps, flat tubes, square tubes.
According to the magazine, Steelmate is now a force to reckon with in the Zimbabwean steel retail market. Chisenye, it is said, made a sacrifice by selling some of his trucks from his haulage company, used personal savings and also got a small loan which was a risk he was willing to take to succeed in his newly-formed business.
“I am not a skilled welder or steel man,” Chisenye is quoted as saying.
“I studied other things; I was inspired by my cousins who were also in the business in the 1990s.”
The Steelmate founder said lack of business management skills and abuse of funds were the reasons most enterprises were folding.
“Business management skills are necessary,” he said.
“Some of the entrepreneurs are challenged in communicating in English and subjected to inferiority complex situations when dealing with the market.
“It is one thing to make money and a different thing to use it.” Chisenye called on the Ministry of SMEs and Co-operative Development to increase SMEs training to ensure those who had access to opportunities thrived and did not fail as a result of poor management.
“Entrepreneurs and their employees must also observe good corporate governance and business ethics,” he said.
“There is also need to equip entrepreneurs with public relations skills as most of them exhibited traces of rude treatment of customers, forgetting that the customer feeds the business and that they also need to be honest and fair in their dealings to achieve success.” The company, he said, was in the process of seeking cheaper raw materials to increase market competitiveness.
“We need to find strategic sources of raw materials for products at affordable prices so that we don’t over-price products and become more competitive against stiff competition from Chinese entrepreneurs whose products are always cheaper,” said the fast rising entrepreneur.
“We wish to be relocated to a bigger space within Mbare Magaba neighbourhood to establish a bigger workplace.”

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