Humble beginnings are real! The famous Bill Gates once said, “It’s not your fault if you were born poor, but it will be your fault if you die poor”. Here is a story of a man who came from nothing, and has managed to build five businesses in car hire, general supplies, marketing and branding, advertising and catering services under Top Trading Group

Phingo-Phingo Makondi, born in 1986 lost both parents at a very young age and was taken in by his aunt. However, he did not stay with her long but moved to his home village in Thyolo where he completed his primary education at Nagwengwere school. Phingo-Phingo was then selected to Nyodola Community Day Secondary School, which was seventeen kilometers away from his home. Every day, for two years, he walked this distance to and from school, a total distance of thirty-four kilometers. Since his family could not afford to raise enough money for school fees at the time, he sought help from well-wishers. Luckily, he found it in Madame Shanil Muluzi, Malawi’s First Lady at the time who offered to pay his school fees when she visited their constituency.

In the year 2004, Phingo-Phingo moved to Blantyre where he completed his last two years of secondary school at Michiru View. His Malawi Schools Certificate Examinations results were not satisfactory to his guardians as such he was sent to Kaphuka where he scored 20 points on his MSCE in 2006. He was later selected to pursue Media for Development at Chancellor College. Unfortunately, he did not like the course and opted to enroll at National College of Information Technology. Three months down the line, he withdrew from NACIT.

I did not like the Media for Development course and did not enjoy studying IT. I was never great with sciences. So I enrolled for a marketing degree course at Malawi Adventist University. I have always loved business related subjects; and I was the best in Business and Accounting at Kaphuka”

Phingo-Phingo graduated from Malawi Adventist University with a marketing degree and joined Chibuku Products Limited in 2012, as the first graduate trainee for its marketing department. Phingo-Phingo has always had a mind for businesss; while in school, his first business was selling bread. He would buy a loaf and sell slices to fellow students. He then moved on to stationery, printing, selling airtime as well as sanitary pads. While working for Chibuku, Phingo-Phingo still had the entrepreneurial mindset and was always looking for business opportunities.

I was always looking for an opportunity for business, by the time I was finishing college I had run over seven businesses. After school, I registered several businesses with nothing on the ground. I started building these businesses one by one and currently I have built five and am remaining with six”

“My drive in entrepreneurship is fueled by my background, where am coming from and my belief in God. What I have been through helped me to be hard working, be a ‘go-getter’ and to believe that everything is possible.”

In the next seven years, Phingo-Phingo plans to roll out his remaining companies and also venture into construction. He also believes that in-order to succeed it is imperative that we accept the fact that we are all different. As such, we have to create an environment where everyone feels included.

To aspiring entrepreneurs:

“Malawi is the best country for business, especially for those who dream big. It is an emerging market and any idea can work if you know how to execute it, there are so many opportunities here.

“We need to prioritize professionalism and formality in our businesses. Register your businesses and open a bank account; that way you can easily get financed, if need be”

“Don’t wait to have millions or billions to start your business. All you need is high self-esteem and belief in your abilities.

Phingo-Phingo Makondi 2020

Contact Top Trading Group (Car Hire, Catering, Construction) on: +265 888 749 661 and email; innocent@jericho.co.mw

Published by Joezef Katsala

I love expressing the story, emotion and color through writing. I love music and finding out the WHY behind everything. Am an Agricultural Economist and entrepreneur


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