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This CEO Grew her Company by 44% in a Pandemic

African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI), a fully black-owned and black-controlled investment company situated in southern Africa, faced a turbulent last quarter, but despite this, it’s probably one of the few in a pandemic-stricken continent that has managed to grow by 44%. The captain at its helm, Valentine Dzvova, reveals that the strength of the company, majorly focusing on fishing and IT, has been the diversity of its portfolio. Dzvova, from humble beginnings in Zimbabwe, saw her career scale new heights when she was made Chief Executive Officer of AEEI last year. Having come in when interim results were due and the company’s Chief Financial Officer was leaving, Dzvova dove straight in at the deep end. Under her leadership, AEEI ensured no jobs were lost during the Covid-19-induced lockdown period as operational costs were streamlined and these practices were also encouraged amongst AEEI’s suppliers and partners. As Dzvova reflects on her growth strategy, she emphasizes the need for one thing – liquidity. “Cash is king and there has never been a time that this has been more true than right now. With lockdown, businesses weren’t able to trade as normal, so revenue wasn’t coming in but there were still employees and suppliers to pay, so if one didn’t have cash on hand, you were basically dead in the water which is why a lot of businesses closed.”