Yoliswa Dube, Features Reporter
INCLUSIVE Financial Services (Private) Limited, a progressive microfinance company, continues to be a market leader in Zimbabwe’s economic landscape.
Having adopted a microfinance software system which enables the company to deliver its products efficiently, Inclusive Financial Services seeks to reach the unbanked financial market in the country.
The system, which was developed in Belgium and has also been introduced in Kenya enables progressive microfinance institutions to serve their desired markets with efficiency while reducing transactional costs.
It is cloud based and also reduces costs associated with setting up new branches as client information can be easily accessed at any place with internet connectivity.
The system can be integrated with mobile money operators which makes it suitable for use by microfinance institutions that aim to reach people in remote areas. Clients can repay their loans and make applications without necessarily visiting branches.
Inclusive Financial Services’ wealth creation officers are able to communicate effectively and coordinate data with their offices whilst in the field thereby reducing turnaround times.
The company’s founder and managing director, Gerald Zhou was recently named the Megafest Business Awards businessman of the year in recognition of his efforts in steering the micro-finance entity.
The Megafest Business Awards do not only acknowledge success but recognise many other qualities including ability, struggle, effort and excellence.
They are on hand to recognise and promote the county’s talented entrepreneurs and are a mark of quality that brings prestige, motivates colleagues, and potentially boosts businesses.
Zhou holds a Masters of Business Administration from Nottingham Trent University (UK), Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Economics from the University of Zimbabwe, Masters in Financial Sector Management from the University of London (UK) and a post graduate diploma in Corporate Management Development from Nottingham Trent University (UK).
He 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 won 1st Runner up Megafest Management Team Builder of the Year Award 2012, Megafest Business Excellence Award 2014, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Businessman of the Year Award 2014 Southern Region and ZNCC national 2nd Runner up Businessman of the Year Award 2014.
Zhou has vast experience in the banking industry where he started his banking career as a management trainee with ZB Bank. He later joined BancABC and subsequently Stanbic Bank, and Trust Bank Limited.
Inclusive Financial Services finances micro-entrepreneurs (both rural and urban), SMEs, small holder farmers, youth entrepreneurship (20 years to 35 years), especially young women, home improvement loans and asset finance.
The institution offers insurance products as an agent of Old Mutual throughout its network.
Other ancillary services include bill payments for electricity, DStv and Intercape ticket bookings.
Clients can also access parcel movement facilities throughout its network. It is also an agent of FedEx.
The institution has a wide client outreach in Bulawayo, Matabeleland, Masvingo, Manicaland and Midlands provinces.
Inclusive Financial Services has established training facilities throughout all the branches where it trains micro-entrepreneurs and equips them to successfully run their businesses.