Events & Updates

Tapiwa Musewe acquires Draga Vision Care with the support of the Southwestern Ontario Black Entrepreneurship Network

Apr 16, 2024 | News & Updates

New Owner of Draga Vision Care Tapiwa Musewe, Founder Dragica (Draga) Gojkovic, and Optometric Assistant Kelly Carroll

Tapiwa Musewe had a dream for years to lead her own optical practice. Today, with the support of Empowerment Squared and the Southwestern Ontario Black Entrepreneurship Network, she is the proud owner of Draga Vision Care. In addition to her clinical expertise, Tapiwa is now a successful entrepreneur serving her community and contributing to the advancement of her industry. Draga Vision Care offers a diverse array of products and services for all individuals. Located at 54 Centennial Parkway in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, they specialize in selling prescription eyewear, including eyeglasses and, contact lenses, as well as providing comprehensive eye examinations. Their product encompasses various styles, materials, and designs to suit different preferences and corrective needs.

Draga Vision Care was founded in 2017 and acquired by Tapiwa’s company Kuwona Inc. from another female immigrant entrepreneur, Dragica Gojkovic, in January 2024. The two speak of each other in glowing terms and share a kinship based on their life experiences, entrepreneurial drive, and passion for visual health care.

Born in Harare, Zimbawe, Tapiwa immigrated to Botswana as a child, and then to Canada in 2002. A registered Optician and a qualified Optometrist, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree from McMaster University and then completed the Opticianry program from Georgian College and her Optometry degree at the University of Johannesburg. Her thought leadership includes presenting at the Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS) in Las Vegas and as a lecturer to final year Opticianry students at the institution that launched her own journey, Georgian College. Tapiwa established her first ocular care business Kuwona Inc., in 2012. Kuwona means “to see” in the Bantu language Shona, and reflects Tapiwa’s vision to advance the vision healthcare industry. In Canada, Kuwona Inc. provides mobile optical services, and now also owns Draga Vision Care.

The path to Tapiwa’s ownership of Draga Vision Care intersects with the story of Dragica (Draga) Gojkovic, who established herself as a successful optician and entrepreneur in Europe, including owning her own optical practice there. Upon immigrating to Canada, Draga garnered respect for herself in the industry and became the manager of a Sears Optical practice in Hamilton. When the Sears Optical practice closed in 2017, Draga decided that it was a priority to continue serving her clients and community and rapidly went through the journey of becoming an entrepreneur in Canada. In a matter of months and with the hands-on support of family, Draga found a location and renovated the facility into an eyewear store and clinical practice and established the administrative infrastructure necessary to launch Draga Vision Care.

Draga Vision Care has always been committed to customer service, trust, professionalism, and delivering an excellent client experience. On the search to acquire a practice for a number of years, Tapiwa saw the practice listed for sale and was attracted to the presentation of the business. Her initial visit to Draga Vision Care established that both of these leaders shared similar values and principles, including having completed their opticianry studies at Georgian College. While being ready to move on from her practice, Draga placed a high priority on leaving her clients and community in good hands. Both Tapiwa and Draga were delighted to have strongly aligned values and interests.

However, taking over a business comes with many challenges. Fortunately, concurrent to the business transaction being explored in early 2023, Tapiwa was enrolled in Cohort 1 of the Southwestern Ontario Black Entrepreneurship Network (SWOBEN program, led by Empowerment Squared and partners.)

Tapiwa credits the support of SWOBEN as being a critical enabler in acquiring the practice. In particular, she points to the mentorship of Norman Musengimana, a lead SWOBEN advisor and founder of BizSkills for Good, as foundational to building her confidence as an entrepreneur. Norman’s insight on the entrepreneur mindset and guidance on the hurdles faced on the entrepreneurial journey were essential. As well, Tapiwa acknowledges the invaluable support of SWOBEN in guiding her on acquiring legal advice, raising the funds necessary to purchase the practice, and professional support with accounting, business strategy, marketing, and communications. A number of SWOBEN members have now become clients of Draga Vision Care!

Wide view of the Draga Vision Care store

As part of SWOBEN’s presence in the community, Tapiwa and Draga Vision Care have been featured by CBC Hamilton and Cable 14. These and other platforms have presented an opportunity to talk about the future of Draga Vision Care and its parent company Kuwona Inc. Tapiwa envisions continuing to expand the presence of her business across Canada over time, in alignment with the perspective of the World Health Organization (WHO), who recognize the significance of visual health care as an essential component of overall health and wellbeing. In particular, Tapiwa has a strong commitment for Draga Vision Care to continue to serve customers with a high degree of cultural fluency that recognizes the unique needs of all individuals in receiving the guidance and health care services that they need. The inclusive approach of the practice spans from product selection to the way that clients receive treatment and interact with clinical and retail services and offerings.

By Tapiwa’s side on the journey is experienced Optometric Assistant Kelly Carroll, who worked with Draga at Sears Optical and then joined her team at Draga Vision Care. Kelly’s continuity and longstanding relationship with clients are a critical bridge through the transition. Tapiwa is excited about the future of her business and plans to continue to be an active member of SWOBEN. She also intends to advance the development of the Kuwona Inc. Foundation, which will partner with organizations and seek to travel to those in need in the community to provide visual screening, eye exams, and eyeglasses. Internationally, Tapiwa intends to continue to build and work with her global network of visual health care professionals across North America and Africa, including innovative projects such as engaging in cutting edge research with the University of Johannesburg.

Tapiwa is pleased that her journey is able to provide inspiration to others and she is incredibly thankful for the support of the Network, and Fed Dev Ontario’s funding of the Black Entrepreneurship Program, which is the primary investor in SWOBEN. This acquisition process was supported by SWOBEN and Empowerment Squared. Since 2023, over 200 Black entrepreneurs have registered with the Network and advanced their businesses and concepts across the Greater Hamilton Area and Windsor-Essex. The future of Draga Vision Care and Black entrepreneurship in Southwestern Ontario is bright!

Empowerment Squared, SWOBEN, and Draga Vision Care are hosting a Celebration of Black Entrepreneurship and an open house of Draga Vision Care on Saturday, May 4, 2024. All members of the community are invited. Tour the store, meet the team, enjoy food and drink, and connect with members and supporters of SWOBEN. Please RSVP at: swoben.ca/draga

View of the clinic room at Draga Vision Care with a desk and auto refractors