NetOne’s SME Development Initiative Pays Dividends

NetOne has been aggressively repositioning itself to increase its market share in the very competitive mobile industry.

NetOne rolled out a franchise model in May 2018, to increase its reach whilst affording its customers the much-needed accessibility of its products and services across the country and enhance its distribution capacity over and above the 34 shops it owns.

This is in line with its thrust towards empowering and developing communities whilst contributing to the sustainable growth of small scale enterprises.

Franchises offer the independence of small business ownership supported by the benefits of a big business network. NetOne is providing all the requisite training and branding to operate the franchises. Thus empowering the youths who happen to be our biggest market in the form of employment creation in line with the Government’s thrust on socio-economic development.

The outlook remains very bright and we as NetOne are very clear of the milestones that we are going to achieve in the set timelines. These shops are spread across the 10 provinces and increased from 636 to 1500 which is a 131% increase from prior year.

Asked on the growth of the NetOne’s footprint and the successes of the franchise model, NetOne CEO Mr Lazarus Muchenje said:

“It has indeed been an exciting journey and the results are quite encouraging. Approximately 3000 jobs were created through this initiative. Our sim registrations through this channel increased by 819% from 57,000 in 2018 to 524,000 last year, which is a 40% contribution to our overall new sim registrations.

“Revenue from Franchise shops also increased by 640% to $111 million from $15 million in prior year. I am pleased to advise that Franchises contributed 25% towards NetOne’s overall revenues in 2019. All our services are offered in a seamless manner and the feedback we have been receiving is very positive. The experience at every touch point is similar to what one gets in our fully-fledged NetOne shops. Our brand is now within reasonable proximity which is aligning well with our OneMoney growth strategy as we strive to build a solid mobile money ecosystem.”

One of the Harare Based Franchisees Mr Gabarinocheka said “ I have always been an airtime distributor for other networks, but when I become a NetOne Franchisee, my business has grown exponentially largely because of the fact that there is high demand for its product, supported by a stable and quality network. I have managed to expand my business and now have 6 outlets”

A Mutare Based Franchisee Mr Charamba said:

“I am very happy with my partnership with NetOne and it has a strong future as it has empowered us as SMEs. The zero transaction promotion on One Money has also helped me penetrate the rural market through the Zimswitch enabled debit card as well and the growing number of P2P Merchants. This has helped us onboard thousands of subscribers and grow our airtime customer base. I have also employed about 40 brand ambassadors to assist me over the past 2 months. Ndirikutapirirwa nekushanda neNetOne.”

Such initiatives are very encouraging and should NetOne continue to engage more small businesses in order to continue on the positive trajectory it is on, as evidenced by the growth in both the subscriber and revenue market share as per POTRAZ Q3 Report, this giant shall surely rise.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende