Conversation with Mendy Lusaba, founder & CEO at Chris and Geo Placements, a start-up that recruits, trains and places socioeconomically disadvantaged women as maids in Harare, Zimbabwe
Mendy, for those who don’t know you, tell us in few words: who is Mendy Lusaba and what is Chris and Geo?
Mendy is a Social Entrepreneur focused on reducing unemployment in her country through creating employment for the disadvantaged and marginalized women. Chris and Geo Placements was started to cover the gap between those seeking employees and those seeking employment, focusing wholly on domestic work. It is also aimed at professionalizing the domestic work industry.
What problem are you solving in Africa, in your country or your community?
In supporting the Number 1 Sustainable Development Goal, poverty, Chris and Geo is aiming at reducing poverty in Zimbabwe. According to the World Food Programme, 72% of Zimbabweans are leaving below the Poverty Datum Line with 30% of the rural population considered as extremely poor. SDG number 8 also focuses on decent work and economic growth and the country has an estimated whopping 95% unemployment rate. Chris and Geo therefore is also focusing or creating employment whilst reducing poverty but also contributing to the economic recovery of the country.
Do you think this is the right time for your start-up to solve the problem?
Today is the perfect time to solve poverty and unemployment. There is no time best as today. More so for Zimbabwe which has been grappling with political unrest for the past 10 years which has led to social and economic day? With everyone, hoping for the best for themselves and for the country, Chris and Geo has taken upon itself to at least do its part in solving the crisis in the country, a domestic worker at a time.
Does your solution fit in the market? (Do people want it)?
Zimbabwe has 3,076,222 with 2.098,199 households in Harare only. Of all these, 50,7% have someone employed and with the majority of the unemployed being involved in some economic activity of some sort. These represent the share of the market available to Chris and Geo. With more women being employed, housework is left to the domestic worker. As a result, there is indeed a market for domestic workers.
Tell us more about your team, why are you the best to solve this problem?
Our team has the relevant skills and experience to solve this problem. As the Head of the organisation, I personally hold a Post Grad Diploma in Labour Law, a B Sc in Human Resources Management and an IPM Diploma in Labour Relations. I also hold various Entrepreneurship Trainings and I am a YALI Alumni. I hold over 10years experience in the Human Resources sector.
What makes you different in the market?
Our service is personalized as we try to match both sides’ needs. We just do not serve you and let it go. Once a client, you join the family and we offer after sale services. Our service goes beyond just recruitment and placement but further as we are still available even after the placement has been done. We are also very knowledgeable of the sector and are up to date with current trends. Our knowledge of the Labour Laws also makes us favourable as our service is also very professional.
How do you measure your success?
Our success is measured byte number of workers employed in a month hence the concentration on social impact. With each worker employed, two families benefit. The employees’ family and the employer’s family. That even cascades to every family member thereof.
How innovative is your start-up? (Technological/social innovation)
Our start up is very innovative evidenced by the interactive website www.chrisandgeo.co.zw where one can even book a maid or training online. We also have a domestic shop on the site where one can order work clothes for their employee. We also have a mobile app A Nanny Like Mine available on Google Playstore.
What is the social impact of your start-up?
Most social problems are due to poverty and unemployment. By reducing unemployment, we also attack problems like lack of access to medical facilities, lack of education, prostitution or youth caused societal problems like theft and drug abuse. With employment comes income which helps address most social problems.
How are you scaling up the start-up?
The business is scalable and we are also expanding regionally. A lot of migration has taken place with Zimbabweans being found in other countries. Most Zimbabwean households prefer a domestic worker from their country in order to assist with preserving the culture in the home through language and food. As a result, there is a huge market in other countries for the services. We have already started expanding into the SADC region.
What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs and new start-ups?
Go for it….Never give up.
You can reach Mendy at: www.chrisandgeo.co.zw or www.mendylusaba.wordpress.com, 00263773000507 , No 219 Herbert Chitepo , Harare.