With great satisfaction we look back at a successful week in Tanzania, where we conducted our training for 19 small and medium sized female entrepreneurs. The participants were active in all different kind of sectors, from fashion and jewelry to Corporate Social Responsibility and financial services for businesses, and from menstrual cups and reusable pads to all kind of natural food and cosmetic products.
On the first day we identified the unique talents of all participants and as usual great talents were identified. Of course, since everyone has a beautiful and unique talent, mostly it is only a matter of pinpointing it! What do you think of 'sunshine', 'fixer', 'jack of all trades', 'spark' and 'need to understand'? Next to the unique talent, we all also have our so called 'dragons', or the voices in your head or on your shoulder, that can withhold us from expressing our talent to the full. These we also identified for the group, but we leave it up to them to share these with you.
The second day of the training we take time to look at the business. We worked on the value proposition, meaning that in one sentence or in a short text you make clear what the unique value of your product or service is for your (potential) customers. Attractive sentences were the result, like 'We provide rural women and school girls who are faced with infections and irritation as well as a lack of proper padding materials, with proper and attractive safe period solutions' or 'I help women with unique African jewelry to brighten up their appearances for them to create a special first impression'.
The third and last day we talked about money. Most of the entrepreneurs need external at a certain point in the development of their business. Together we found out that there are so many ways for attracting funds. From family and friends to micro finance institutes, and from saving groups to business angels. All have their advantages and disadvantages and are suitable for different development phases of the business. The findings of this session will be shared in another article, so keep an eye on our website and social media!
It was great to see how all the women shared their business challenges with each other and tried to find solutions together. We were grateful for the enthusiasm with which our training was received and the feedback that we got. Many mentioned that this combination and integration of personal and business development that we offer was very new to them and it gave them clear insights in their businesses and inspiration to do things differently. And we even made it to the national newspaper!
We will give follow up to all participants by sending motivational messages on an irregular basis by WhatsApp. Sometimes it's an encouragement, other messages contain an assignment. At the end of January we will have calls with everyone to see in how far all women have managed to achieve what they planned during the training in November.
Together with our Tanzanian partner SheFound we will put down recommendations for the Netherlands Embassy in Dar es Salaam, who funded this pilot program. There are many more women entrepreneurs who deserve support and encouragement and we will come up with ideas on the best way to do so.