GABORONE, BOTSWANA —
Twenty-nine year-old Zimbabwean, Herbert Knight Ganje, is a millionaire, who dropped out of school when he was doing Form One.
“I found school boring, and I was never really good at school,” explained Ganje, who now sits at the helm of a multi-million dollar advertising company in Botswana, called H & G Advertising.
The school dropout said he managed to convince his mother to allow him to “take a one year break and travel,” and then continue with school at a later stage.
It was during this break that Ganje’s road to success started.
“My friend then invited me to Botswana,” Ganje reflected, on what turned out to be a rough experience, where he survived on odd jobs, and was basically homeless.
“When I came to Botswana I stayed in a tuck shop where there was just a mattress and blanket, that is how I survived,” lamented Ganje. “But all the time I was focused on my goal which was to set up a company.”
Equipped with just “an idea and passion,” it wasn’t long after being in Botswana, that Ganje realized his goal of starting his own company, almost unexpectedly.
“I got my first client even before I registered the company,” said Ganje. “I just did a small presentation and the client was impressed, that’s how the company started.”
That company, the initials of his first and last name, is now a $50 million empire headquartered in Botswana, with operations in 13-African countries, serving such clients as Coca Cola, Unilever and Samsung.
As a result of his success at such a young age, Ganje made the list of Forbes Africa Magazine’s “30-Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs for 2017,” a recognition he said he was both surprised and humbled by.
Of his company, Ganje explained that “we have a group of companies within the agency of agencies, which are client specific. We cover digital marketing, below and above the line marketing, media buying.”
Raised in the suburbs of Waterfalls, in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, Ganje, said he now wants to turn H & G Advertising into the biggest advertising agency in Africa, and compete globally.
“At the office they call me ‘bill’, short cut for billionaire,” quipped Ganje. “But it’s no longer about money. We want to grow our business and grow our team. We want to make sure that we become the biggest advertising agency in Africa.”
Despite his limited education, Ganje, who attended Frank Johnson Primary School before proceeding to Lord Malvern High School in Harare, for his secondary education, argues he is sufficiently equipped to handle the business of H & G Advertising.
“I am a keen reader, even though I did not complete school, I know a lot about the business. I can hold any position in the business. I can be the accountant,” Ganje said confidently.
Ganje urges the youth to follow their passion, and says he will start, through his Facebook page, mentoring upcoming entrepreneurs.
Though now living in Botswana, Ganje still visits his birth country of Zimbabwe, and says he is keen to give back to his Waterfalls community someday.