This is yet another entrepreneur profile to inspire you. It is amazing how people can be familiar with a brand and not know the person(s) behind it. I am guessing virtually all of you have heard of the money remittances service provider, Mukuru. I am confident most of us have used it or use it regularly. Well, did you know that it was started by a Zimbabwean? Yes, it is a Zimbabwean and his name is Rob Burrell. Let us take a journey in exploring who he is and interesting details about his life.
Who Is Rob Burrell?
Rob Burrell is a Zimbabwean expatriate residing in the UK. He is the Founder and CEO of Mukuru. Interestingly, he is also a lead singer for a music group called Mann Friday. He is a holder of a Business Science degree from Rhodes University. He points though that his degree did not directly contribute to his entrepreneurial ability. Rather he says that it opened employment opportunities for him. The experience gained from these jobs is what formed the foundation for venturing into entrepreneurship. Though of course, he says entrepreneurship was always something bubbling in him.
It Is OK To Fail – Just Do Not Give Up
This is so demonstrated by the many times he has tried things and failed. Yet despite how intense failure can be he has never stopped trying again. He once tried a Chess Café Coffee shop which failed. He once tried to shoot an independent movie which failed. He also once tried to start a location company for movies, it failed. He at one point tried starting an ad company again, failed. Seeing the international call restrictions from Zimbabwe he tried starting a business to address that, it also failed. He currently is pursuing a rock music career with his outfit, Mann Friday. We are yet to see how that will pan out. One thing we do know is that with Mukuru, he eventually managed to nail it. He emphasises the importance of two attributes every entrepreneur must have – being passionate and tenacious.
The Mukuru Empire
When it comes to diaspora remittances in Southern Africa, Mukuru has been a game-changer. One of the biggest disruptive elements Mukuru entered with was and still is cheaper transactions charges. Now Mukuru has expanded beyond just Zimbabwe and South Africa. It is now also in countries such as Malawi, Kenya, and Zambia. There are plans of even expanding further into other countries.
Mukuru started with just a simple fuel service. Zimbabweans could purchase fuel for their loved ones back in Zimbabwe. Their loved ones would receive an SMS of where and how to redeem their fuel. This was back then when fuel availability was erratic in Zimbabwe. This fuel service led to remarkable growth for Mukuru in just a few months. This formed the foundation and confidence booster to expand into money remittance services.
Some Notable Lessons From Rob Burrell
Try – Fail – Rise Again
Just a reiteration, it is important to dare to explore things. Do not be scared to try things out. It is okay to fail but more importantly, you must not get stuck in failure. I am sure in all those ventures he tried and failed there were valuable lessons he learnt.
Day Jobs Do Matter
Notice how he pointed out that the jobs he undertook were instrumental to his entrepreneurial journey. This is a huge lesson for most people who think day jobs are outright unimportant. Day jobs offer a platform to learn so many things about yourself and running an enterprise. You need to use your day jobs as pedestals to launch you into the future. Do not downplay them!
The Value Of Partnerships
The other thing Rob Burrell emphasises is not being an island. He says the most important lesson he has taken away all these years is the value of partnerships. He highlights that his business partnership with an old friend of his has been everything. ‘You cannot do everything, he says. That is true and many entrepreneurs and business people miss it on this one. Many people try to do everything themselves which often leads to failure. It is essential to enter into partnerships with people who complement our experience, skills, and competencies.
Home Is Always Best
There are vast opportunities out there and if you are the real deal you can make it. However, Rob Burrell believes Africa is laden with vast opportunities. He does appreciate that it is relatively harder to take off or establish oneself in Africa. Regardless, he feels it is better to invest yourself into setting up shop in Africa. That way you will ultimately establish something in an environment you call home. It might take long yes, but he considers that a much better route.
That is Rob Burrell and some inspiring details about his life. I am sure you managed to assimilate some relatable insights or lessons to apply in your life. When I look at his life one thing keeps resonating in my mind, you can be and achieve anything you want.