Who is Alson Jasi
Alson Jasi (age 28) is an emerging young entrepreneur making his mark in the construction industry of Zimbabwe. He is the founder and CEO of Abrigo Pvt Ltd, a company that is fast dominating in road construction, road marking and supply of SADC road signs and road making materials
How I started Abrigo Pvt Ltd
I started Abrigo in 2015 when I was an undergraduate student at University of Zimbabwe doing my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. By then I was the President of the National Association of Social Work Students in Zimbabwe. As a leader with a great zeal but limited funding, I realised the need to seek internship to finance some of the association’s activities myself. I then joined a road construction company (name withheld) and it is during my stay there that I realised a gap in the construction industry.
Around that time, Zimbabwe had just adopted the new SADC standards for road signs and road marking. As we know, a transition period in any case will cause some hiccups, the same can be said for the road construction industry at that time. The cost to councils of getting these new signs was way above $300 per sign, mainly because no local companies were manufacturing the signs and lack of knowledge of the new standards. With a little research and capital borrowed from friends and family, I started making SADC standard signs for less than $200 per sign in our home backyard with a few hired help. At first as an unregistered company, I sold to registered companies who would in turn sell to councils. Though I had managed to reduce the cost of signs to councils, I wasn’t satisfied because I knew supplying directly to them would further reduce the price.
As I started realising profits, I then registered Abrigo and it was incorporated that very same year of 2015. After registration, we started supplying signs at a very competitive price of $140 per sign to our clients. Abrigo also started exploring all avenues in road construction and we continued to grow.
What we do
Abrigo has grown to become a one stop company that offers a full range of road construction and supply of materials. We offer road marking and road construction. We supply tars, bitumen and bitumen products, road signs and road safety accessories and precast concrete products.
Sectors of operation
We are a diverse company and we offer our services to the Government, Local government, Public Parastatals and Private sectors.
Number of employees
Today Abrigo has established two branches, in Bulawayo and Harare. In Bulawayo we have 10 permanent employees that include two qualified engineers. In Harare we have 6 permanent employees, including one engineer, sales and marketing manager and a general manager.
It is key to note that Abrigo is a youthful company, we believe in the statement, “by the youth, with the youth, for the youth in generations to come”. All our key personnel are between the ages 22-29. This is because we believe in youthful, energetic minds to bridge the gap between us and other developed countries.
What motivated me
It was the gap that I see in us as a country in terms of infrastructure development and technology. I just wanted to play my part in bridging the gap.
How YEP assisted me
At inception, like most companies, Abrigo had financial problems. YEP gave us seed capital which went a long way in boosting our financial shortfalls. The reason why most entrepreneurs do not make their break is because of funding. We were very fortunate to have the CBZ YEP funding.
YEP has also played a significant role in our publicity, they have provided platforms for us to exhibit, like the CBZ SME Indaba, and also they have published our story on social media, and national radio and television.
Biggest success in business since inception
We have managed to penetrate most cities in Zimbabwe in terms of sales and marketing, we have excellent working relations with most councils and have established two branches in just 3 years.
We have extended our relations abroad, as CEO I have managed to do trips to China, India and South Africa where I have made contacts and MOU’s with some of the big wigs in the construction industries. We are targeting 7 countries abroad by December 2018, and so far we have done India and China. These relations are the future of Abrigo, I believe we are not just here to get good houses and drive better cars, our vision is to make our mark globally, offer quality road services at better value.
Message to upcoming entrepreneurs
My secret that I am willing to share with aspiring entrepreneurs is to always stay ahead of the game. Being an entrepreneur is to be like a musician, you identify a gap, develop a product, and when you make the big break, don’t overstay the celebrations, move on and start working on another product or ways to improve that product. Don’t have the copycat mentality, think of ways to improve and realize what works best for you. Just like a musician who has to constantly releasing albums to keep the fans. Always think of ways to improve and do better, that way you remain in touch with the fast evolving global world. In entrepreneurship hakuna ndapedza bhora.
My other message would be for entrepreneurs to give a holistic view to their ideas. By this I mean they should treat their businesses, social life and family life equally the same, with a serious attitude. This all goes into making a good name and reputation and a good reputation makes business