Googlers work with entrepreneurs in Mbwewe

24th July 2017

After a week spent in the beautiful village of Mbwewe, the Googlers have experienced a lot. From debriefing the day and planning the next one, stargazing at night, enjoying chipsmayai directly from one of our entrepreneurs; and experiencing some really touching moments when we were able to make a difference to our entrepreneurs' businesses. They have become a real team, understanding each others’ daily routine and working together successfully.

Written by Google volunteer Flora, Google 4. Photos by Rosie.

Our training schedule has been packed, helping our entrepreneurs learn about a number of topics including business model canvas, SWOT analysis, market research and cash flow. Our training days have become well-structured and after hearing the entrepreneur pitches this week, it is clear that each and every one of our entrepreneurs is now able to identify the importance of these tools to expanding their businesses.

Gift, an mPesa (mobile money) agent has learned a lot from the training and commented:
“The Google volunteers have helped me with market research, marketing methods and spotting opportunities to expand the business…I will now start selling phones and expanding the business into other networks (Tigopesa) to overcome possible threats.”

It is an honour to see that with our help in some cases there are long awaited dreams coming true. These might sound like small things, for example having the courage to open up a new shop in the area, starting to sell one or two new types of products, or buying a table to have a place to sit next to your business, but for our entrepreneurs these decisions can make a big difference. At the end of each training session, we asked our entrepreneurs for their highlights from the day and expectations for the next one, Rosemary who runs a hair salon commented after training, “I’m happy that I learnt a lot and I expect to learn even more tomorrow.” Mishaka, Mbwewe’s cooking oil retailer said, “I’m so happy that I can feel like I was in school again.”

We also held an action day in our village to raise awareness of entrepreneurship and highlight our entrepreneurs’ businesses. The day included speeches from the village chairman and VEO as well as games and dance competitions with the children. We were able to introduce ourselves and it was a great opportunity to thank the community of Mbwewe for welcoming us, and making us all feel at home. With over 100 people in attendance, the day was a great success!

The entrepreneurs have all now pitched and we have held our awareness-raising day. We will depart for de-brief to meet up with the other Googlers and Raleigh Tanzania alumni to share our experiences with one another and discuss what can be learned for the future. To celebrate our entrepreneurs’ we had a great final Tanzanian dinner together, prepared by our amazing Raleigh Tanzania alumni before we got ready for our final days here in Mbwewe. It has been an experience we will not forget, and we hope the entrepreneurs we met will use the knowledge they have gained as they grow and develop their businesses.

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