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Making a Dream Come True

  • 09 Jan 2020

Mfaume Hamza Mkinile, 33 years, is the owner of Mkinile Enterprise, a small company that manufactures gypsum cornices and flowers in Mwanambaya, Coast Region. A father of two small children, Mfaume had received previous training on carpentry and gypsum and for many years dreamt of starting his own carpentry and gypsum businesses. He had even saved Tsh 6 million for this. But the task seemed too big and scary to him. He thought a manufacturing business required heavy investment in equipment, materials, a factory, etc. It wasn’t until he received entrepreneurial training that he started to see things differently. When he heard an advertisement on the radio that the Tanzania Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness Centre (TECC) was offering free entrepreneurial training, he quickly joined. “I went there with this heavy load on my shoulders, all this jumbled thinking about my business. I went there to set the load down, to see how they can help me,” Mfaume said. He joined TECC’s Kijana Jiajiri program in 2016. Designed to enable youths to start and grow their own businesses, the program provided youths with entrepreneurial skills training, paired them up with business mentors and linked them to financial and regulatory institutions. In the training Mfaume learned how to start and manage a business, how to market his products, but most importantly, how to have confidence in his abilities. “I already had Tsh 6 million but I lacked the confidence to start,” he said. “When the trainers taught us that we had to start with the little that we have, that gave me the push I needed.” So in January 2017 he bought two gypsum moulds, hired two workers and started his business. Mfaume was linked up with a very helpful business mentor who visited his premises often and provided him with a lot of advice, especially when he got stuck. Some of this advice was a basic as where to print his receipt books but to Mfaume it was essential information. Participation in trade shows like Saba Saba enabled Mfaume to connect with buyers for his product and he soon realized that the market for quality gypsum cornices was very high. In three years, Mkinile Enterprises went from two employees to eight employees working for the company. One of them is an accountant who had previously attended another TECC entrepreneurial training programme called VIA Jiandalie Ajira. In September 2019 Mfaume moved his production to a more suitable location where he could have access to better roads, electricity and water. He has increased his production from an average of 500 gypsum cornices per month to an average of 2,000 gypsum cornices a month. Mfaume’s life has changed, thanks to his manufacturing business. The income he gets from his business has enabled him to send his first child to a private primary school. He has opened a small shop selling pharmaceuticals in his community. He has also opened another small shop where people can do mobile money transfers as well as money transactions for three local banks. In November 2019 TECC took him and two other youths to an entrepreneurial show in Saudi Arabia where he made connections with Chinese manufacturers of gypsum moulds. This has opened up opportunities for him to get moulds at a cheaper price and to be able to customize the moulds so that his products stand out in the market. “The trip has opened up doors for my dream of doing something different in the gypsum market,” Mfaume said. His future plans are to open a big factory that produces quality gypsum cornices, angles as well as boards for the construction industry in Tanzania. His advice to other Tanzanian youths is that they should be self-aware. “They need to know what they want to do and where they want to go. Stand by your decisions and be focused. Don’t move from one business to another because you are facing challenges. Challenges are always there. Stick to your chosen path and deal with the challenges.”