Local firm lays foundation for smart-city status
By Edward Mukaro
A calculated road map, coupled with timely intelligent decisions has seen office cleaning company, Sleek and Clean – a woman-driven initiative of young entrepreneurs – on the verge of fully transforming into a waste management ensemble, aiding the country’s vision of attaining a ‘Smart-City’ status.
After years of research, Sleek and Clean founder and part owner, Sheanna Sakala, who confesses to having been a novice with regards running a professional cleaning business decided to follow her gut and start an entreprise that would later cross the great divide from cleaning offices to safeguarding the environment.
Describing the seamless transition and inspiration behind it all, Sleek and Clean’s smart-city initiative, Sakala says the company was motivated by nations that have managed to achieve the status (smart-city) without the use of much technology.
Many have questioned how an office cleaning service provider would call itself a smart-city enabler, but there is more Sleek and Clean than meets the eye.
“We are more of smart-city enablers, but, as a cleaning service.
“We have been doing our own research and it has been noted that some of the core elements and values of a smart-city are sanitization and waste management. It’s not only about technological advancement
“…Countries like Singapore and Finland are physically clean and who makes them clean are cleaning companies,” said Sakala.
The thought of tones of waste dumped on the environment and river streams by manufacturing firms and even individuals ignited an inner calling to serve so much that for the time the company was solely 100 percent in the office cleaning business, Sleek and Clean sought to use environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals.
However, there was a catch. The chemicals were only available beyond the country’s borders, but that did not deter the cleaning company’s management.
Hinging on the use of sustainable and environmentally friendly chemicals in the office cleaning business, Sleek and Clean bemoans the lack of local firms that have ventured into manufacturing eco-friendly cleaning chemicals, as the company has become largely dependable on imports.
“We have noted that in Zimbabwe there is one company that is trying their best to manufacture eco-friendly chemicals, so we also try to use their chemicals, but only that we use chemicals from South Africa because they are a bit more effective,” she said.
Despite pursuing a smart-city agenda, Sleek and Clean isn’t letting any dirt come between the company and its clientele base as the firm has already invested in various technologies and always keeps tabs on its customers.
“Unlike other cleaning services providers, we are a bit more constant with our clients. It’s more like we nag them to get responses so that we get better at what we are doing. It has really yielded results for us, as we are getting referrals.
“For others, it’s just cleaning and after the job, they just go. To them, it’s more about the money.”
The new kid on the block appreciates the pressures that come with setting foot in an industry already inhabited by big corporates, but due to its youthful team and broader vision dovetailed with rave views from clients, the ensemble is still soldiering on.
On another front, the company has slowly made inroads in assisting vulnerable members of the community, such as, women and youths, who have been exposed to social ills such as abuse of drugs.
Furthermore, the company has taken a serious empowerment drive towards women and youth, as over half of the employees are women, a factor that has really brought the firm closer to its community.
Sleek and Clean was established as a home-based start-up, before identifying a need and opportunity to introduce new and innovative technology to the cleaning world in pursuit of complementing the Government’s effort to establish smart-cities.