Most Malawians underrate their capabilities when it comes to venturing into challenging businesses. Instead they prefer going the easy way by engaging themselves in small scale businesses. But for one Lilongwe based businessman, Alfred Gangata, his story is all sorts of an unfamiliar cliché and it beggars belief – from rags to riches with determination.
The difference between his story and many others is that he took a risk. He started his business unassumingly modest, but looking at what he has achieved so far in just a few years, it will certainly change mindsets of those who believe that they cannot run big businesses or open their own companies.
In this exclusive interview, Nyasa Times reporter Jeromy Kadewere referred to in this interview as JK talks to this inspiring young man, Alfred Gangata, referred in this interview as AG, the Managing Director of Masters Group to find out more on his impeccable journey to success.
(JK) Who is Alfred Gangata?
(AG) I am a Malawian business man and owner and managing director of Masters Group, which has five companies (Masters Security Services, Fredlines General Dealers, Self Made Import and Export, Sellers of Farm Produces and Concrete Constructions and I am also a farmer.
(JK) How did you become the owner of your companies?
(AG) It was in 2011 when l thought of establishing Masters Security Services and l remember l only had had K100, 000 as capital when I started my first company and I also vividly l remember that when l was doing ground-breaking for my business, many people doubted me and said all sorts of things like “akufuna awoneke ngati ndani kodi awa tiwona komwe ziwafikitse.”(Who does he want to be seen to be?) However, what the people were saying did not stop me to do what I was doing, l soldiered on because l believed in myself and ultimately I had an ambition and a mission to accomplish.
(JK) Would you explain exactly how you managed to establish Masters Security Services with only K100, 000?
(AG) It is a matter of being organized. I was so focused. To be successful one must be focused and always alert on whatever they want to achieve. The secret to success is determination and commitment. Hard work pays and there is no short cut. For your information, l used part of the money from farming to establish this company. The problem with most Malawians is that they want to start business with millions, they forget that a journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step.
(JK) How many people have you employed so far?
(AG) With this company alone, Masters Security Services, l have managed to employ 3000 people, but if you ask me how many l have employed in all my five companies l can confidently say that it’s over 4000 people. I am proud yet so humbled that I have created jobs for many people. Now I can proudly stand on top of any mountain that through Masters Group of companies’ l employ over 4000 Malawians.
(JK)What does Masters Security Services do and which other companies does it work with?
(AG) Masters Security Services is a firm that exceeds client expectations by offering exceptional security solutions around the clock on the clock with 24hrs manned guarding, access door control, CCTV installation, electric fencing and many more propitious security solutions. Currently, we are working with companies like Airtel Malawi and MTL. We are responsible in guarding all Airtel towers in the country.
(JK) What is your educational background?
(AG) Many people do not believe me when l tell them that lam not a graduate. I did not even go far with my education because only l reached form 4 that is all. The problem with us (Malawians) is that we tend to believe that for any person to succeed in life then he or she should have Degrees, PHD’s etc. It is a matter of handwork, dedication and patience. While education is very important, but it is not a recipe for success. We are obsessed with qualifications that are not even necessary needless to mention that we like titles which are not useful to our lives or the country’s development. Degrees or academic titles do not work, people do. We must create jobs and not always be looking for a job after our education.
(JK) Where are you from and how old are you?
(AG) I was born on 20th October 1988. I am from Kachipeya Village, T/A Kachere in Dedza District but currently lam staying in Area 3 in Lilongwe.
(JK) What do you do when you are free?
(AG) Playing and watching football. I do not miss Chelsea games because that is the club l support, while locally I used to be Big Bullets fan, but l ceased since l have a football club which l am sponsoring now.
(JK) Can you elaborate more on this football club which you’re sponsoring?
(AG) The team is called Masters Security Services FC and currently playing in the Chipiku but we have an ambition next year to earn promotion into the Super League.
(JK) Do you have the capacity to sponsor the team at Super League level?
(AG) Why not? In fact, l already have a plan for it and I have already put each and every player on a payroll. I have put in place an attractive wage bill for all the players in the team. They are all on a monthly salary which most of our Super League teams cannot even afford.
(JK) Why you did also venture into football sponsorship?
(AG) I feel most of our youths have nothing to do, and as a result they indulge in immoral behaviors’ which can lead them into contracting an HIV Virus or commit despicable crimes. So l sat down and said to myself that with the little l have, why can’t l keep them (the youth) busy with something and football appeared to me as the best option. The game of football, apart from being entertained or entertaining others, they are also being protected from indulging in immoral behaviors.’
(JK) You also said you are a farmer, can you tell me more?
(AG) I am a smallholder farmer who owns a chunk of land in Mchinji district where l grow groundnuts, beans and maize. Last year, l grew 85 bags of groundnuts which l sold them at a price of K2.7 million and also grew two hectares of beans which l sold them at K3.4 million. If people start taking farming seriously l have the hope that this country can develop progressively. We must indulge ourselves in the habit of producing what we can consume and not consume what we cannot produce.
(JK) Any advice for Malawians?
(AG) Most Malawians are failing to prosper in their businesses because of the Pull – Down syndrome, envy, jealousy and lacking patience. If Malawians start supporting each other l believe that we can progress and move step forwards.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :