Entrepreneurship in Tanzania; Women in Business

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“Do not worry about being successful, but work towards being significant and success will follow you” ~ Oprah Winfrey. Sarah Gemski (2018), Did you know that more than 50 % of small to medium businesses in Tanzania are owned and run by women? This has been made possible by women who are already in business voluntarily choosing to empower upcoming entrepreneurs and by forming organizations that aim to inspire and support women in business.

Entrepreneurship can be defined as the activity of creating a business or businesses with an aim of gaining profit before or after making financial risks. It involves thinking of the idea, getting the necessary resources to start the business, running, and managing the business, and scaling to generating profit/ growing the business. Histrich and Peter (1988), defined entrepreneurship as the dynamic of wealth creation. Wealth creation involves investing in different asset classes, the investments should fulfil different key needs of the investor. Karutko and Hodgetts (2004), define entrepreneurship as a process of innovation and creation. Deciding to venture into entrepreneurship should psychologically prepare you to face entrepreneurial challenges and acquire entrepreneurial skills.

During post-independence Era (1967-1985), private business entrepreneurship was discouraged to give space for the government, community-based projects, and co-operative owned ventures. Since 1985, the country’s economy has been transitioning from a command economy to a market economy. Around 1991, an informal survey was conducted, (URT 1991) which found out that there had no entrepreneurship graduates, but since 1995 the country recorded an increasing number of students graduating with entrepreneurship degrees especially from the University of Dar-Es-Salaam (UDSM). In a survey of final year students, Mufa (2005) found the proportion of students running businesses increased from 7% in 1997 to 16%. In 2014, the economy was rebased, increasing the country’s GDP by a third to $ 41.33 billion, Tanzania’s economy is majorly dependent on Agriculture. Tanzania is a developing country, it is transforming from traditional systems including traditional socio-cultural, economic values, and institutions to modern systems including modern values and institutions.

Dina Bima has been running Dina Flowers Company Limited for over ten years, she has been distributing flowers to international airports. She has also been receiving orders from South Africa, the United States, and Europe. She has been recognized as one of the members of the African Women in Agribusiness Network (AWAN) and Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce (TWCC). Having been succeeding in business Dina’s husband, Mr. Mwita Bima, quit his job to join her, he is now the Chief Financial Officer. Fatma Riyam, managing director of NatureRipe, started growing mangoes in 1992 out of passion then in 2008 she started exporting mangoes to the Middle East but due to challenges like lack of cooling facilities and unreliable transport she had to stop exporting and start to process products for the local market. In the same year, 2008, she started NatureRipe which has since then grown and developed. As of 2013, they started receiving an annual turnover of US $ 500,000 to the US $ 1,000,000. She stated that most of her success and achievement was due to the knowledge and skills she acquired through the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) trade sector development in Tanzania.

“UNIDO is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization, and environmental sustainability.”  With the interest of supporting female entrepreneurs in Tanzania, in 2005 a group of women formed the Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce (TWCC). The vision of the organization is to become a strong women’s apex organization promoting the growth of women entrepreneurs economically and their aim is to create a platform to raise the voices for women entrepreneurs.

The Tanzanian government has continuously encouraged women to venture into business as well as taking leadership positions, this has continued to motivate more and more citizens to venture into business. Entrepreneurship growth in Tanzania has made the economic growth of the country to increase and has also encouraged innovation. It has also helped to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country especially in big towns like Dar-Es-Salaam, Arusha, Dodoma, etc. The creation of employment opportunities has significantly helped to reduce the crime rate and get the youth to be more involved and responsible, hence reducing idleness. Entrepreneurship has also helped stir up fair competition between businesspeople hence the production of high-quality goods and services.

In conclusion, the aim of venturing into any business should be serving or proving but, in that profit, must be considered, the profit will then facilitate growth. Mentorship programs are key to supporting growing entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship plays an important role in people’s lives as well as in the country’s economy.