Lack of industrial sheds among women and young entrepreneurs in the country is among major chal- lenges they are facing at the moment.
According to Tanzania Business Women Association (TABWA) Executive Director, Noreen Mawalla, women and young entrepreneurs can never be transformed economically if they continued to produce their products at the backyards. “It is my dream to see that women entrepreneurs implement what they were taught. But it is difficult since they have no place to make their products,” noted Mawalla. She said very few women had industrial sheds since most of them did not have the capacity to own one, which costs around Sh300 million. Industrial sheds lead to entrepreneurs in the country to produce certified goods
hence easily enabling their penetration in local and international markets. According to the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, 80 per cent of Tanzanians were entrepreneurs, 43 per cent among them being women. However, the executive director added that a lot still needed to be done in financial management and economic transformation among
women and youth in the country. She said various initiatives have passed in promoting financial inclusion and sustainability among women but failed in transforming them economically. “Most youth and women entrepreneurs have the capacity of paying for their annual basic needs, including school fees, health services and other domestic needs
but have failed to be rich,” said the TABWA CEO. TABWA has since come up with various unique projects to ensure that both groups were transformed economically and managed their financial status. The association, which was established in February last year, has a vision to be a leading voice for promoting development and growth of women and youth enterprises. The promotion is through capacity building, training and mentorship. This year, TABWA has trained a total of 1000 women and youth from seven regions, including Simiyu, Mwanza, |Dodoma, Dar es Salaam, Mara, Shinyanga and Geita, during the Nane Nane Agricultural Exhibition held in Simiyu. She said that the training, based on needs assessment, was a success. Among other things, most women wanted to learn how to make animal food using living garbage; goat keeping, financial laws and microfinance programmes like VICOBA. Mawalla explained that at the moment there were various unique opportunities among women that the association working on, including Af- rican birds eye chili farming, which is now famously known as ‘Pilipili za mwendokasi’, strawberry farm- ing and alternative charcoal project. The association has 580 members from seven regions in the country with a network of more than 3,000 women from all over the country. Speaking on their successes since the establishment of the association, the CEO said they have managed to organise two trips to China, which led to establishment of seven industries, including the one for the production of alternative bags after the government’s ban on the use of plastic bags, and one which is used to pack fish. Apart from this year’s ‘Nane Nane’ training, they have also managed to conduct 20 courses to its members and networks in the country. Its mission is to function as an apex network and business organization that promotes economic development for women and youth in the country through lobbying and advocacy, net- working and information sharing and capacity building to mention a few. Among benefits of the association to its members are recommendation to embassies on visa requests, to easy follow ups to government authorities’ issues and on inviting and hosting foreign business partners. Local and foreign companies my need to know better on the compa- ny they wish to engage with, likewise members can verify in advance their foreign and local counter parts and the one better before concluding business.