When Limbani Msusa lost his job as stock controller at Share Care Veterinary Limited in 2005, he saw his future shattered.
It was not easy for him to come to terms with the mishap considering that he had a family and a lot of relations to support.
But destiny had something in store for him.
Today, Msusa is a proud owner of G&LM Veterinary Services, a company he co-founded with a friend in 2006.
The company supplies vaccines and animal drugs to government, G4 Security and farmers.
Â â€œI had no idea I would own a company one day. When I lost my job, I tried to look for another one, but to no avail. So, I formed G&LM to create employment for myself,â€ he said.
But the company has not only created employment for Msusa, but also for four other people, including one veterinary expert.
His co-founder pulled out when the going got tough, but Msusa soldiered on, braving turbulent economic conditions the company faced.
â€œWe have been in good and bad times. We have been in times when we could fail to pay salaries and rent for our business premises. But God has been faithful as He has seen us through such rough times,â€ he said.
Over the years, G&LM has grown in terms of products and services it provides.
â€œAt first, we only used to sell premixes such as lysine, lime, growth promoter, mono-calcium, methionine, cycostat and others.
â€œThis time, we stock fish meal, sunflower cake, cotton seed cake, soya bean cake, a wide range of vitamins and anti-biotic for poultry and domestic animals such as cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, dogs, horses, donkeys and camels.
â€œWe also provide vaccines and treatment to both poultry and domestic animals. We train farmers in poultry and animal feed making,â€ he says.
Msusaâ€”who comes from Makata Village, Traditional Authority Makata in Blantyreâ€”says access to capital is a major challenge facing small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in Malawi.
Â â€œWe started G&LM with K90 000 because we could not access loans from commercial banks. They insisted that we provide collateral security which we did not have,â€ he says.
Msusa wishes government had put in place a policy to help SMEs to access capital from banks with ease.
â€œEven if you plead with banks that you have a big order to supply, they still insist that you give them security,â€ he says.
Lack of foreign exchange is another factor choking his businesses in the country.
â€œWhen forex was readily available, I used to import goods four times a month. But with the economic challenges facing the country, I only do that once in three or four months.
â€œThe veterinary business continues to face challenges because a lot of people have joined it. When we started there were only three companies doing this business, but we are now over 10 in Blantyre alone,â€ he says.
Msusa, however, says doing business is more rewarding than being employed.
â€œI do not think I would go back to work as I make more money now than then.
â€œI am living a decent life, sending my children to good schools and I am building a big house, something I could only dream about when I was in salaried employment,â€ he says.
Msusa, who operates from Stand No 54A at Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds in Blantyre, is married to Brenda and the couple have two children, Prince and Favour.