EVALINE: DREAMING BIG, STARTING SMALL
In Tanzania, where the majority of economic activity is through small, cash only businesses, entrepreneurship skills can be essential to success. Even individuals with salaried jobs often supplement their income with a small side business. Despite this, there are very few training opportunities for business owners and young professionals interested in entrepreneurship.
Evaline, who works as a booking agent for a tourism company in northern Tanzania, dreamed of running her own business as a child. So, when her supervisor suggested she attend Asante Africa Foundation’s Leadership and Entrepreneurship Incubator (LEI) Summit, she jumped at the chance. The LEI Summit gives youth from East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda) a chance to learn business skills, including budgeting and forecasting. It also introduces them to young professionals and gives youth a chance to develop their own ideas for small businesses.
Before attending the summit, Evaline thought she would need a lot of cash to start a business. The summit opened her eyes to the fact that she could start a business with a small initial investment. Evaline also learned skills she needed to get the most out of her investment.
In addition, and perhaps most importantly, Evaline was given a space to develop her business ideas, start planning for the future, and receive encouragement to carry out her plans. Evaline says, “discouragement and lack of confidence are two big issues that young Tanzanians face when starting a business. The LEI summit helped me clarify my own values and gave me the confidence to start a business despite skepticism from others.”
After attending the summit, Evaline started a small business supplying homemade juices to the offices in the building where she works. Evaline is able to continue her job at the same time as she runs her business.
Evaline, who was raised by a single mother and still lives at home, uses the extra income from the business to contribute to family expenses, including rent and food. Evaline was able to increase her income while keeping her job, and thus raise her family’s standard of living.
While Evaline’s business is small now, she hopes one day to have her own company. For now, Evaline is learning business skills and gaining confidence, thus building the necessary foundation for the future she wants to have.
Written by: Kathleen Smith