Birthday Gifts For Her – Get a Woman What She Really Desires

Women have different tastes for the kind of gifts that they want on their special occasions, be it anniversaries, birthdays or any other kind of important occasion. In order to impress the most special women in your life, be it your loving wife, girlfriend, mom or sister, make sure you put in all your heart to find the best present that suits them. Take time to think about what would make her happy and strive to get her something unique that will not only excite her but add meaning to her most special day. Birthday Gifts for Her can range from a simple flower to an expensive gift. But getting what she really likes holds the key to her happiness on her special day.

There is a huge collection of amazing Birthday Gifts for her that will make her happy. Pamper her with the best Beauty products from us or buy her beautiful Gift Boxes to surprise her. There are a host of wonderful gift hampers that she will really like along with Personalized wine and spirit gift hampers to impress her on her special day. Buy a Personalized magazine cover with her photo on the cover page and see the look of excitement on her face when she realizes she is on the cover of her favorite magazine! Women love to be pampered with lavish gifts. Buy spa break in her favorite spa or let her have the Beauty treatment she desires of to look stunning on her special day.

Is your recipient more on the adrenaline side? Well, we have a host of gift ideas that can cheer her up. Go Driving in some of the most expensive cars or take a ride of London City aboard a Helicopter! Take her for a Sphering session and let the child in her come out. Be it whatever, choose the gift that can make her really happy and let her enjoy her special day in pomp and glory.

So, What Is This Thing Called Edumarketing?

We Live in a Society driven by information. Information provides the building blocks upon which knowledge is constructed. Today, knowledge is the real currency of business-the stimulus that drives our economy and then our lives.

Two of the most revered thinkers of the past 100 years, Peter Drucker and Philip Kotler, were clear in their characterization of the contemporary business environment. That is, we now live in a knowledge society.

Peter Drucker noted this transformation in his book The Post Capitalist Society, exhorting, "That knowledge has become the resource, rather than a resource.

According to Kotler "the passage from an Industrial Economy into an Informational Economy is introducing new considerations that question the suitability of conventional marketing thinking in developing today's and tomorrow's marketing strategies."

Why Edumarketing?

The past ten years have seen tremendous tumult in the field of marketing. We live in a media-rich world in which information bombs us from all angles. In his compelling book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini states, "You and I exist in an extraordinarily complicated stimulus environment, easily the most rapidly moving and complex that has ever existed on this planet."

These views suitably describe the world we live in, where information and knowledge are central to our existence. The advent of computers, the Internet, wireless communication, and other technologies are presenting new opportunities for marketing practitioners.

One of the areas is that of partnering with customers, both business-to-business and business-to-consumer, to create a learning experience in which the customer learns-both how to better define their problem and how to best solve this problem.

In this new reality, it's the customer who, for the most part, runs the show.

Customers are using technology to learn about the company behind the product and services they purchase along with dissecting every element of the product via self-education-and that fundamentally changes everything.

Capturing the customer's attention is no longer possible by simply putting your message "out there." An emphasis on knowledge creation calls for bold changes.

What has to change? The way you communicate.

The fast pace of today's marketplace-whatever your industry-has changed the way customers want to do business. Marketing has become less about pushing messages out to people, and more about empowering them to make informed purchase decisions.

Rather than engaging in a specialized process, marketing communicators should look to inform and educate potential customers, providing them with insight and information that they need to make an intelligent decision. Doing this is the new way of building customer loyalty.

This paper discusses a new method of understanding and influencing the customer through communications that inform and influence. This method is called edumarketing.

Edumarketing is the activity initiated by a company that is designed to influence changes in knowledge, skills, or attitudes of customers-whether individuals, groups, or communities.

Cognitive psychology, and particularly research dealing with how people learn, tells us that people use existing perceptual filters and mental representations when making decisions.

Numerous studies verify that thinking involves three constructive elements-that together drive they way people learn. These elements are cognition, emotion, and the context in which the thinking takes place.

Edumarketing impacts the path to purchase using education-based marketing that informs, instructs and educates. Weaving together the cognitive, emotional and social components of learning.

Today, your customers are likely to hold you to very high standards when it comes to providing them with data and information necessary for them create knowledge and understanding. Ultimately helping them make the best purchase possible.

Education based marketing, edumarketing, provides an opportunity for the marketing communicator to connect with customers in a way centered that delivers high-received value. Instead of overwhelming people with a self-inflated message, the marketing communicator presents an educational basis for helping the customer find the proper solution to their idiosyncratic issue. And this changes the way you create and exchange messages about your products and services.

How does it work?

The main task for marketing communicators has become every bit as much that of an educator as it is an informer and entertainer. Certainly a great many consumer products will continue down the path of least resistance-that is, to simply entertain in the hopes of building brand image or manipulating one-time sales.

However, what is quickly becoming a prominant part of the marketer tool kit is the use of educational techniques to help build loyalty resulting in sales.

Take for example the ordinary cereal box. Cheerios adorns its box with its "Heart Healthy" educational messages. Cheerios uses the cereal box to educate consumers on the issue of cholesterol and, of course, how Cheerios can be a part of reducing cholesterol.

This new approach to marketing relies on educating the customer, and for that different principals of marketing apply. The new marketer must understand principles of learning and for sophisticated products and services-get this … learning theory.

Another example, small industrial detergent maker ChemStation (www.chemstation.com) supplies thousands of products in hundreds of industries. ChemStation sells industrial cleaning chemical to a wide variety of business customers, ranging from car washes to the US Air Force. Whether a customer is washing down a fleet or a factory, a store or a restaurant, ChemStation comes up with the right cleaning solution every time.

ChemStation partners with customers working with them to custom-design solutions to their unique cleaning problems. ChemStation works with each individual customer to concoct a soap formula specifically designed for that customer.

This works because many business buyers prefer to buy a packaged solution to a problem from a single seller. ChemStation sells its intellectual capabilities to firms that need solutions.

Another firm that excels in the edumarketing arena is Butterball, a leader in the marketing and selling of turkeys. Customers can visit the Butterball web site (www.butterball.com) for information on cooking and carving a turkey.

Butterball's web site receives over 500,000 visitors during the Thanksgiving week accessing its timely features and tips. However, the dedication to education is found in the fact that the Butterball help line (1-800-BUTTTERBALL) is staffed by 50 home economists and nutritionists who respond to more than 100,000 questions each November and December.

BMW has capitalized on its edumarketing capabilities. They offer an exiting a training program for young drivers. As a part of its "Ultimate Driving Experience" tour, BMW offers to teach people how to drive their cars-at fast speeds! The offer: "Experienced professional drivers will be on hand to guide you through a variety of exhilarating driving techniques designed to hone your abilities – and make you a safer, more confident driver." The benefit: Drivers turned on by their new driving capabilities and ready to engage in a conversation about how to integrate these capabilities into their daily driving habits.

Gone are the days when advertisers could simply tell the world about their new and wonderful product or service. Today's customers are smart. They have access to information from a wide range of sources-and they use it. Firms must go beyond the simple show-and-tell of yesteryear.

Fast Construction Bridge Loans Explained

First lets look at what construction bridge loans are and what you need to look out for when shopping around. One of the main factors is the cost plus whatever the finance can fix your property problem.

Let us now explore various times when you may need a business bridge loan. Below are some bridging loan examples.

Situation 1 – Purchasing a property at auction – With land and property auctions it is normal that transfers of funds take place very shortly after an auction ends. If you have no commercial mortgage or loan in place then bridging finance is a perfect short term solution.

Situation 2 – Venture capital – Many entrepreneurs us this type of credit to take advantage of deals where money is needed now not in a couple of weeks. Because of the speed that these loans can be arranged in they are perfect for this type of application.

Situation 3 – Any legal reason – If you have another use for commercial, domestic or any reason whatever then you’ll be glad to know that you can use this type of credit for any reason provided that it is legal.

Many people do not apply for construction bridge loans because they expect to be rejected, or have already been turned down by their bank or building society. You may be surprised although as we can accept applications from applicants with County Court Judgments.

One of the main concerns for people is the cost, however for a loan for the total amount of £ 100000 at a rate of 1% per month would cost you £ 1000 for a 1 month period. However rates can be offered at lower or higher rates.

For more information and many more articles visit Bridge Loans

Building a Kingdom – Case Study of Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited

This article presents a case study of sustained entrepreneurial growth of Kingdom Financial Holdings. It is one of the entrepreneurial banks that survived the financial crisis that started in Zimbabwe in 2003. The bank was established in 1994 by four entrepreneurial young bankers. It has grown substantively over the years. The case examines the origins, growth and expansion of the bank. It concludes by summarizing lessons or principles that can be derived from this case that maybe applicable to entrepreneurs.

Profile of an Entrepreneur: Nigel Chanakira

Nigel Chanakira was raised in the Highfield suburb of Harare in an entrepreneurial family. His father and uncle operated a public transport company Modern Express and later diversified into retail shops. Nigel's father later exited the family business. He bought out one of the shops and expanded it. During school holidays young Nigel, as the first born, would work in the shops. His parents, particularly his mother, insisted that he acquire an education first.

On completion of high school, Nigel failed to enter dental or medical school, which was his first passions. In fact his grades could only qualify him for the Bachelor of Arts degree program at the University of Zimbabwe. However, he "sweet-talked his way into a transfer" to the Bachelor in Economics degree program. Academically he worked hard, exploiting his strong competitive character that was developed during his sporting days. Nigel rigorously applied himself to his academic pursuits and passed his studies with excellent grades, which opened the door to employment as an economist with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

During his stint with the Reserve Bank, his economic mindset indicated to him that wealth creation was happening in the banking sector there before he determined to understand banking and financial markets. While employed at RBZ, he read for a Master's degree in Financial Economics and Financial Markets as preparation for his debt into banking. At the Reserve Bank under Dr Moyana, he was part of the research team that put together the policy framework for the liberalization of the financial services within the Economic Structural Adjustment Program. Being at the right place at the right time, he became aware of the opportunities which were opening up. Nigel exploited his position to identify the most profitable banking institution to work for as preparation for his future. He headed to Bard Discount House and worked for five years under Charles Gurney.

A short while later the two black executives at Bard, Nick Vingirayi and Gibson Muringai, left to form Intermarket Discount House. Their departure inspired the young Nigel. If these two could establish a banking institution of their own so could, given time. The departure also created an opportunity for him to rise to fill the vacancy. This save the aspiring banker critical managerial experience. Subsequently he became a director for Bard Investment Services where he gained critical experience in portfolio management, client relations and dealing within the dealing department. While there he met Franky Kufa, a young trader who was making waves, who would later become a key co-entrepreneur with him.

His professional business engagement his father dominated Nigel in the Barclays Bank "Start Your Own Business" Program. However what actually made an impact on the young entrepreneur was the Empretec Entrepreneur Training program (May 1994), to which he was introduced by Mrs Tsitsi Masiyiwa. The course demonstrated that he had the requisite entrepreneurial competences.

Nigel talked Charles Gurney into an attempted management buy-out of Bard from Anglo-American. This failed and the increasingly frustrated appellant entrepreneur considered employment opportunities with Nick Vingirai's Intermarket and Never Mhlanga's National Discount House which was on the verge of being formed – expecting to join as a shareholder since he was acquainted with the promoters. He was denied this opportunity.

Being frustrated at Bard and having been denied entry into the club by pioneers, he resigned in October 1994 with the encouragement of Mrs Masiyiwa to pursue his entrepreneurial dream.

The Dream

Inspired by the messages of his pastor, Rev. Tom Deuschle, and frustrated at his inability to participate in the church's massive building project, Nigel bought a way of generating huge financial resources. During a time of prayer he claims that he had a divine encounter where he obtained a mandate from God to start Kingdom Bank. He visited his pastor and told him of this encounter and the consequent desire to start a bank. The godly pastor was amazed at the 26 year old with "big spectacles and wearing tennis shoes" who wanted to start a bank. The pastor prayed before counsel the young man. Having been convinced of the genuineness of Nigel's dream, the pastor did something unusual. He asked him to give a testimony to the congregation of how God was leading him to start a bank. Although timid, the young man complied. That experience was a powerful vote of confidence from the godly pastor. It demonstrates the power of mentors to build a protégé.

Nigel teamed up with young Franky Kufa. Nigel Chanakira left Bard at the position of Chief Economist. They would build their own entrepreneurial venture. Their idea was to identify players who had specific competencies and would each be able to generate financial resources from his activity. Their vision was to create a one – stop financial institution offering a discount house, an asset management company and a merchant bank. Nigel used his Empretec model to develop a business plan for their venture. They headhunted Solomon Mugavazi, a stockbroker from Edwards and Company and BR Purohit, a corporate banker from Stanbic. Kufa would provide money market expertise while Nigel provided income from government bond dealings as well as overall supervision of the team.

Each of the budding partners bought in an equal portion of the Z $ 120,000 as start-up capital. Nigel talked to his wife and they sold their recently acquired Eastlea home and vehicles to raise the equivalent of US $ 17,000 as their initial capital. Nigel, his wife and three kids headed back to Highfield to live in with his parents. The partners established Garmony Investments which started trading as an unregistered financial institution. The entrepreneurs agreed not to draw a salary in their first year of operations as a bootstrapping strategy.

Mugavazi introduced and recommended Lysias Sibanda, a chartered accountant, to join the team. Nigel was initially a relationship as each person had to bring in an awareness capacity and it was not clear how an accountant would generate revenue at start up in a financial institution. Nigel initially retained a 26% share which secured him a blocking vote as well as giving him the position of controlling shareholder.

Nigel credits the Success Motivation Institute (SMI) course "The Dynamics of Successful Management" as the lethal weapon that enabled him to acquire managerial competences. Initially he identified that all his key executives undertake this training program.

Birth of the Kingdom

Kingdom Securities P / L scheduled operations in November 1994 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Garmony Investments (Pvt) Ltd. It traded as a broker on both money and stock markets.

On 24th February 1995 Kingdom Securities Holding was born with the following affiliates: Kingdom Securities Ltd, Kingdom Stockbrokers (Pvt) Ltd and Kingdom Asset Managers (Pvt) Ltd. The flag Kingdom Securities Ltd was registered as a Discount House under Banking Act Chapter 188 on 25th July 1995. Kingdom Stockbrokers was registered with the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange under ZSE Chapter 195 on 1st August 1995. The pre-licensing trading had generated good revenue but they still had a 20% deficit of the required capital. Most institutional investors turned them down as they were a greenfield company promoted by people perceived to be "too young". At this stage National Merchant Bank, Intermarket and others were on the market raising equity and these were run by seasoned and mature promoters. However Rachel Kupara, then MD for Zimnat, believed in the young entrepreneurs and took up the first equity portion for Zimnat at 5%.

Norman Sachikonye, ​​then Financial Director and Investments Manager at First Mutual follow suit, taking up an equity share of 15%. These two institutional investors were inducted as shareholders of Kingdom Securities Holdings on 1st August 1995. Garmony Investments ceased operations and reversed itself Into Kingdom Securities on 31st July 1995, thereby becoming an 80% shareholder.

The first year of operations was marked by intense competition as well as discrimination against new financial institutions by public organizations. All the other operating units performed well except for the corporate finance department with Kingdom Securities, led by Purohit. This monetary loss, different spiritual and ethical values ​​led to the forced departure of Purohit as an executive director and shareholder on 31st December 1995. From then the Kingdom started to grow exponentially.

Structural Growth

Nigel and his team pursed an aggressive growth strategy with the intention of increasing market share, profitability, and geographic spread while developing a strong brand. The growth strategy was built around a business philosophy of simplifying financial services and making them easily accessible to the general public. An IT strategy that created a low cost delivery channel exploiting ATMs and POS while providing a platform that was ready for Internet and web based applications, was espoused.

On 1st April 1997, Kingdom Financial Services was licensed as an accepting house focusing on trading and distributing foreign currency, treasury activities, corporate finance, investment banking and advisory services. It was formed under the leadership of Victor Chando with the intent of becoming the merchant banking arm of the Group. In 1998, Kingdom Merchant Bank (KMB) was licensed and it took over the assets and liabilities of Kingdom Securities Limited. Its main focus was debt related products, off-balance sheet finance, foreign currency and trade finance. Kingdom Research Institute was established as a support service to the other units.

The entrepreneurial banks, cognisant of their limitations, thought to achieve critical mass quickly by actively seeking capital injection from equity investors. The aim was to broad ownership while lending strategic support in areas of mutual interest. An attempt at equity uptake from Global Emerging Markets from London failed. However in 1997 the efforts of the bankers were rewarded when the following organizations took up some equity, reducing the shareholding of executive directors as shown below: ïEUR Ipcorn 0.7%, ïEUR Zambezi Fund Mauritius P / L 1.1%, ïEUR Zambezi Fund P / L 0.7%. ïEUR Kingdom Employee Share Trust 5%, ïEUR Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund – 8% redeemable preference shares amount to US $ 1.5m as the first investee company in Southern Africa from the US Fund initiated by US President Bill Clinton, ïEUR Weiland Investments, a company belonging to Mr Richard Muirimi, a long standing friend of Nigel and associate in the fund management business took up 1.7%, Garmony Investments 71.7% -executive managers. ïEUR After a rights issue Zimnat fell to 4.8% while FML went down to 14.3%.

In 1998, Kingdom launched four Unit Trusts which proved very popular with the market. Initially these products were focused at individual clients of the discount house as well as private ports of Kingdom Stockbroking. Aggressive marketing and awareness campaigns established the Kingdom Unit Trust as the most popular retail brand of the group. The Kingdom brand was that born.

Acquisition of Discount Company of Zimbabwe (DCZ)

After a spurt of organic growth, the Kingdom entrepreneurs decided to hasten the growth rate synergistically. They set out to acquire the oldest discount house in the country and the world, The Discount Company of Zimbabwe, which was a listed entity. With this acquisition Kingdom would acquire critical competences as well as realize the much coveted ZSE listing inexpensively through a reverse listing. Initial efforts at a negotiated merger with DCZ were rebuffed by its executives who could not countenance a forty year old institution being stolen up by a four year old business. The entrepreneurs were not deterred. Nigel approached his friend Greg Brackenridge at Stanbic to finance and effect the acquisition of the sixty percent shares which were in the hands of about ten shareholders, on behalf of Kingdom Financial Holdings but to be placed in the ownership of Stanbic Nominees. This strategy masked the identity of the acquirer. Claud Chonzi, the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) GM and a friend to Lysias Sibanda (a Kingdom executive director), agreed to act as a front in the negotiations with the DCZ shareholders. NSSA is a well known institutional investor and hence these shareholders may have believed that they were dealing with an institutional investor. Once Kingdom controlled 60% of DCZ, it took over the company and reversed listed itself onto the Stock Exchange as Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited (KFHL). Because of the negative real interest rates, Kingdom successfully used debt finance to structure the acquisition. This acquisition and the consequent listing brave the once despised young entrepreneurs confidence and credibility on the market.

Other Strategic Acquisitions

Within the same year Kingdom Merchant Bank acquired a strategic stake in CFX Bureau de Change owned by Sean Maloney as well as another stake in a greenfield microlending franchise, Pfihwa P / L. CFX was changed into KFX and used in most foreign currency trading activities. KFHL set as a strategic intention the acquisition of an additional 24.9% stake in CFX Holdings to safeguard the initial investment and ensure management control. This did not work out. Instead, Sean Maloney opted out and took over the failed Universal Merchant Bank license to form CFX Merchant Bank. Although Kingdom executives contend that the alliance failed due to the abolition of bureau de change by government, it appears that Sean Maloney refused to give up control of the extra shareholding thought by Kingdom. It therefore would be reasonable that once Kingdom could not control KFX, a fall out ensued. The liquidation of this investment in 2002 asserted in a loss of Z $ 403 million on that investment. However this was manageable in light of the strong group profitability.

Pfihwa P / L funded the informal sector as a form of corporate social responsibility. However when the hyperinflationary environment and stringent regulatory environment encroached on the liability of the project, it was wound up in early 2004. Kingdom pursued its funding of the informal sector through MicroKing, which was established with international assistance. By 2002 MicroKing had eight branches located in the mid-of, or near, micro-enterprise clusters.

In 2000, due to increased activity on the foreign currency front within the banking sector, Kingdom opened a private banking facility through the discount house to exploit revenue streams from this market. Following market trends, it engaged the insurance company AIG to enter the bancassurance market in 2003.

Meikles Strategic Alliance

In 1999 the entrepreneurial Chanakira on advice from his executives and the legendary corporate finance team from Barclays bank led by the affable Hugh Van Hoffen entered into a strategic alliance with Meikles Africa wheree it injected some Z $ 322 million into Kingdom for an equity shareholding of 25% . Interestingly, the deal nearly collapsed on pricing as Meikles only wanted to pay $ 250 million whilst KFHL valued themselves at Z $ 322 million which in real terms was the largest private sector deal made between an indigenous bank and a listed corporation. Nigel testifies that it was a walk through the incomplete Celebration Church site on the Saturday preceding the signing of the Meikles deal that led him to sign the deal which he saw as a means for him to sow a whooping seed into the church to boost the building Fund. God was faithful! Kingdom's share price shot up dramatically from $ 2,15 at the time he made the commitment to the Pastor all the way to $ 112,00 by the following October!

In return Kingdom acquired a powerful cash-rich shareholder that allowed it entrance into retail banking through an innovative in-store banking strategy. Meikles Africa opened its retail branches, namely TM Supermarkets, Clicks, Barbours, Medix Pharmaceuticals and Greatermans, as distribution channels for Kingdom commercial bank or as account holders providing deposits and requiring banking services. This was a cheaper way of entering retail banking. It proved useful during the 2003 cash crisis because Meikles with its massive cash resources within its business units assisted Kingdom Bank, thus cushioning it from a liquidity crisis. The alliance also raised the reputation and credibility of Kingdom Bank and created an opportunity for Kingdom to finance Meikles Africa's customers through the jointly owned Meikles Financial Services. Kingdom provided the funding for all lease and hire purchases from Meikles' subsidiaries, thus driving sales for Meikles while providing easy lending opportunities for Kingdom. Meikles managed the relationship with the client.

Meikles Africa as a strategic shareholder assured Kingdom of success when recapitalization was required and has enhanced Kingdom's brand image. This strategic relationship has created strong synergies for mutual benefit.

Commercial Banking

Exploiting the opportunities arising from the strategic relationship with Meikles Africa, Kingdom made its debut into retail banking in January 2001 with in-store branches at High Glen and Chitungwiza TM supermarkets. The target was primarily the mass market. This rode on the strong brand Kingdom had created through the Unit Trusts. In-store banking offered low cost delivery channels with minimal investment in brick and mortar. By the end of 2001, thirteen branches were operational across the country. This followed a deliberate strategy for aggressive roll-out of the branches with two flaganship branches ïEURïEUR one in Bulawayo and the other in Harare. There was a huge emphasis on an IT driven strategy with significant cross-selling between the commercial bank and other SBUs.

However, it was further discovered that there was a market for the upmarket clients and hence Crown banking outlets were established to diversify the target market. In 2004, after closing three in-store branches in a rationalization exercise, there were 16 in-store branches and 9 Crown banking outlets.

The entrance into commercial banking was probably held at the wrong time, considering the imminent changes in the banking industry. Commercial banking does provide cheap deposits, although at the price of huge staff costs and human resource management complications. Nigel admits that, with hindsight, this could have been delayed or done at a slower pace. However, the need for increased market share in a fiercely competitive industry necessitated this. Another reason for persisting with the commercial banking project was that of prior agreements with Meikles Africa. It is possible that Meikles Africa had been sold on the equity take-up deal on the back of promises to engage in in-store banking, which would increase revenue for its affiliates.

Innovative Products and Services

KFHL continued its aggressive pursuit of product innovation. After the failure of the KFX project, CurrencyKing was established to continue the work. However this was abolished in November 2002 by government ministerial intervention when bureau de change were prohibited in an effort to stamp out parallel market foreign currency trading.

Sadly this governmental decision was misguided for not only did it fail to banish foreign currency parallel trading but it knocked underground, made it more lucrative and subsequently the government lost all control of the management of the exchange rate.

In October 2002, KFHL established Kingdom Leasing after being granted a finance house license. Its mandate was to exploit opportunities to trade in financial leases, lease hire and short term financial products.

Regional Expansion

Around 2000 it became evident that the domestic market was highly competitive, with limited prospects of future growth. A decision was made to diversify revenue streams and reduce country risk through penetration into the regional markets. This strategy would exploit the proven competences in securities trading, asset management and corporate advisory services from a small capital base. Therefore the entrance had low risk in terms of capital injection. Considering the foreign exchange control limitations and shortage of foreign currency in Zimbabwe, this was a prudent strategy but not without its downside, as will be seen in the Botswana venture.

In 2001, KFHL acquired a 25.1% stake in a greenfield banking enterprise in Malawi, First Discount House Ltd. To safeguard its investment and ensure administrative control, an executive director and dealer were seconded to the Malawi venture while Nigel Chanakira headed the Board. This investment has continued to grow and yield positive returns. As of July 2006 Kingdom had finally managed to up its stake from 25.1% to 40% in this investment and may extremely control it to the point of seeking a conversion of the license to a commercial bank.

KFHL also took up a 25% equity stake in Investrust Merchant Bank Zambia. Franky Kufa was seconded to it as an executive director while Nigel took a seat on the Board.

KFHL had been promised an option to gain a controlling stake. However when the bank stabilized, the Zambian shareholders entered into some questionable transactions and were not prepared to allow KFHL to up it's stake and so KFHL decided to pull out as relationships turned frosty. The Zambian Central Bank intervened with a promise to grant KFHL its own banking license. This did not materialize as the Zambian Central Bank exploited the banking crisis in Zimbabwe to deny KHFL a license. A reasonable premium of Z $ 2.5 billion was obtained at disinvestment.

In Botswana, a subsidiary called Kingdom Bank Africa Ltd (KBAL) was established as an offshore bank in the International Finance Center. KBAL was intended to spearhead and manage regional initiatives for Kingdom. It was headed by Mrs Irene Chamney, seconded by Lysias Sibanda with the concurrence of Nigel after administrative challenges in Zimbabwe. Two other senior executives were seconded there. She successfully set up the KBAL's banking infrastructure and had good relations with the Botswana authorities.

However, the business model chosen an offshore bank ahead of a domestic Botswana merchant bank license turned out to be the Achilles heel of the bank more so when the Zimbabwe banking crisis set in between 2003 and 2005. There were fundamental differences in how Mrs Chamney and Chanakira saw the bank surviving and going forward.

Ultimately, it was deemed prudent for Mrs. Chamney to leave the bank in 2005. In 2001 KFHL acquired the mandate as the sole distributor of the American Express card in the whole of Africa except for RSA. This was handled through KBAL. Kingdom Private Bank was transferred from the discount house to become a subsidiary of KBAL due to the prevailing regulatory environment in Zimbabwe.

In 2004 KBAL was temporarily placed under curatorship due to undercapitalisation. At this stage the parent company had regulatory constitutions that preceded foreign currency capital injection.

A solution was found in the sourcing of local partners and the transfer of US $ 1 million previously realized from the proceeds of the Investrust liquidation to Botswana. Nigel Chanakira took a more active management role in KBAL because of its huge strategic significance to the future of KFHL. Currently efforts are underway to acquire a local commercial bank license in Botswana as well. Once this is acquainted there are two possible scenarios, sometimes maintaining both licenses or giving up the offshore license.

The interviewees were divided in their opinion on this. However in my view, judging from the stakeholder power involved, KFHL is likely to give up the offshore banking license and use the local Kingdom Bank Botswana (Pula Bank) license for regional and domestic expansion.

Human Resources

The staff complement grew from the initial 23 in 1995 to more than 947 by 2003. The growth was consistent with the growing institution. It exploded, especially during the launch and expansion of the commercial bank. Kingdom fromception had a strong human resourcing strategy which entailed significant training both internally and externally. Before the foreign currency crisis, employees were sent for training in such countries as RSA, Sweden, India and the USA. In the person of Faith Ntabeni Bhebhe, Kingdom had an energetic HR driver who created powerful HR systems for the emerging behemoth.

As a sign of its commitment to building the human resource capacity, in 1998 Kingdom Financial Services entered a management agreement with Holland based AMSCO for the provision of seasoned bankers. Through this strategic alliance Kingdom strengthened its skills base and increased opportunities for skills transfer to locals. This helped the entrepreneurial bankers create a solid managerial system for the bank while the seasoned bankers from Holland compensated for the youthfulness of the emerging bankers. What a foresight!

In-house self-paced interactive learning, team building exercises and mentoring were all part of the learning menu targeted at developing the human resource capacity of the group. Work and job profiling was introduced to best match employees to suitable posts. Career path and success planning were embroidered. Kingdom was the first entrepreneurial bank to have smoothforced CEO transitions. The founding CEO passed on the baton to Lysias Sibanda in 1999 as he stepped into the role of Group CEO and board deputy chair. His role was now to pursue and spearhead global and regional niche financial markets. A few years later there was another change of the guard as

Franky Kufa stepped in as Group CEO to replace Sibanda, who resigned on medical grounds. One could argue that these smooth transitions were due to the fact that the baton was passing to founding directors.

With the explosive growth in staff complement due to the commercial bank project, culture issues emerged. Consequently, KFHL engaged in an enculturation program resulting in a culture revolution dubbed "Team Kingdom". This culture had to be reinforced due to dilutions through significant mergers and acquisitions, significant staff turnover due to increased competition, emigration to gener pastures and the age profile of the staff increased the risk of high mobility and fraudulent activities in collusion with members of the public . Culture changes are difficult to effect and their effectiveness even harder to assess.

In 2004, with a high staff turnover of around 14%, a compensation strategy that ring fenced critical skills like IT and treasury was implemented. Due to the low margins and the financial stress experienced in 2004, KFHL lost more than 341 staff members due to retrenchment, natural attrition and emigration. This was acceptable as profitability fell while staff costs soared. At this stage, staff costs accounted for 58% of all expenses.

Despite the impressive growth, the financial performance when inflation adjusted was mediocre. Actually a loss position was reported in 2004. This growth was severely compromised by the hyperinflationary conditions and the restrictive regulatory environment.

Conclusion

This article shows the determination of entrepreneurs to push through to the realization of their dreams specifically significant odds. In a subsection article we will tackle the challenges faced by Nigel Chanakira in solidifying his investments.