MICRO-FINANCER Inclusive Financial Services (Private) Limited’s founder, Mr Gerald Zhou, says his dream is to transform the young institution into a bank.
Established in 2012, Inclusive Financial Services has made a mark in financial circles as it now operates 11 branches in different parts of the country.
Mr Zhou, who is also the company chief executive officer, revealed that he will be opening a new branch in Gokwe next month and another in Matabeleland North later this year.
“There are plans of setting up a bank in Bulawayo in the near future and more branches in the country. We aim to have spread throughout the country by the end of the year. Without pre-emptying too much information, we shall be setting up a branch in Gokwe while the other branch will be in Matabeleland North,” he said.
Mr Zhou said his business has supported a large clientele base including small to medium enterprises that are often deprived of funding by mainstream banks.
“Small scale farmers constitute the greater number of our clients. We finance a lot of cattle farmers and they play a major role in giving us business. We assist them in identifying markets and assist them in using finances productively,” he said.
Recently, Inclusive Financial Services bagged the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Midlands’ Chapter award for its support for SMEs. Mr Zhou has also won many awards for his innovation and managerial skills in business.
He holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Nottingham Trent University (UK), Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Economics from the University of Zimbabwe, Masters Degree in Financial Sector Management from the University of London (UK) and a post graduate diploma in Corporate Management Development from Nottingham Trent University (UK). Mr Zhou also holds a Credit Diploma from Damelin Banking School (South Africa), Advanced Credit Diploma from the Institute of Bankers South Africa and many other certificates in business and corporate finance and microfinance.
He has vast experience in the banking industry where he started his career as a management trainee with ZB Bank. He later joined Banc ABC and subsequently Stanbic Bank, and Trust Bank Limited.
The institution also offers insurance products as an agent of Old Mutual throughout its wide network that covers Bulawayo, Matabeleland, Masvingo, Manicaland and Midlands provinces.