Team Lukata – The importance of developing a Business Model Canvas and conducting testing when starting up a small business.

30th March 2015

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As we enter the first week of the second phase of the ICSE project, our focus turns to the completion of the BMC (Business model canvas).

With the basic outline for the businesses ready, the bulk of the work now relies on gathering the finer details. Our involvement has been two fold, firstly advising individuals on the relevant testing avenues and secondly organizing peer-learning and networking events.

We started out by splitting into small focus groups, consisting of 2 entrepreneurs and 2 volunteers. This enabled us to collectively concentrate our energy on each individual BMC and their testing needs, which ranged from conducting local surveys to gathering information on competition, challenges and demands to carrying out research into costs and wholesale prices for accurate budgeting.

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Alongside this we have also been working hard on seeking out suitable local business people and local leaders to act as future mentors for the entrepreneurs. Thursday marked their first meeting and we were delighted to see so many questions being asked, notes being taken, and the overall feeling of involvement and enthusiasm which was noticeable in the room.

However, the crescendo of the week of intense networking took place on Friday when we joined forces with Team Kyimo. We held a peer-learning and networking event in our fellow ICSE team’s training space. Our entrepreneurs and volunteers met early Friday morning and took the bumpy 40 minute bus journey to Kyimo, where we were greeted with a traditionally warm Tanzanian welcome. The event started promptly at 10am and the day consisted of talks from influential specialists in the dairy industry, followed by Q&A sessions.

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This fantastic opportunity meant that the entrepreneurs were able to fill in many of the BMC gaps which were identified earlier on this week. In addition to the talks it was a chance for the young entrepreneurs from both villages to meet and share their experiences, learning points and challenges, while practicing their pitches. By the end of the event the positive impact on the confidence and motivation of our entrepreneurs was wholly apparent, and it was further proved by the cheerful chanting and singing for the entirety of our journey home.

Looking back on our time so far with our entrepreneurs, it is astonishing to see the dramatic changes in their attitudes, self-belief and enthusiasm. When we first met in February many of them were unsure of their direction and incredibly shy and their knowledge and understanding of starting up a business was extremely limited. 5 weeks down the line and they each have a clear business plan backed up with various testing notes and budgets nearly in completion. The task is now to focus on the final stages of testing to build a clear and complete foundation for the delivery of the pitching in just over one week’s time.

It is safe to say that we are all exceptionally proud of how far our entrepreneurs have come and are ever more encouraged to continue working our very best in order to give as many individuals a chance at succeeding with their businesses. 

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