Today is another opportunity to delve into another entrepreneur profile; on James Mushore. Remember, the thrust is to inspire and provoke you to unlock your potential. Entrepreneur profiles should leap at you as testimonies of how anything is possible. If you are someone who has been following many entrepreneur profiles, you will notice recurrent aspects. All that is to show you that you can also accomplish great things as an entrepreneur. One day you could even become the focus of an entrepreneur profile, just like James Mushore is today.

Who is James Mushore?

James Mushore is an Entrepreneur and renowned Business Executive. Mushore is the Founder and a former Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NMB Zimbabwe Holdings Limited. James Mushore is a Chartered Accountant with a demonstrated history of working in Advisory Services of one of the Big Four accounting firms and the banking industry. Along with 2 partners, he founded a bank listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE). Among other top skills, he is skilled in leadership, management, and negotiation. He attended St George’s College, later attained a Bachelor of Accounting Science degree, and was certified as a Chartered Accountant.

Early Educational Journey And Some Key Moments

His educational journey started off at St Michael’s prep school in Borrowdale as a boarder. There is an interesting backstory to this because, at the time, his parents obviously could not afford that. They stayed in Highfields at the time. The Catholic Priest of their local Roman Catholic Church assembly made it happen. He requested for James Mushore and his sister to be enrolled on a pilot run for interracial schooling. Remember, these were colonial times. No wonder, whilst in primary school, he did face some racial duress.

Later on, he enrolled at St George’s College. Thus Mushore got the unique opportunity to get a first-class education. It is interesting to note that he was quite good at field hockey. He even played in the first team at St George’s College. Later he was selected for the Mashonaland trials. However, his chances were crushed when an opponent deliberately smashed his ankle with a hockey stick. This was all simply because of the colour of his skin. Suffice it to say his early education through rich came with some challenges, mostly racial. James Mushore does indicate that this phase of his life taught him resilience – to be a survivor.

Later On…

He later went to the UK, where he did Business Studies. Afterwards, he returned and went to Zambia and joined an Accounting Firm. He then qualified as a Chartered Accountant and later became admitted as the second black partner of the firm. After some time, he went to London, where he worked in Financial Services, doing Financial Consultancy.

His Entrepreneurial Journey

At the end of his secondments, his friend, Julius Makoni, who was in Washington DC then, called him one day. He told him it was high time to start a bank in Zimbabwe. Makoni then asked Mushore to join him in making that happen. Mushore accepted the offer and returned to Zimbabwe. This was in 1989. He, Julius Makoni (still in Washington) and other partners on the ground started working on the business plan. They submitted it and were initially met with discouraging comments from fellow blacks. As in fellow blacks working at the licensing authority. For instance, remarks like ‘what do you blacks know about starting a bank’. Mushore says it took them roughly three years (1990 to 1993) to get a banking license finally.

Other than that initial hurdle, they also encountered challenges in raising capital. The bank, NMBZ, opened its doors on the 1st of June 1993. It was the first black bank, a merchant bank, to be licensed in Zimbabwe. 18 months later, NMBZ became the largest merchant bank in Zimbabwe. He attributes that success to their emphasis on using effective HR policies. Hiring the best people based solely on merit and potential is the formula. It is worth noting that NMBZ later became instrumental in listing CBZ and the Econet IPO. This was possible due to NMBZ’s ability in Corporate Finance Consultancy. Plus, their operational philosophy has always been, the more successful black businesses there are, the better.

James Mushore’s Present-Life Overview

Mushore indicates that he now spends most of his time looking after his mother. She is now in her 80s. This is something he says his father impressed on him whilst he was on his deathbed, “Look after your mom”. The overriding lesson his father taught him was – you have to be able to wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and like what you see. He highlighted that this ties into doing unto others as you would want them to do unto you. Nowadays, he largely majors in doing consultancy work here and there. He also runs a property portfolio on behalf of his family.

One of the most striking things I have ever heard Mushore saying was: “There are some battles not worth fighting”. So many things he said that ring true and are worth exploring. For instance, he once highlighted that Zimbabwe is a very difficult environment to live in if one is straightforward. This indicates the crippling scourge of corruption, a vice now a norm in Zimbabwe.

However, he emphasised what part of the solution is when he once said: “Our country can be fixed if we have the right skills in the right places. In addition, we need strong institutions that ensure that we are held to account where we fail to perform”. There is so much to learn from James Mushore’s experiences. This summarized entrepreneur profile of him barely scratched the surface. Regardless you did take home some unforgettable insights.