Sailing Vacations Recovery Spearheaded by the Caribbean

An international recovery is underway led by the Caribbean, which could see bareboat activity reach 2001 peaks within two years if the markets continue to grow at a rate of 6-8%.

While the average size of a bareboat fleet has been reduced by 8% over the last two years, there has been a 50% increase in charter customers since 2001 which now represents $ 75 million in annual turnover.

However, it is the Caribbean and primarily the Virgin Islands, which lead this recovery with a 6% gain since 2001, and remarkably this means it has retained an additional 3% of the international marketplace at the expense of the United States, Europe and other areas. It now owns 56% of the international bareboat arena.

In fact, the Caribbean has for the first time exceeded the historic highs of 2001 and looks set to grow by an additional 6-8% next year.

The Virgin Islands in particular, outstrip its closest rival, The Pacific NW / California, by nearly 60%. Together these two areas account for approximately 80% of international bareboat charters.

Again, the bulk of international customers are choosing to take their sailing vacations during the summer months with 2005 activity now outstripping 2004.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for the United States, which has still seen a healthy 4%, increase in bareboat activity.

But it is increasingly looks like some of their traditional customers are heading to The British Virgin Islands.

It is worth noting that its strongest lynchpin, the Pacific NW / California, while edging up, is still 13% off 2001 levels and actually recorded a slight drop over 2004 levels. It is starting to look like the poor cousin of the BVI!

A dark horse in the international marketplace is Europe, which is the only region to show positive gains each year since 2001 quietly posting a 60% increase in bareboat activity. However, it still represents only a fraction of the international pie.

Mexico also shows modest gains but is slightly off the pace of 2004.

For more information please visit http://www.catamarans.com

Are Organic Vitamins For Women Better Than Other Multivitamins?

You might have come across synthetic vitamins, natural vitamins and organic vitamins for women and wondered if they are all essentially the same. Synthetic vitamins mainly consist of synthetic ingredients, meaning, they could have undergone a chemical process that led to their production. Most synthetic vitamins are made up of purely chemical ingredients, but it is possible to find synthetic vitamins mixed with natural ingredients, too. In fact, this is starting to be a trend nowadays, perhaps, in response to the demand to use natural materials.

Natural vitamins, if you must know, contain natural ingredients that may not necessarily be organically grown and which may contain other components that are not all-natural. Although the components are made from natural sources, they could have been chemically processed. Organic vitamins, on the other hand, are vitamins made up of ingredients that are both organically grown and prepared.

Synthetic vitamins have become hugely popular in the past because of their effectiveness and their ability to provide more visible results at a lesser time. Sad to say, the chemical components of synthetic vitamins would have some consequences in the long run. Chemicals can pool in the colon, eventually, and that can mean more bad news for you. People who do not want to compromise their health are now seeking healthier alternatives and these they have found in natural vitamins and organic vitamins for women.

You have to be very careful when buying natural or organic vitamins, though, because there are so many of them invading the market nowadays that you cannot be 100% certain that you are dealing with a reliable product or one that is only made to appear reliable but is actually not. Before you buy anything, look at the label – make sure the vitamins are certified as 100% organic (meaning, not a single component is synthetic) by credible certifying agencies and that they are regulated and authorized for distribution to the public. It’s not enough for a manufacturer to claim that the product is made with natural or organic ingredients; if it is so, then it has to be duly certified. Look for customer reviews and testimonials, and research on the product as much as you can. It may be time-consuming, but it’s going to be worth it in the end.

You also have to ensure that the supplement contains all the vitamins and minerals appropriate to your age. Generally, important vitamins and minerals for women include Vitamin A, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, iron, calcium and magnesium. Aging women would also need Vitamin K and Omega-3 fatty acids to maintain good heart health, while pregnant women require a good amount of folic acid to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Vitamins usually come in the form of pills, tablets, or gels, but many manufactures have also started to consider the reduced swallowing reflex that usually comes with age, thus you would find many vitamins for women appearing in liquid form also.

Many naturopathic doctors and experts say that you won’t be needing vitamins in the form of pills of you are consuming the right foods because certain foods already consist of vitamins that your body needs. The problem is, you may not have access to each and every one of these foods, and that could mean depriving your body of the needed nutrients. Thus, organic vitamins for women would prove to be of great benefit to you.

Luxurious Hotels in Columbus

Columbus is located in Ohio, one of the largest cities named after the famous Christopher Columbus. This city owns the Ohio State University, the largest in the US. It has concluded in one of the magazines to be the rising "global city," being the 8th best city to live in. The residents are called Columbusites.

The increasing population of tourists and residents brought rise to many hotels in the vicinity. Listed here are some of the commendable accommodations.

Doubletree Guest Suites Columbus
Doubletree Guest Suites is an all-suite hotel conveniently located in the downtown of Columbus. It overlooks the beautiful Scioto River. It is also a 15-minute drive from the Port Columbus International Airport, accessible to Huntington Bank Center, Riffe State Office Tower through paved roads, and many other local landmarks and business offices.

It is very ideal to those people traveling on business. The hotel caters on short and extended stays, having comfortable meeting rooms and banquet spaces for business and other social gatherings. It also provides services for business like photocopying, facsimile machines and audiovisual equipment. Guests are warmly welcomed upon checking in. The staff gives out chocolate chip cookies as their trademark.

This hotel features plenty of recreational activities for guests. Some famous local attractions to visit are the Columbus Art Museum, Blue Jackets Hockey, Clippers Stadium, Convention Center, Crew Soccer Stadium, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Ohio State Fairgrounds, and the Nationwide Arena.

Doubletree features homely and comfortable double-room suites. Guests can also choose the penthouse bi-level suites for the ultimate downtown experience, providing the lovely views of the river. All of their guestrooms are spacious and are complete with amenities that can guarantee a memorable stay, either short or a long one in Columbus.

Complimentary bottled water, coffee / tea maker, and complimentary bottled water are provided for your convenience. The amenities and amenities at this hotel include coffee / tea makers, complimentary bottled water, and coffee / tea makers. The hotel takes pride of its friendly and courteous staff. They also offer laundry and valet service. They have venues for special occasions like a business center and comfortable meeting rooms. The hotel also provides wireless Internet connection. It is a pet-friendly hotel, and is wheelchair accessible.

You can dine in the Caucus Room Restaurant inside. It serves delectable American dishes everyday. Guests can also request for a room service.

Lofts Hotel and Suites
This luxurious hotel offers distinct and unique features. It is designed in a clean and contemporary style, contrasting yet blending to the strong and majestic features of the building. It elucidates a sense of rich history and beauty.

It is located near many local tourist attractions. Worth seeing are the Arena District, The Arena Grand Theater, Short North, Columbus Art Scene, German Village, Ohio State Football and Athletics, and the Memorial Golf Tournament.

Lofts Hotel features large rooms with floor to ceiling windows with amenities such as high-speed Internet access, garden tub suites (for booking), Frette linens, concierge service, Frette terry robes, Aveda products that are all-natural, coffee service (in -room gourmet), two-line telephone, and fitness facilities.

Meeting rooms are spacious for movement and can be designed according to one's preferences. Loft's Hotel's staff are ready to assist to make any event a big success. This hotel also caters to wedding planners. Help them to assist is their sister's property, The Crowne Plaza in planning with their professional staff.

The hotel offers several packages. The Andy Warhol Exhibit Package for Two features films, paintings, videos, drawings, and other arts for exhibit. The Knock-out Boxing Wellness Package is inclusive of an overnight accommodation in one of the splendid rooms. The hotel offers a free DVD "Rocky" movie, boxing workouts, Swedish massage after the boxing workout.

The Soho Package covers overnight accommodations, breakfast for two, champagne, chocolates, rose petals and valet parking. The Boulevard Getaway includes overnight accommodations, champagne and chocolates, Cameron Mitchell Gift certificate worth $ 50, rose petal turndown, breakfast for two, and valet parking.

Other popular packages here are the 5th Avenue Package, Chocolate Lovers Package, Do the District Getaway, Hockey Getaway, Art-A-Go-Go, and Zoo-A-Go-Go.

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.