Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On Zimba Women....



"I don't want to be rich in a land of poverty."

That quote has haunted me ever since I started this pursuit of happiness. How can one be happy with their status quo of wealth and satiety when surrounded with such poverty, such horrible squalor. This has often been my motivation to give, to help the needy but I always felt the urge to do more. Teach a man to fish, that type of thing. So in 2012, as I was going about my business, something happened that led to this;

Alot of ideas were given and that led to the birth of a company called Ajali. (More here )
It was meant to run an incubation program for SME's set up by women based on the TBS(The Baby Store) model. The initiative was meant to provide capacity building, technical assistance, financial support, mentoring and business guidance as well as invest in a woman-led profit venture. We were looking for high-potential, low income women to support to start their own businesses so that they can become financially self sufficient. Alas, that did not take. Between running a business, going to school, a full time job and raising a baby, there was simply no time or energy left for me to implement what we wanted. Hanifa continued making her soap, and all I could do at the time was market for her on Facebook as well as hold some of her inventory at my store.

Come 2014, I finally decided to bite the bullet and quit my Job to focus on the store (which was now strictly online) and baby raising. But being me, there was still energy left for more. So ZimbaWomen was born. This time, I was armed with more experience from running a business for more than 2 years, with co-founders who are as passionate as I am about empowering women and a lot more time on my hands. With ZimbaWomen, not only are we running an incubation program for women but we're enabling their businesses using ICT's. We have been operational for barely 6 months and the traction we've had is nothing short of amazing. We've been blessed to partner with agencies that share the same vision as we do.

The ZW ladies having an information session at our partner agency Uganda Investment Authority.

We are have signed up our first cohort of women for the year and the growth that some of them are experiencing is unbelievable. The best example of this is a cake maker who has gone from an order a week in January to having a single order every day of the week in March (Just a space of 3 months!) We are excited about the coming months. We are still drafting the final work plan for 2015 but we're pleased to say that it is coming together quite nicely.

Peace.K (Co-founder and I) taking a selfie break during work.
And Hanifa, Well, I ran into her recently. We had lost touch because I changed numbers and she didn't have any way to reach me. Sadly, her husband passed last year and she was left to fend for her 3 children alone. The good news, she's still making that wonderful soap which she is supplying to several shops in Kampala. Even better news, I am in position to finally guide her to the help she needs. We're working together so her business can be formalized so that she can have access to finance and her products properly branded, marketed as well as refine her distribution channels. 

2015 is going to be a good good year.

Bisous.

S.