Quote Of The Day

You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try.

Beverly Sills
25

Harun Elias

Founder, Javis International Trade Co.

Country: Tanzania

Elias’ birth was a hard one. His mother gave birth to him, alone, at home in Musoma village. His clan was poor. His father is the best educated man in the family because he went to high school.

It meant by the age of 10, Elias was already a working man.

“I used to work in [my father’s small shop] and learned everything there through my father who is a great inspiration to me,” says Elias.

At 18 years old, he realized there was an opportunity for him in the mobile phone business. He sold smartphones until 2011.

After high school, he wanted a new challenge, so he decided to sell tanzanite.

“In late 2013, while in China, I saw an opportunity in the trading business, everything was too cheap in China and everything seemed new in the Tanzanian market. I started doing an online business, Javis Collection, where I was a purchasing agent. I posted pictures of products on social media then people could choose products of their preference, make an order, then I bought and shipped them to their preferred destination.”

Elias used half of his school fees and rent money for an office. He slept in it, 194 kilometers from university, for two months.

“I had only one table and a chair and a sofa which was my bed. I used my pocket money to operate the office expenses. I worked by myself for two months then added a Chinese employee to help me,” he says.

His first employees, one in China and three in Tanzania, worked with no pay for four months.

The company, Javis International Trade Co., is now a global supplier of transport and trade solutions. It employs 40 people, 27 in Tanzania and 23 in China. Elias made $9 million last year.

Elias might have been worth nothing and paying nothing, but now he is a millionaire.