Telecommunications, energy and construction entrepreneur Rinos Mautsa says a person’s background does not matter in life, but what is important is the purpose God has planted within an individual.
Mautsa (RM), who was raised by his widowed mother following the death of his father while he was in Form 1, told Alpha Media Holdings chairman Trevor Ncube (TN) on the platform In Conversation with Trevor that it was also important to have mentors.
He spoke at length about his journey as an entrepreneur. Below are excerpts from the interview.
TN: Rinos Mautsa, welcome to In Conversation With Trevor.
RM: Thank you so much for having me Trevor. I'm so honoured.
TN: Well the honour is ours. Rinos we have been watching you, the things that you have been doing, and we thought that uh let us sit down and find out why you do what you do?
And how you have gotten to where you are right now?
I will take a helicopter view of what you have been able to do.
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Starting with Picco Construction; at some point I want us to drill down and find out exactly what Picco Construction does.
You are the chairman and chief executive of Picco Construction.
RM: Absolutely yeah.
TN: You are also the founder of Tech24 Private Limited, an integrated technology company.
You are also the chairman of Energy Plus, which is the region’s largest LPG wholesaler in Sadc.
You have also started Leisure Plus.
You have also started being instrumental in starting a youth bank, or wanting a youth bank to be started. In the first instance, I must say Rinos, where do you get the time to do all these things?
This sounds like 10 jobs. Where did you get the time to do this?
RM: Well for me I am so privileged, I am a product of grace.
I always say when I get a platform such as this I mean this is a huge platform and I am so honoured to be here.
If you have people or a reference, it is so easy for you to scale up. Why?
Because we have people like you, people like Mukoma Nigel, people like Busi Nkala.
People who have showed us that it is indeed possible for a young African child to make it.
I can always come to people who have walked the journey to say how you did it, and entrepreneurship these days, despite the challenges we are facing as a nation, it is now simplified, it is easier especially if you are committed and if you know your purpose and calling.
Because I mean there is the internet, you can learn from the internet from those who are in South Africa, and it is easy to engage and to scale.
Because you can go to Zambia without going to Zambia, you just reach out to someone whom you want to have a meeting with I mean via LinkedIn, and you can do some deals and transactions.
You can register online, unlike back then maybe 20 years ago, it was not that easy, so you can do multiple things, but it also has its shortcomings which I will talk about maybe later on.
TN: Absolutely. I want to understand what makes a person like you. Where were you born and when were you born?
RM: Okay, so I was born in Nyanga. I am 38 years old.
I was born in Nyanga in Manicaland. Raised by a single mother. My dad passed on when I was young.
RM: And we were so many in our family because he had three wives, but what I liked about my father he was someone who was a visionary...
TN: How young were you when he passed on?
RM: I was in Form 1.
TN: Form 1.
RM: Yes. So he was a visionary.
Why? Because he understood the value of education, so he always wanted all his kids to go through a boarding school.
You know if you are coming from a middle income maybe family, going to a boarding school it was okay, it was good.
So, for me and my siblings we were at a boarding school, but when he passed on, my mother then working hard in the rural areas managed to send us to school, me and my siblings, and she always said you have to also attain your PHD’s, you have to go to attain maybe the highest level of tertiary education.
For me, most of the qualifications that I attained it was just to make her happy, and I am so happy that she is now very comfortable, because she used to sacrifice a lot.
I would hear her praying for us in the wee hours of the morning, at midnight sometimes, and she would work so hard farming you know cotton, and doing other things.
She was also volunteering and working an NGO job for adult literacy organisation, and then partly she was also doing farming.
So because of that it really helped us to attain some basic education and I am so happy with my siblings, every one of us we are...
TN: How many are they (siblings)?
RM: We are just three.
RM: Three. Every one of us we have attained our Masters, and my younger sister is now going for a PhD.
TN: What life lessons do you think you got from your late father and your mother? Which explain why you are where you are now?
RM: Well you know I have realised that in this short life, your background it does not matter, where you are coming from it does not matter.
What matters is the purpose that God has planted it within you, and for you to also have some mentors and guidance.
If you have great conviction to say I want to be like this, what I have seen automatically divine providence will set in, the moment you say to yourself or set your eyes on something and you believe in it firmly to say you know what one day I am going to be like.
You know what Trevor I remember so well when I then went to college, I was staying with my maiguru, my brother's wife, and when I was staying with her I used to joke with her to say you are so privileged to be staying with me because one day; I am telling you…
We always joke about it even up to now. When I launched my book, I said it in front of many executives who were there, it was one of the biggest gatherings...
TN: Congratulations for the book, we will talk about it.
RM: That is okay, thank you so much.
So I used to tell you that to say you know what I am going to be so great, and I was very young, had just completed my Advanced Level.
I used to tell her so you know what maiguru I am going to make you proud I am going to be so great, I am going to impact a generation, and people from my family they are going to know entrepreneurship and to also start their own businesses because I will be the reference in the family.