Entrepreneur program in Tanzania helps woman create thriving wine business
In the years after she earned a Bachelor’s degree in economics at Mwalimu Nyerere memorial academy, Pendo Arbogast Ndumbaro, 33, tried out a number of business ideas. Over several years, she sold Baobab, vitenge, cashews, ginger, garlic paste, and popcorn. But none of it brought in enough money to keep her family afloat.
After years of struggling to make ends meet, things changed for Pendo. At the Nanenane Exhibition in 2018, she learned about Cuso International’s entrepreneur program, which Cuso International provides in partnership with Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO) and Tanzania local enterprise development (TLED) through the Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce (TWCC). After getting support from the program, Ndumbaro now runs a thriving wine processing business in Kibwabwa,
“That’s where my success began,” she says.
Pendo sat down with a SIDO volunteer who helped her brainstorm new business ideas. She came up with the idea to produce Roselle wine, which is made from Hibiscus flowers.
“There are so many people producing wine in Tanzania, but their businesses are not registered,” she says. “So I was advised to take that as a challenge and an opportunity and to register my business before I entered the market.”
But being a woman in business, especially as the mother of two small children, can be extremely challenging in Tanzania.
“There are these norms and beliefs in our society when it comes to being a woman in business,” she says. “Women’s efforts aren’t recognized, and sometimes your own employees don’t respect you because you’re a woman. It is also challenging because you often have to carry the whole responsibility of caring for your family as well as the responsibility of the business.”
Despite these challenges, Pendo’s business, Prano Investment, keeps growing. She’s received assistance with food processing, packaging, record keeping, branding, marketing, and business plan writing, as well as a Technology Innovation Grant from TLED.
When she first started, she was producing between 200 and 300 bottles of wine per year. Her production capacity has since increased to 4,000 bottles annually, which she sells to several retailers, including bars and hotels.
“My dream is to expand,” she says. “I want to build my own factory and to employ more young women and men.”
Luckily, she’s had the support of her family all the way through.
“My kids are very proud because they know their mother is going somewhere,” she says. “My husband is also supportive and proud.”
And even when something does go wrong, Pendo says she’s so grateful to have somewhere to turn to for help and support.
“The Cuso International team has been with me through the whole process,” she says. “Even if I face a problem, I can always just call them. Without them, I wouldn’t be telling you my story here today.”
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