Success through the Grumeti Fund’s Enterprise Development Program
Written by Frank Damson – Enterprise Development Program Officer
It’s not uncommon to hear about entrepreneurs who used the wealth they made from a previous endeavor to build a thriving new startup, or about seasoned business owners who took over a decades-old franchise and transformed it into something new. These stories are inspiring in their own way; but it’s even more inspiring to hear about people who started with nothing.
Donatira Wamagero has managed to start her journey with no capital, no funding and no experience; yet despite the odds she was still able to build successful business and hire three employees in less than one year. Donatira is a graduate of Teofilo Kisanju University majoring in education and I.T. Like many graduates in Tanzania she did not manage to get permanent employment. After working temporarily for two years in the financial and retail sectors, she thought of starting her own restaurant business with the hopes of a regular income, to improve her standard of living, as well as to create employment opportunities in the community.
Three months into the business, the Grumeti Fund, in collaboration with Raizcorp, advertised the one-on-one Guiding Program; a business support, high-touch entrepreneurial development program offered to selected entreprenuers in Bunda and Serengeti. The program covers four quadrants of business – strategy, finance, sales and marketing, and personal development. Donatira took a chance to apply and was among the entrepreneurs selected to the program. When asked about the program and how it has impacted her life and her business, Donatira explains:
I am glad I joined the Grumeti Fund Enterprise Development program because it has given me the chance to look at business with a different perspective, to reflect and refine my ideas as well as giving me the tools to enhance my business. Without them I may have failed because there was so much I did not know, but through this program I managed to avoid many mistakes which are often made in business.
The guiding program is very important because it about investing in yourself. You need to invest in yourself before you invest in anything else, by focusing on improving your skills, education and experience. Without self-investment, you won’t be able to build a business, let alone sustain one.
It’s a lot of work. What can I say, that’s life. Besides, look on the bright side: You get to do what you want and you get to do it your way. There’s just one catch. You’ve got to start somewhere. Ideas and opportunities don’t just materialize out of thin air. People waste time searching endlessly for magic shortcuts to entrepreneurial success and fulfillment when the only real path is staring them right in the face: real entrepreneurs who start real businesses that employ real people who provide real products and services to real customers.
In the nine months since Donatira has been exposed to the Grumeti Fund Enterprise Development program she has managed to open a new, big and modern restaurant in Bunda, increase her customer base, employ three people and increase her income. She has even shared her financial success with others in need by covering the school fees of a girl in her community whose family does not have the means to pay for her education.
The Rural Enterprise Development Program, run through the Community Outreach Department, is all about supporting economic activity and livelihoods by providing assistance to local entrepreneurs in the communities surrounding Grumeti. Launched ten months ago, the Guiding portion of the program has seen 67% of entrepreneurs increase their profit. Over the next year we aim to engage with over 300 more aspiring entrepreneurs through both Guiding and Village Learning.