Mutepa Kamoto is the founder of Property 36, a trailblazing real estate firm in Zambia. Kamoto’s brainchild has survived tough economic times to continue providing real estate service in the Southern African country.
Business Elites Africa caught up with Kamoto on his entrepreneurial journey and crucial issues in Africa’s real estate industry.
BEA: How did your entrepreneurial journey start and why did you decide to go that route instead of paid employment?
Mutepa Kamoto: With years of experience as a real estate specialist in one of the leading real estate firms in Zambia at the time, I was lucky to have a managing director who believed in me. He always taught me not to jump jobs but to dream of beginning my own journey. I was moulded into an entrepreneur by watching him create his dream into reality. Once I took the leap of faith, I knew exactly which way to head.
BEA: What strategies did you first use for marketing your real estate business?
Mutepa Kamoto: My strategy was what I called the outside-in approach. Before an office, we set up an impression – a catchy name, a website, personalised emails and most importantly, I understood that an aggressive social media presence was key. This helped us gain grounds in thousands of interactions and gave us good leads at the early start of my business.
BEA: What were the factors that contributed to your success in the business?
Mutepa Kamoto: While they could be many, I will single out two – firstly, my passion for the real estate sector. I have learnt in the last couple of years that passion stays and grows businesses because when the harsh times arrive, that keeps you going. Secondly, patience and continuous learning. I learnt to trust the process on this journey and always be open to learning new trends in the sector. The truth is, you don’t know it all; keep learning.
BEA: What are the challenges you’ve had to surmount in your journey?
Mutepa Kamoto: Starting a business in the African setup is difficult. Statistics show a high percentage of businesses fail in the second year. The challenges are always interconnected – our African policy of access to capital becomes the biggest hindrance to an entrepreneurial environment across the continent. This was never different for me; it called for sacrifice and disposal of assets to sustain one dream.
BEA: What’s the most challenging thing about running a business?
Mutepa Kamoto: For me, it’s the challenge of keeping that fire burning in you. Entrepreneurship is not a fairy tale story; 9 out of 10 things won’t move as you planned- giving up is always the top agenda. However, keeping that fire burning in you separates you from the dreamers and the doers.
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