Uplifting women entrepreneurs in Tanzania
Genovefa is a cheerful, confident 59-year-old woman with a passion for entrepreneurship.
Her journey as a business owner started roughly 30 years ago when she was working as a teacher. She was looking for ways to supplement her income, so she began making various food products to sell, including fruit jams, maize flour and pickles.
As a small business owner, Genovefa often needed help finding essential resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses in Tanzania. In addition, she found formalizing her company to be complex and filled with bureaucratic hurdles. This often left her feeling discouraged as a budding entrepreneur.
“When you are growing as a business, you have to face some challenges, but sometimes a challenge might be an opportunity,” she says.
After retiring from teaching, Genovefa put all her energy and focus into producing peanut butter. After attending an information session about an entrepreneurship program, she was introduced to the Small Industries Organization (SIDO), a program provided by Cuso International in Tanzania.
“I was so motivated with what SIDO was doing,” she says.
The program helps new entrepreneurs transform their innovative ideas into vibrant businesses in their communities and access funds to support their businesses. It also delivers training workshops on marketing and leadership.
For Genovefa, the program helped purchase a roasting and grinding machine for her peanut butter business.
“Before SIDO, I was making peanut butter with a local machine, but these machines were not very good,” she explains, adding that the right technology has accelerated her business significantly.
Not only has it helped increase her product production, but it has also increased her confidence as a woman in the business industry.
“Sometimes in Tanzania traditions, they tend to say that women cannot do certain things, but I say no, I was born a woman, and I see this as a gift, so I am going to do it,” she says.
Genovefa’s business name is Famashine Company Limited, named after her three children. She currently employs six staff members and hopes one day to employ twice as many people and double her production.
“SIDO is doing very well,” she says. “The program is giving women like me the training we need so we can manage our businesses and help others.”