Africa Leaders Magazine

PAUL MAKAYA – Founder and CEO, Bergast House

Paul Makaya, from Zimbabwe is founder and CEO, Bergast House, a Digital design and marketing company. It’s not easy doing business in a country perennially in an economic crisis. But Paul Makaya’s budding empire is defying the odds in Zimbabwe.

PAUL MAKAYA - Founder and CEO, Bergast House - African Leaders Magazine

With just the $200 he had saved up, Makaya and his friends invested it in 2016 and rented a miniature one-room office space that had only two chairs. This was only the beginning of Bergast House, a company that offers strategy, public relations, digital and design services. Today, the two chairs he started the business with have quintupled, as they now have a team of 10 and can gladly say they have worked with numerous organizations including software giant Microsoft. “The initial trigger was obviously frustration about the limitations of being an employee, but in that sense as well, I felt that as a young, dynamic person, there was so much more that I could offer to the industry,” he tells Forbes Africa. “I also felt we had a part to play in the rise of the African continent. Our vision is to rebrand Africa and this is our purpose.” The company has served over 103 clients including Zuva Petroleum, Astro Mobile, Maranatha Group of Schools, the Contact Centre Association of Zimbabwe, Tech24, the Chartered Institute of Customer Management, Steward Bank, and the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society, delivering an advertising value of up to $175 million.

Makaya has been listed on the Gumiguru 40 Under 30 list of emerging Zimbabwean leaders and in 2019, was selected to be the vice curator of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Harare Hub. He is also a founding member of the Zimbabwe National Youth Awards, an annual event which seeks to identify, award, celebrate and develop exceptional young Zimbabweans in all sectors of the country’s economy. Makaya plans to grow the business into countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Namibia.

He was recently listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 list and The Bergast House chief executive, said getting on the list is symbolic of the work that he and his team has put in over the years to develop the business.

“To me being listed, reaffirms the vision I have, the places I want to take the business to and energies me to push harder. It also comes with the pressure to meet expectation, gives hope to other young entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe, to say even in the challenging economic environment we are in, you can do something, you can make something, you can create employment, you can be a solution barrier and not just cry about the problems,” said Mr Makaya.

“And looking at the broader continent. It has always been a deep belief within our organisation to be part of the African revolution, an economic revolution – our purpose as a company is to be strategic partners, to be progressive African brands placing them on the international stage – so being listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 list reaffirms that we are in the right direction. This also gives us continental recognition, giving us a step into the regions and countries we are planning to move into.”

He offered advice on how local entrepreneurs can try and cope with the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which has disrupted business operations across the globe. “I believe businesses also need to take time to rethink their second quarter strategies because this pandemic has taken every organisation by surprise. No one had predicted that this would happen. This lockdown gives businesses the opportunity and time to think about how they can catch up on lost time, create their business systems, think about how the can take their businesses online and a variety of other things.”

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