Based near the green city of Mbeya lies the village of Kalalo. Raleigh volunteers have been here for the last two months working hard with a group of young ambitious entrepreneurs who all share the goal of becoming successful business people.
Two months of intensive training lead up to the group pitching to a panel with hopes of receiving a Raleigh loan. The process resulted in 16 successful entrepreneurs being selected for the loan whose business ideas ranged from chicken farming, restaurants, second hand clothing shops and hair salons.
During their training, each entrepreneur came across various hurdles and challenges. We met with two successful groups from Kalalo to ask them the question; What makes a successful business?
“I have a Raleigh education which means I have the skills to be a successful entrepreneur,” says Mage, who succeeded in receiving a loan for her sales business.
Mage now understands many aspects of her business by the employment of SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunity and threats) analysis, which is part of the lessons we teach, and by monitoring her cash flow on a weekly basis to keep track of her business and its profit margins.
Both groups of entrepreneurs went through challenges along the way. One of the biggest obstacles when starting a business is convincing people around you that the business will work and is needed in the area. The Chicken Group in particular felt challenged when telling friends and family about their business idea.
“Discouragement was an obstacle for me. I found people were questioning what I was doing. I overcame this challenge, however, by working together with my peers and my group which resulted in us, together, proving those people wrong.” Says Issa, a member of the Chicken Group.
It’s important for any entrepreneur to be ambitious and have long term goals so they are always striving to do better. We asked our entrepreneurs, what keeps them motivated?
Mage says, “I’m going to use the money from my business to educate my 2-year-old daughter and myself. Putting money into education is what I aim for.”
Issa wants “to create an educational programme on livestock for the youth of Kalalo.” The group also aims to become role models for aspiring entrepreneurs.
The Chicken Group wants to set up their business as soon as they receive the loan and start working towards their business goals. As well as this, they hope to engage with young entrepreneurs in their community.
We asked our entrepreneurs what advice they would give to anyone hoping to start up a business of their own. Issa says, “Be wise in selecting your idea, research your competitors and look at ways on how to make your business stand out. Never be discouraged by any obstacles or anyone. Be creative, be strong willed and be confident in your idea.”