We always endeavour to come up with inspirational and insightful entrepreneur profiles. Today we are discussing Ken Sharpe (full name Kenneth Raydon Sharpe). Ken Sharpe, as he is affectionately known, is a renowned Zimbabwean entrepreneur. His areas of interest span from real estate, manufacturing, to services, information and communication technologies, plus more. He was born on the 27th of January in 1973. He was born here in Zimbabwe (but at the time it was still Rhodesia). When he was 5 years old he moved to neighbouring South Africa. After 2 years, upon the attainment of independence, he returned to Zimbabwe. He is the classic example of school dropouts who later become millionaires. Ken Sharpe dropped out of school when he was aged 18. Let us look at some more interesting details about Ken Sharpe.
The Teenage Years
For Ken Sharpe, the entrepreneurial spirit came alive when he was in his teens. When he was around 15 years of age he started a basic tuck shop business. He put this up close to his father’s mine and his main focus was vegetables. His target market was the very people who were employed at the mine.
The Journey Starts
10 years after the independence of Zimbabwe he started his business journey. His starting point was confectionery and food distribution. By the way, confectionery is an area that deals with foodstuffs that taste very sweet. It is a term collectively used to refer to such types of foods. Anyways, that business over the decades grew and morphed into the West Group.
Business Empire Grows
He is majorly known for his West Properties business empire for which he is the Executive Chairman. He also runs other successful businesses namely, West Food Distribution and Augur Investments. His long list of business interests over the years also includes Intercrop, West Beverages, West Agencies, and West Oils.
Today Real Estate Is His Core Focus
After having dipped his fingers into several interests, he decided to zone in his focus on real estate. In his own words he said last year, “I decided about 15 years ago to focus the core business on real estate and therefore sold off non-core assets. Right now, with West Properties as the premier developer of properties for tomorrow’s market in Zimbabwe, we currently have several projects on the go…”
Remote Work – Zimworx
You probably might have heard about Zimworx. This is a platform that provides remote employment opportunities for local Zimbabweans. This is a business Ken Sharpe started with a business partner from the US. The business has been running for some years now.
An Escape From Death
One of the most striking incidents in his life was when he experienced a skiing incident. He was on vacation in Canada in 2007 and decided to ski without protective gear. Unfortunately, he rammed into a tree and had a serious head injury. Doctors indicated that his brain cavity (about 60 per cent of it) was full of blood. He then underwent surgery (which lasted 7 or so hours).
Additionally, they also had to keep him in a medically induced coma for 5 days. After all, was said and done, there was still a slim probability of him surviving. Specialists cited that the probability of survival stood at a meagre 3 per cent. Against all odds, just a few days after the surgery, Ken Sharpe emerged alive and well.
His Striking Remarks On The Importance Of Family And Generational Wealth
Mr Sharpe is big on family and its crucial role in generational wealth creation. He says, “It is the work of family units to build wealth across generations. There is surely no substitute and no better way than generational momentum to generate the greatest economic prosperity for the greatest number of people. All these attributes of wealth are to be studied carefully and transmitted from parents to children and generation to generation”
You can also be inspired by his illustration of the multiplier effect. Essentially having a generational outlook has a multiplier effect i.e. compounded outcomes. A simple way to show this: let us suppose the first generation puts in US$100. By the turn of the third generation, you will hypothetically be looking at an outcome of US$1 million or more. If the baton is effectively passed on from generation to generation, staggering outcomes can even be wrought in just two generations. Better still, there are numerous real-life examples of where within that one (i.e. first) generation remarkable outcomes came out.
2021 – Leader in Real Estate of the Year (Megafest National Leadership Awards)
2021 – Forbes Best of Africa Award of Excellence (Forbes) (the first-ever Zimbabwean to receive this award)
He has also received recognitions and awards from prestigious entities such as the UAE Africa Networking Group and Foreign Investment Network Leadership and Philanthropy Roundtable.
So that is it about Ken Sharpe. He also has some investments in tech and solar farms. Just so know, he is married (to Joanna) and has one daughter and a foster son (Tatiana and Denzel Malikwa, respectively). Ever since he was young he always had a keen desire for business. He always believed that making money was something to work towards. He also felt that he could best improve his circumstances through business. Years on from his early years it is evident he made good on those convictions.