SMALL-scale businesswomen have a habit of talking a lot about what they can’t do rather than their achievements resulting in failure. And lack of self esteem and over dependence on male partners have, for a long time, been blamed for women entrepreneurs’’ failure to make it in business.
In a move to eradicate this kind of perception, small savings and credit enterprises in the country help women entrepreneurs with knowledge on how to start good businesses through savings and sponsoring one another till one manages to stand by herself. Ms Zainabu Ayubu of Kahama District has expanded her small clothing-credit facility business to fellow women and they pay back after three to four weeks.
That system has enabled her to shift to another level of owning a boutique in the heart of the district. She said,“ I started walking around homes and giving women clothes and they paid back after few days.” Later, she was able to save the profit with the promotion of Rural Initiative and Development Enterprises Limited (PRIDE) that amounted to 200,000/-, while at the same time helping to sponsor one another in a group of five women for each group.
“Earlier, when I started doing this business it was very difficult because some women were reluctant to pay the debts, but I did not lose hope knowing that in any business challenges cannot be avoided,” she explained. This saw Ms Ayubu establish her boutique after roaming for two years on the streets selling clothes and being able to save up to 2m/-. “I am now self reliant when it comes to finances and my business is now stable to the point that I now travel to neighbouring countries to purchase clothes for resale.
I have been to Congo and Uganda,” she said. She encouraged other women who are still housewives to wake up and start any kind of business through credits from small enterprises like Pride and Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies (SACCOS). She said that these days there are so many opportunities that women can explore, adding, “Women remain unwilling and keep on depending for everything on their husbands, something that exposes them to abuse.
Ms Ayubu, a widow who looks after a daughter left by her sister who died of heart attack three years ago, is a strong young lady (24 years old) who got married at the age of 19 years and only spent three years with her husband. She started the clothes-credit business when she was married which enabled her to stand by herself even after the death of her husband. She still harbours dreams of studying further but only until she saves enough money.
“I still have plans to continue with my studies when I get enough money. I had the same dream when my husband was still alive and he helped me a lot in my studies but I did not succeed but I still have faith that I will accomplish my dream,” she insisted. In any kind of activity challenges cannot be escaped, Ms Ayubu lost consignments valued at 2.5m/- while transporting them from other countries.
Last year, she lost goods worth 500,000/- when her luggage was lost while being transported using a haulage truck from Congo and this year, she lost 2m/- worth of goods while transporting them from Uganda. “On my way from Uganda by bus someone took my luggage. This was so because when someone reaches his/her destination, the boot was opened and that is when my luggage was taken. I can’t tell whether it was by mistake or a deliberate move and the goods have not been recovered up to this moment. It is a challenge because it discourages and causes losses but I thank God that I am proceeding well,” she said.
Pride Tanzania is one of micro finance institutions in the country involved in providing credit to small-scale entrepreneurs. It opened its doors in January 1994 with its first branch and head office in Arusha. The operations started first on a two-year pilot phase running from September 1993 to August 1995 involving three branches in Arusha, Tanga and Dar es Salaam.
After the successful completion of the two-year pilot phase, a five-year expansion phase was approved. The second phase had its main goal stated as “to expand the programme to a network of 25 branches serving 30,000 clients and attaining operational sustainability in its fifth year.
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