The Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) is giving women entrepreneurs the opportunity to exhibit and showcase their different talents in a world dominated by men.
Jessie Garwe, the Director of Jessie’s Delicacies is exhibiting at HIFA and showed passion in what she is doing for a living.
Jessie was born in Malawi on 31 October 1968 and later on moved to Zimbabwe. She attended Mt Pleasant High and did her tertiary education at Morgenster Teachers College where she trained as a teacher. Currently she’s pursing a degree in music at the University of Zimbabwe.
The woman entrepreneur said she was introduced to the entrepreneurship course by a friend in 2000 where she was taught all business skills including pricing of products and how to present goods to customers. She started her business small as a cake maker for a few customers.
“I always wanted to do something on my own so as to fulfil my dreams. I was advised by a friend in 2000 to go and an entrepreneurial course for a week here in Harare. After I took the course I started baking cakes, selling bags and jewellery.
“In 2005 I started renting a bakery where customers came and placed different orders. Due to a lot of pressure I received from both work and customers, I stopped baking and hired full time workers who would bake for me.
“My customers started complaining that the cakes I was supplying then were not as satisfactory as they were when I was making them. I had no choice than to resume my duties. Now I’m balancing my work as a teacher and the other side as an entrepreneur,” Garwe said.
Jessie said she rebranded and started on a new page this year to attract more customers and grow her market share as a women entrepreneur. The rebranding includes the corporate colours, bringing in more products to sell as well as doing something unique for HIFA which is where she’s exhibiting now.
The dream of becoming a strong independent woman did not stop when Jessie became one of the best cake makers. She always dreamt of becoming big and better every day. She joined Avroy Shlain a cosmetic organisation headquartered in Pretoria, South Africa. She sells cosmetics which include body sprays, roll-on perfumes and make-up kits.
Garwe said besides being a teacher, she is earning a living as a woman entrepreneur and therefore advised other women to follow in her footsteps. She is a proud mother who takes good care of her family and has a lot of advice to her growing kids.
“I’m earning a lot from all these businesses I am doing. I joined Avroy Shlain because I wanted a car and it did not take me time to have one and now I’m on my second car. It was really a life changer as my life was no longer the same from that day. I know that every month I will have people owing me money for the products I will have sold to them. So I’m targeting people who have the desire to earn something but they are not financially stable.
“I thank HIFA for the opportunity which it gave us as women. I’m able to share ideas with others and sell my products to other people as you can see there are a lot of people here,” she said.
This is the 19th year since HIFA started and a lot of people are seen coming for different activities to enjoy themselves. 217 artists will be performing as Maria Wilson, the Executive Director of HIFA highlighted.