Retrofit was a electrical contracting firm, founded in 1987 by Strive Masiyiwa. The company did a lot of projects for the government of Zimbabwe until 1996 when it was sold.

Founding

Retrofit was founded in 1987 as a construction contractor by Strive Masiyiwa while he was employed by PTC as a senior engineer. Masiyiwa founded the company mainly because he had wanted to build his own house, but after being told by his employer that they could only give him a loan for the house if he it was built by an experienced contractor, he decided to start a company and do some work as experience.

Retrofit quickly grew to more than 100 employees within two years and at that point Masiyiwa who was still employed by PTC quit his job to focus on the company, which had itself now concentrated on electrical installation work.[1]

By 1990, Retrofit employed almost 500 people and had secured investment from the International Finance Corporation, an arm of the World Bank.[2]

At the height of its operations, Retrofit employed over 1,000 people.[3]

Sale of the company

Retrofit was sold in 1996 and Masiyiwa said the decision to sell it was so he could prevent it from being run down due to the animosity that had developed between him and his largest client, the government. Masiyiwa has said that he walked away with nothing[3]

I sold my businesses within 2 weeks. This meant I was not paid the proper value of the businesses; I agreed to basically walk away, with almost nothing... It was more important to save the businesses, and the jobs, but it meant that 10 years of my work was all gone.[3]

References

  1. Resisting Political Corruption: Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (A) (Teaching Case Study) - Page 2, papers.ssrn.com, Published:April 26, 2004, Retrieved:12 April 2014
  2. Strive Masiyiwa, Lessons from the Early Days: One More Thing..., Strive Masiyiwa official Facebook page, Published:10 February 2014, Retrieved:12 April 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Strive Masiyiwa, When the storm was lashing our house, Strive Masiyiwa official Facebook page, Published:17 March 2014, Retrieved:12 April 2014