Kuda Biza is a keynote speaker, board member, author, Co-Founder & CMO of Nunbelievable. He builds profitable companies to solve the world’s biggest problems: education and hunger. Kuda has served in progressive corporate leadership roles and successfully built six businesses and a non-profit from scratch.
Kuda Biza is the Co-Founder of #ThisIsMyEra, a social enterprise that develops personal development products that empower individuals to take action and achieve their life goals and AFR Clothing. AFR Clothing uses fashion as a vehicle for change by donating a portion of profits to send orphans and vulnerable children in Africa to school. He is also the founder of the Amani Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower underprivileged children in Africa by providing scholarships, school supplies, and educational programs.
Kuda holds an MBA in Financial Valuation and Investment Management (Summa Cum Laude) and a BS in International Business & Aviation Management (Summa Cum Laude). He also holds a Certificate in Microfinance from Marconi University in Rome, Italy.
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Kuda And His Amazing Underdog Story From Washing Windows in Zimbabwe and Coming to the U.S
Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of underdog. Today I have an amazing guest here with me, Kuda. How are you, my friend?
I’m doing wonderful. Pamela, thank you for having me.
Thank you so much for being here. I am pumped because there is so much that I want to talk to you about today and hear your story. And everything about non-believable and all the multimillion-dollar brands that you have built. Which is beyond fascinating and so my first question to you, my friend, is going to be. What inspired you on your journey to where you are today.
Window Cleaning is what inspired me because I first you know. Fell in love with entrepreneurship by cleaning windows. I was nine years old, I was in Harare, Zimbabwe and it was a summer day and my mom refused to give me ice cream money. So in my mind, I was like, I cannot let my mom control my ice cream destiny, so I decided to start a business, I saw that my neighbor’s windows were dirty. And I went over and I pitched her and I’m not sure if it was because of you no pity or she really felt like, I was a good salesperson. She said. Yeah and that very day, I made my first five bucks in entrepreneurship.
And I was hooked throughout that summer. Me and my friends ended up watching maybe 20 to 30 houses. Because I quickly realized, I didn’t enjoy cleaning windows, but I enjoyed the selling piece. And I recruited two of my friends. So they would clean the windows and I would do the sales pitch. That’s how I started this entrepreneurial journey because it was at that point that I learned that. If you solve people’s problems, right, you get rewarded for it and that’s what intrapreneurs are. We are problem solvers who are just adding value into the marketplace. But you’re really fundamentally solving a problem, then that’s how the story started.
That’s amazing. And you said you were nine years old in Zimbabwe and you came up with this business idea of cleaning. We’re so simple but so brilliant and to have that mindset at that stage. To say how I’m going to recruit people because I don’t like actually doing this, what I like selling it is so brilliant. I love it so much. So now you’ve got to tell me what happened next after the windows. How did that all progress in your journey?
Yeah, well, so obviously, you know, that summer, I made decent money. I didn’t have to bother my mom for ice cream anymore. But the seed for intrapreneurship was firmly planted. I kind of knew what I wanted to be, but then something drastic happened a year later. Which is that I met a girl. It all comes with a girl, but it wasn’t like in the sense of thinking about right, it was just a 10 year old just like me. But she wasn’t going to school and in my mind, I was kind of wondering like, is she homeschooled or whatnot. Because every day when I go to school, I would always see her siblings playing in pyjamas.
And one day I just decided to go there and just kind of like salsa. How come they weren’t in school uniforms like the rest of us, walking to school early in the morning. What I realized at that time was that she had lost both of her parents. Her name was Sara and Sarah and her siblings were orphans. But unlike the United States, where public education is free, in third-world countries like Zimbabwe, unfortunately, it’s not. So how grandma could only provide food and shelter, but she couldn’t provide the money required for Sarah to go to school. I asked Sarah a question that changed my life and the question was. What do you want to be when you grow up? And I thought Sara was going to tell me like, I want to be like Pamela and be a real estate investor.
Or I want to be a pilot, a president, a doctor, a lawyer. And what Sarah told me that time was disheartening. Because she looked at me and she said, could both my parents be dead? I don’t go to school. I’m just waiting to die. And in my mind at 10 instead of thinking like, wow, like, why isn’t the government doing something about it? Right. Why aren’t the business people? Because I would see all the business people driving Mercedes Benz’s and things like that. Why aren’t they doing something to help kids like Sarah. But more importantly, why isn’t society as a whole, like the community stepping in to help.
And what that sparked in me, it sparked a desire to actually become successful. But use that success to change lives. I was actually pissed like I remember walking back home, I was really angry, why aren’t people doing something to help Sarah and their siblings. And I quickly reconciled that if the people in Zimbabwe couldn’t do it. I need to leave Zimbabwe and make it somewhere and then use that to make a difference. Because I kind of like it, all the people here can do it. Well, I think I need to leave and make a difference.
And that’s how my dream of coming to America was born. It was really out of that and also watching Will Smith, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I was like, Alright. I want to go to LA or Miami or whatever it is. Because it seems like a fun place, but anyway, that was kind of like the next thing. So I was like, Hey, I love intrapreneurship. But let me go become an entrepreneur in the US, become successful in the US. And then use whatever profits I make over there to make a difference in my homeland. The challenge with that was that I came from a poor family. I wasn’t living in the African Bellaire by any stretch. We were a single-income household, my mom. She struggled with an illness that made her not go to work, she had to quit her job.
And it was just my dad and five kids, I have four sisters. So quite a big family, so my parents did what they could to feed us and also provide us education. But that’s all they could do and now if you think about getting an American education, that was a whole other level, right? And it was what people would say, an ambitious dream, and a lot of my friends and my peers. Even my teachers would always say, hey, Kuda, you need to be realistic that the American dream of yours might not work. I guess in their point of view, though, just trying to protect me from being disappointed if it actually didn’t happen.
But thank God, I didn’t listen to them. And I listened to my heart and I would always tell them. Hey, I’m gonna make it work, I’m gonna figure it out one way or the other. That was just my stance throughout high school. So you know, the next thing is, I’m graduating high school, and my quest of coming to America to fully begin.
That’s amazing. Oh, my gosh, our lives are very parallel in a way. So I mentioned to you that I was born in Albania. I came here when I was about five years old and I had the same mentality since I was a kid, I used to see things and I’m like, why is this like this? Why are these people suffering? And it’s like, then you say, I’m going to be so successful that I want to come back, take that success and then do good things with it. So it’s so funny, like, are parallels with that. Because my thought process was exactly the same.
Like, I’m gonna be a millionaire by the time I’m 30 and I’m just gonna like to do whatever. And I’m gonna basically just make the world great and laugh and have fun. You know, no pain, no suffering, no, whatever. So that was my dream to buy Fred, so I thought it was really, really cool that you had thought outside yourself. And especially at such a young age at 10 years old that you were exposed to that.
Yeah, that became my obsession. And when I graduated high school, you know. When all my other friends were now kind of taking the summer break and getting ready to go to university in Zimbabwe. For me it was okay, it’s a day, one of the rest of my life. I need to start really like digging in and really figuring out like, really, how am I going to go to America. Because if you think about the college tuition, there was no way we could afford it. I had to get a full-ride or something in order to make it happen. So it meant that the hardware began.
And it really led to a period where I started realizing that in life. You shouldn’t really focus on the resources, not saying that resources are not required. They’re not necessary, they’re not important. But if you focus on the resources or the lack of it will actually inhibit your creativity. Yes, because I knew that in order for me to come to America for college. I needed to study for my essay T’s, I needed to apply to colleges. But I didn’t have the internet, that was the resource I didn’t have. We didn’t have any internet at home and all my friends were now saying like, well, I don’t have any internet, so I’m not gonna apply. I shifted the question to how can I get access to the internet, right?
And so instead of you saying like, I cannot afford something. You should be asking yourself, how can I afford it? Yes, and an idea came to mind, which was there was this small internet cafe in the city. Like in the middle of the central business district and I went to them and I was like, Guys. I think I can help you make more money, the intrapreneur in me. Because I knew if I said. Can you give me a job? He could say, oh, we’re full, you know, we don’t have any spots. So I wanted to position it as a no-lose scenario for him. Because you should always when you’re pitching partnerships, ecosystem mergers or you’re trying to strike a deal. I know a lot of people always talk about Win-win.
But there’s also a concept I like to call no loss, like for him to be like, oh, okay, well. I have nothing to lose, I might as well do it. Because if it works out, there’s tremendous potential, but if it doesn’t work out, I don’t lose anything. So what I positioned him was like, dude, listen. You close your internet cafe at 6 pm. I’m willing to work the night shift, so you open up a new revenue stream. Because you’re missing out on a lot of traffic, right? People who finish work at 6 pm and now want to come to use the internet from six to seven or eight or whatever. I’ll be your night shift guy. And we’ll have to amount of revenue in order for you to pay my salary.
So if you think about it, I basically pay for myself. If we hit X of the number of users per day and if it’s not working. Then we can really look into what else we can do, so he was like, Alright, cool. You can work from 6 pm to 11 pm. That’s your shift. Here, the keys, that’s what I wanted, I wanted to have the keys to the internet cafe. Because then I would go there to work for five hours. I didn’t have any breaks, because it was only a short 11 pm lock up and we slept in the internet cafe. So I wouldn’t go home at 11 pm. And now I had access to free internet. From 11 pm until six in the morning, when the new morning shift people would come in.
So I would have seven hours of internet access every single day. Which enabled me to study for my essay. To research all the colleges that I needed to and submit all the applications. And it was just a shift of not focusing on the resources but being resourceful. Which is a very huge difference, right? Like in your line of work. A lot of people are like, Hey, I don’t have money to get into real estate, I don’t have money to do this. And that, well, you can get into real estate, without investing your own money. You can actually start becoming a real estate investor and owning properties by being resourceful.
So that was an interesting part of my journey. But you know, like any story, there’s always that wrench that’s thrown into it. And the wrench was my parents literally begging and saying like Kuda. Can you have a plan B? I remember arguing with him, I was like, Mom, my plan A to plan Z is going to America. My plan B is going to America, my plan C is going to you know, that’s it. But they were like you need to have a backup, but deep down, I knew like if I started kind of like, you know. Opting for other things or like having a backup, you start giving yourself, you know. Windows of opportunities to perhaps give in to second best and not really just keep pushing for the best.
But I did it to honor my parents and ironically. I got accepted into the best university in Zimbabwe and funding was available. So now I have this opportunity to go study engineering. With no zero risk, the funding is there. All I just had to do was sign the paperwork, register for classes and I’m in and my parents were like Kuda, this is a no-brainer, right? Take it, take it, take it. And it was kind of like feeling down at a time, like feeling down. I think about four or five universities that replied at that time and they had given me like $1,000 in scholarship here and 2500 in scholarships there. But the total bill was like $40,000.
So it wasn’t even like scratching the surface, so I went to this school and I registered for classes. And while I was there, I completed my registration and about to go apartment hunting. I literally pulled a Wolf of Wall Street Scene. So you know that scene means, you’re supposed to come and say like I’m leaving. I’ve stuck a deal with the SEC and then, he just goes like that’s exactly what I did. I was like there and I’m like, you know what. This is not For me, I call my parents I’m like, I’m coming back. Like, I’m not doing this.
And I had registered the student ID, everything and I literally was just like. I’m not doing it, so I picked all my bags up and went back home. I’m like this is my plan. What makes it a little bit interesting is that, from that day on, I was like The Wolf of Wall Street. It took me two years, between that moment when I finally then got a dean scholarship to the college. That I ended up going to. So if you think about it, now think about two years. Where you had gone and you’re registered for your classes at this school. And all the other schools are replying, they’re not giving you the funding that you need. Even get a visa.
Now people are going like, dude, we told you, right. You shouldn’t have
listen, look at where you are now, you could have been in your second year in University studying. And you haven’t even started and it was just kind of bombarded. With all these statements that at some point you start feeling like some self-doubt. But I didn’t get into it. Because I had so much conviction that I was like. If it takes me 5-10 years, I’m committed to this. Now, I’ve sacrificed so much that it doesn’t make sense for me to give up. Yeah.
And if I just keep knocking on the door at some point, it’ll fall, right? You just keep banging on that door and it’ll fall. I ended up getting that scholarship and someone else. Who had really paid close attention to my journey, was able to cover the difference. And by covering the difference, I was able to get my visa and come to America. I came to America with $40 in my pocket, that’s all I had and I was happy. Because I was like, I’ll take my $40 and my freshman year paid up. I’ll go start and that’s all I need, I don’t need to come with $10,000 or anything like that. Just that $40 as long as I can get toothpaste, a toothbrush, and some soap. I’m good and like they say the rest is history.
That’s amazing. Oh my god, I love it so much. And my question for you is how did you stay motivated throughout that whole process? Because as you were going through these rejections and there were so many people. Especially entrepreneurs out there that are listening right now. When you’re constantly dealing with things like these walls. That comes up or these obstacles like. How do you keep pushing forward? Like, was there a specific person that kept you motivated? Or was there a specific mantra that you gave yourself that you’re like, No, I’m doing this? Like. It’s always so interesting to me to be like, what really propelled you to keep going forward? Because that’s the hardest part, right?
Yeah. So it wasn’t easy. I’ll tell you that right? When you’re in the midst of a fire or a war of the right, it’s tough, right? Because you’re like fighting, you’re battling and whatnot, so it wasn’t easy. There are certain things that I did that at the time, I didn’t know what they were called. But now like having gone through, like a lot of professional development stuff. I now know what it’s called. So for example, visualization, yes, I would visualize myself, like walking on campus, talking to people, having friends, and all of this.
And because I would do it as a thing like, remember, I was working at this internet cafe. So I was in this internet cafe by myself, so I’m looking at the Internet. I’m looking at the campus, the virtual tours, I’m by myself and I’ll just start visualizing myself like it’s real. And by just doing small things like that. Which actually made it tangible to me, like, oh, wow, I’m experiencing it. That was kind of like one of the key things that I did. I also read a lot of biographies of like a lot of successful people.
Especially African entrepreneurs and as I was reading some of their journeys and what they went through. It was like, wow, like, look at what he had to go through. Some people were put to jail though, persecuting that. They suffered 10 times more when I went through. So for me, it made it seem as if, like. What I was going through was this and they went through this and you know. If they could do it and survive, I think that they could do it. But one of the most important things that I did which I’m really really happy about, I changed my environment. What do I mean by that? I stopped hanging out with the people that were negative and toxic.
So those people who always told me discouraging things, I stopped hanging out with them. Because why expose myself to negativity when I could go to positivity. So what I did is I joined A group called USAC. And it stands for the United States Advising Education Centre, so the United States Embassy in Zimbabwe. They have this educational center where people who want to study in America can go there and register as members. And you can have like resources and you actually talk to Americans. Who works for the embassy, who can guide you throughout that process.
So a lot of the like-minded students my age, who wanted to come study in the US. We’re members of this center, so I’ll go there regularly, so we’ll just kind of feed on each other’s energy and passion. And for some people that are super easy, right? They apply, they get a full scholarship and they’re out. But you see that John has gone, it’s possible, right? By being in an environment, where you actually seem like it’s possible for other people, it’s happening. You just continuously push and learn. And you just know that your moment is coming as well.
So, as an intrapreneur. What I would highly recommend is to change your environment and surround yourself with other intrapreneurs. And other people who’ve been there, have done that. Get a mentor, because when you change that environment and you start seeing what’s possible. You are surrounded by people with positive energy, they say your vibe attracts your tribe. So I wasn’t the only one who wanted to come to America and was willing to do so. Whatever I needed to do to make it happen and so I surrounded myself with more of those people. And that was really my support system and my motivation. That’s incredible.
And you landed a full scholarship exactly. Where you wanted to be? Which is great.
Yeah, so it wasn’t a full scholarship that one person would see my journey, then actually gave me the difference. But it was just for my freshman year. So they were like, hey, we’ll cover the difference for your freshman year. But for your sophomore, junior, and senior year, you’re gonna have to figure it out on your own. And for me, I was like, I’ll take it, it happened and miracles, literally. When I say miracles, miracles would have and I ended up graduating with everything fully paid, no debt, nothing. Because things were just happening, that I couldn’t even understand.
Wow, so now you got to tell us about those miracles. I want to hear all about them. What was happening?
So one time, I was looking at the library, and I saw a girl crying and I went over to him like, Hey. Why are you crying? She was like, Oh, I won’t be able to graduate. Because I failed my math requirement for my business degree. And I was like, okay, and I’m a freshman going into my sophomore year, remember. She’s a senior and she couldn’t graduate and I go to her like, Okay, well, why don’t next semester since you’re gonna have to come back. And why don’t I tutor you? Right? Cuz I was really good at math. Um, so I ended up tutoring her.
So by the way, it’s a class I haven’t taken. I would get the syllabus from her and the book. And then I would study on my own the material that she’s learning in class and then, I would tutor her in the library. She ended up getting a B plus, I never told her about my situation that I needed money. I just tutored her to get some side money. So she was paying me, I think, maybe 20 bucks an hour or something like that.
But then, for some reason. The way I taught her, she got it and she got a B plus. She had failed the class twice and she had missed out on graduating. But when I worked with her, she got a B plus and she told her dad, oh. This kid tutored me and I was able to pass the class. And the dad wrote a check for $10,000 as a thank you, so things like that.
So there was another scenario too. I went to school to study aviation and business, I was a double major because I love to fly. And the Dean of the School of Aviation calls me. Because there’s an interview in Daytona Beach for a scholarship, you know, we just found out about it, whatever. We can have a plane ready for you. You and another student can fly to Daytona, do the interview and see if you get it.
Like literally I’m walking on campus. I’m coming and I had to go to the flight school and to get into the plane, we flew over to Daytona. I took the interview and I got the scholarship. And so things like that were just happening like every semester. Whenever I would need money like something like that, would happen and what I needed was like literally provided and then I’m good. And I also became an RA, which took the room and board off and I was able to graduate. Everything paid off.
Amazing. Oh my god. Isn’t that incredible? Asking you shall receive, they say, right. Yeah, yeah, man. Whoa, okay. All right. So now post-college, like your career journey. Because you have quite an impressive resume my friend and you’ve done some really remarkable things. So how did your entrepreneurial journey sort of begin after? Well, you’ve always been an entrepreneur, so it’s not so much your journey. It’s part of who you are really, in your DNA. But what was the journey like for you after college? You know, where did you go?
So let’s actually start when I was still in college. Because it sets things up pretty well, so when I was in college. I started my second business, which was a social venture. So my first social venture really, which was a T-shirt company. We donated a portion of our profits towards a scholarship program. Because remember, my motivation was Sarah and educating kids in Africa, so I started that business. And that business ended up educating hundreds of kids in Africa.
The reason why I’m sharing the story is because that actually led to my job. So remember, I was a double major in aviation and business. I wanted to get into the airline industry, I wanted to be a pilot, blah, blah, blah. But I also was a business major, because I knew like with the aviation industry, I really wanted to get into business. It was more for my hobby of flying then it was kind of like my destiny. So to say, I had a job offer. At air trend airlines, I don’t know if you remember air Tran, it was like a low-cost carrier, I think they got acquired by spirit.
And then I got hired by a fairly large fortune 500 company and what they liked about it. My experience was that I was an intrapreneur. That set up a small division called transformational innovation. The task for this division was to launch new businesses. So I’m like, okay, shall I fly planes? Or should I get into business, I decided to get into business. Because I wanted the opportunity to then. Build businesses on others, put on someone else’s budget, right. So this is a multi-billion dollar company and they’re basically saying like, hey, Kuda. Can you go, come up with ideas. And then, when you come up with these ideas if you pitch them successfully to the CEO and the chairman. You’re given money to actually go long enough. I’ll take it, it’s a dream job, right?
Who in their career and like 22 years old, gets to work in a multi-billion dollar company launching new businesses. So I took that position. And it was probably one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. Because I was able to spend over a decade in corporate America in a multi-billion dollar company. Really learning what it takes to manage a Fortune 500 company. But more importantly, he taught me how to launch businesses from scratch. Literally, to take ideas on a napkin and bring them to market. Following a classic CPG process with an entrepreneurial twist to it. Ideas that I worked on and actually came to market was crockpot cuisine.
So if you’re familiar with the brand crockpot. When we were looking at it and looking at ways, we could actually transform that business. If you look into Keurig, right. You buy the K cup and also the brewer, so they make money both on the brewer and the K cup. With a slow cooker right now, when people use it to make a meal. We’re not part of that experience, right? People go buy their own ingredients at the supermarket. But we know slow cooking more than anybody else. So we should be the ones who are actually with that process, so I created a line of slow-cooked meals that were frozen. And people could order them online and would ship them directly to their house.
It was something that I created soup to nuts. I got a little bit of help, obviously, but I was the project lead. And we took that business from zero to over 20 million in annual revenue in less than three years. We ended up having a strategic alliance with Omaha Steaks. So if you go to Omaha steaks.com and such slow cooker meals, that’s the business that I built. That was one right, so it’s like, oh my god. Launching our food-based ecom business into the marketplace was really amazing. Then the second business I worked on was a partnership with Anheuser Busch.
And that was a really interesting partnership in many regards mainly. Because we got to partner with a big beer brand, Ioniser bush. Talks about the best of the best. When it comes to brand equity and launching beer brands. Through that experience with them, I was able to really get a taste of how merging ecosystems working with partners works. And the draft Mark tap system that I launched with ionise the bush. So It was an Add to Home draft system. Where you would then put a capsule of beer that we created. You could just use it as a beer tap and this is crockpot cuisine. Where you would get this nice boxed-off frozen ingredients and then you just throw them into your slow cooker and voila. You’d be able to, you’d be able to get your slow-cooked meal fairly quickly.
So I wanted to share that illustration of what we created with Anheuser Busch. But it was another business that we launched and we launched it, in Target and a bunch of liquor stores. And then I was able to be moved to the ecom business. Because at the time, I’ve created about four businesses. A couple of them didn’t really become successes, like any startup, but we had two major successes. And at that time, I was like, you know, what. I want to learn how to really manage and grow an existing business. So I started managing one of our e-commerce divisions and I was managing about $18 million in revenue. It was quite a substantial business.
And we grew the business on Amazon. We grew it on retail.com accounts like Walmart Target and a few other players. And then also our own direct-to-consumer websites. For all the different brands that we had in the portfolio like FoodSaver, the mason jars, and a few other brands. So I’ve got a real good understanding of how to manage AP & l. How to oversee and manage a team. But it was a big business, when you’re responsible for about $80 million in revenue, it’s a lot of money. So it came at a really good point in my life at that time.
That’s incredible, I love that you had stepped into the world of entrepreneurship. Even after you graduated on such a massive scale. I find that so fascinating and your success throughout all of them and with the big names and everything. Which is super amazing and I mean, another thing too, is I know that you mentioned to me your own business. Which is unbelievable, which I’m sure I would love to hear all about. But it’s just fascinating to me, how you’ve been able to like, here I am thinking of you like this was the kid in Zimbabwe. Who was washing windows and he now manages 80 million in revenue?
So for anyone out there who’s listening right now, like Kuda is the underdog. Like this man right here is so incredible and just his journey and just your thought process. I just respect that a lot, because I know what it takes. And I know how hard it is to go from the bottom up and I just think it’s just remarkable, I mean. You’re going to continue to soar and succeed over this, you’re only scratching the surface, my friend. So now after you launched all these massive businesses. What happened when I was getting ahead of myself? When I mentioned numbly? Well, I just think it’s so fascinating.
For a few things happened and one of the things that happened was quite a tragic picture. You are in sunny Florida during the winter, right? So the word that is perfect. You’re in the Tampa Bay area because that’s where I actually was. And you’re on a boat with your friends and you’re enjoying life. Life is good and you come back home after spending the whole day fishing and on the boat. You go to sleep around three o’clock in the morning and get a call.
And I look it’s my sister from Zimbabwe calling, so obviously I pick up and she’s crying. I’m like what, you know what’s going on? And she tells me, my eldest sister had just passed away. So for me, it was just kind of like what happened so quickly, so what had happened was a dog was bitten. The dog had rabies, the guy who owned the dog bribed the vet and the vet said that the dog was good. So my sister didn’t really bother getting a rabies vaccine.
The thing with rabies is that if you’re not treated in 24 hours, that’s it. So two days later, my sister passed away. I’m sitting here. What just happened? I fly back home to Zimbabwe and I’m at my sister’s Memorial. And I start thinking to myself, was my sister fulfilled? Was he happy? Did she get to find out what her life purpose in life is calling? Does she get to actually act on it right to actually fulfill her purpose? And was she able to achieve her purpose?
She was young, she was about 40 years old. And it put me on this kind of quest because I had really been focused on success. Climbing the corporate ladder, launching these multimillion-dollar businesses. Managing this econ division and just generating a tonne of revenue and profit, you know, six-figure salaries. For someone who came to America with $40, in my pocket, I had achieved the American dream.
I started realizing that my purpose of coming to America was to remember to help those in need. And that is what truly gave me fulfillment. That’s why when I was in college, with 150 bucks, I started that T-shirt company. Where we educated hundreds of kids and here, I’d spent over a decade in a Fortune 500 company. And I started thinking to myself, I need to figure out how I can balance success and fulfillment. Because I was at a stage in my life, where I was just focused on chasing success. That big check and the promotion, the bonus and all these other things which are good. Don’t get me wrong in life, you need those types of resources to look after your family and invest and whatnot.
But I was neglecting things that gave me fulfillment, things that gave me happiness. Which is giving back and making a difference. So I went on a journey to really figure out how to do it. And that journey led to this, I wrote a book called the spear method. Five simple steps to balance success and fulfillment. Because I learned quite a lot along the journey. I was able to meet people who had been able to deal with so much adversity. Like a guy called Sean Carnegie, you know. He was on his way to be drafted into the MLB. But he had this disease and he was losing his sight, he was dropping balls and not catching them, but he went on to become a successful lawyer. And has been able to launch this movement called unblinded and be super fulfilled.
Although I’ve dealt him a very difficult hand, learning from people like him and other professional athletes. I got to interview James Jones, we used to play for the Miami Heat and won the championship twice, with the heat. And the other time with the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James and to just learn his story of how he came from the project. To become a successful player. But he gives back. He spends his entire summer doing these summer camps. Giving back to kids in his old neighborhood and so many other people. And it really became clear to me that I had to leave corporate America. I had to start something else that really enabled me to be both successful and also fulfilled.
But at the time, I didn’t really know what luckily, I got a phone call. I was told about an idea that was brewing right there. Were a couple of guys who had read about a group of nuns that were being evicted. And the whole thesis was, Hey. Can we create a bombas? Like business? Right? Buy one give one type of business that helps fight hunger. Because these nuns were being evicted. They were selling cookies and using the proceeds from the cookie sales to feed people in San Francisco. And this guy who had the vision for it put a seed investment into the business. He was able to partner with another gentleman, so they have the vision, the money, but they didn’t have the intrapreneur.
So that’s when my name came up, so like, hey. There’s a guy who started a social venture before he launched a food business. They wanted to create a cookie company, so I knew food. And he also did it online and they wanted to start as an online business. So they called me up and they’re like, hey. Do you want to be one of the co-founders for fun? Unbelievable, this is the concept, this is what we’re working on and for me, it was a no-brainer mainly. Because when I was growing up in Zimbabwe, I personally experienced hunger myself, It was huge. Huge drought when I was a kid.
And I know what it feels like to go to bed on an empty stomach. It’s a feeling that I do not wish on anybody else and for me to think about. Hey, I could actually apply my talents, my knowledge, and all the things that I’ve learned in corporate America. To actually save people from experiencing what I experienced when I was growing up in Zimbabwe. But while creating value at the same time, what could be more exciting, so I quit my job in corporate America. And I came in and I partnered with these guys and the guy who was, you know. The brain behind this think tank was Tony Robbins.
He’s the one who found out about the nuns, he went out and he held the nuns. It’s quite documented actually and he kind of like had the vision to create an unbelievable. But Tony’s Tony, he’s busy doing things with his events and whatnot. And he reached out to my club, Michael Loeb is one of the guys who started priceline.com. Super successful intrapreneur and together they created an unbelievable. I was brought in with my business partner Brian danesco, who I launched crockpot cuisine with. Because we had the food experience and more importantly, the passion and desire to really fight hunger.
We’ve started working on building none believable ever since and when unbelievable is our mission-based cookie company. And we donate a meal for every cookie that we sell. We’re able to do that by working with both large and small organizations. So we work with organizations as the largest Feeding America, Feeding America is one of our partners that we work with World Vision. Another big organization is another partner of ours and also smaller organizations. That does things on more of kind of like a local grouts grassroots level. Like Joshua’s Heart Foundation that was started by a five-year-old.
So it’s a food bank in Miami that was started by a five-year-old. We work with them as well and a few others. Because we work with these organizations, they’re able to get food at a relatively affordable rate. Which enables this one-for-one factor. And unbelievably, it’s a fairly young organization. We’ve been in the market for slightly over a year now and in our first year of full operation. We’re able to donate over 300,000 meals.
Our target is we want to feed 10 million Americans in the next 10 years. Because the issue of hunger in America is quite big. More than 40 million Americans struggle with hunger. And this was pre-COVID, Feeding America actually projects that that number is now around 54 million. And it’s quite a large number. So as an intrapreneur, I want to solve that hunger problem to the best extent that I can. But also while delivering a delicious product to our customers, so that we’re creating value in that regard.
I absolutely love that so much, I love the mission, I love how you got involved in it. And how everything comes full circle and like. Thank you for being humble and just like being honest and being like, Hey, I was that kid, right? I was that kid that went through this. So I want to make sure nobody else ever goes through that. And similarly, with you and every time you mentioned things with your story, I’m like, Oh my god. There are so many parallels between me and him, I had a similar experience when I watched somebody. My grandfather passed away right in front of me and I took his last breath when he was dying, literally.
And it’s like it made me realize, everyone who’s around him right now. Nobody’s talking about money, nobody’s talking about how many hours you work, nobody’s talking about all these things is what I had realized was in my career. I was focused on the same thing, success, success, success, keep going up, keep going. And not thinking about Pam, why did you want to be successful in the first place? To take care of your family and make sure they never have a bill to worry about. Because they gave the sacrifice of coming to the US and doing all this for you and then B was just to create a better world. Where people can just be their authentic selves and just go out there and kill it. Right?
And being that resource in that model and that’s when I came up with the podcast. This podcast I wanted to give back through stories. Because like you mentioned, it was the stories that you read about that made you feel like you weren’t alone. In the process. You were like, while they were persecuted. What I’m going through is like a smidge. It’s just funny, our parallels are really crazy similar. But you have such a beautiful journey and I respect it so much. What’s really next in your world, what’s coming up next for you, and your amazing journey. You know, what’s next
Is really just to continue moving in the direction that we set forth. Continue to grow unbelievable, continue to serve our customers. Both the ones that buy the product and the ones that we serve. And with that regard, I mean to the people that get to benefit from the meals that we donate. So we really want to grow and scale the business. We’ve been selling digitally natives on our website right now. The idea is to scale into retail, so I want you Pamela as you’re walking in your favorite store at Whole Foods or whatever. I’m not quite sure where you shop. But wherever that is, I want you to see an unbelievable cookie section in whatever favorite grocery store, supermarket, or department store that you go to. So that’s the next thing for us.
And we want to scale in terms of going beyond just cookies into other baked goods as well. Because we feel that there’s an opportunity to expand into other categories as well because what we have fundamentally is more like a framework of business model. And how to go to the market and we can apply it across many different products and like I said earlier Like our North Star is 10 million. How can we feed 10 million Americans that struggle with food insecurity right now and until we achieve that goal. That’s going to be our number one focus.
And once we achieve that we can kind of pull our heads up and say like. Okay, should we now focus on 100 million? Should we now focus on a billion, I don’t know what that next number would be. But in the near term, while we’re laser-focused on 100 million, we’re going to be applying a full-court press to figure out. How we can accelerate to get to that number and right now we want to do it within the next three years.
What Would Kuda Biza Older Self Tell His Younger Self
I love that. And I know you’ll get there anything, you’d such as gold, my friend, so I’m sure you’ll get there just in time. That’s all I think it’s just time and now my last question for you. Which I love so much and I ask everybody, this is what based on what you know, now. What would your older self tell your younger self?
Nothing. I think the beauty is in the journey, I think the beauty is in the discovery and figuring things out, right? It’s like, why would I want my 15-year-old self to give me advice on how to become successful? No, I want to figure it out and be in the moment of figuring it out. Because that’s how you get to craft a beautiful story. And that’s how you get to show up 100% every single day. So now, it’s a common question that people ask, but in all honesty. I actually wouldn’t want to tell my younger self anything. Because if I probably had told them something, maybe he wouldn’t be here today.
It seemed as if I was able to navigate the obstacles that I faced in a good way. Which has landed me where I am today. Not saying I could have achieved more probably, but I also could have maybe achieved less. But nonetheless, I think I’ve landed where I need to be. I am where I need to be right now. So I wouldn’t tell the younger Kuda anything.
I love that. Everyone’s perspective is different. That’s why I love asking the question. Oh, man, Kuda, you’re amazing. And now, where can all the listeners find you, my friend?
Yeah, my home address is just joking. They can find me on Instagram, so Kuda Biza, you can find me on Instagram there. You can also go to my personal website. So the title of my book, S.P.E.A.R. method. You’ll be able to check me out and you know. See what I’m doing and my book and all that good stuff and then, if you want to support the movement for the unbelievable. You can just go to none believable.com. And you can grab a box of cookies and if you use the code underdog, you’ll get 20% off by just using the code underdog. Which is exclusive for the underdog podcast.
Thank you so much, Kuda. I appreciate you, I love your story, I love what you’re about. And I love where you’re heading. So my friend, thank you for being here today from the bottom of my heart. And from all of the listeners, I know that they love your story and everything that you are. So thank you, keep doing amazing things in the world.
Thank you for having me and keep doing, what you’re doing and promoting all the underdogs.
Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with the amazing Kuda Biza.