Sir Richard Branson once said “If you aren't making a difference in other people's lives, you shouldn't be in business.” Well the project that 23 year olds Kim Lee and Nadine Armstrong volunteered with certainly brings together entrepreneurship and social impact. They worked with D.A.I.R.Y. Entrepreneurs (Developing and Inspiring Resilient Youth Entrepreneurs) in Nyombo village, which lies in the southern highlands of Tanzania. Thanks to a £300 Individual Volunteer Grant awarded to each of them by the Jack Petchey Foundation, they were able to travel to Tanzania and spend 12 weeks volunteering with the project.
Rural Tanzania suffers from high unemployment and local job opportunities are few, often low paid, and have poor working conditions. The project aimed to improve the livelihoods of young people and their families by creating independent businesses in the dairy industry to provide a viable and sustainable income generation opportunity for young people.
Kim and Nadine’s team worked alongside 36 young people, training them in entrepreneurial skills, financial management and helping them to write business plans, as well as providing individual coaching to entrepreneurs who were pitching for business loans. In addition they helped seven entrepreneurs secure loans to start their businesses, which included an animal feed shop, businesses producing and selling fresh milk, selling dairy products, and animal keeping. Their team also supported a further three young people to start their businesses without loan funding, including a 17-year-old entrepreneur who opened a clothes and tailoring service.
The project predicts that in the next 3-5 years, the businesses will grow and also create local employment opportunities. One entrepreneur said that he aspires to use his profits to expand his animal feed shops to other villages, benefitting more animal keepers who currently have to travel far to obtain feed and medicines. The project also hopes that the young entrepreneurs work as an inspiration to their communities, acting as role models for the future generations of Nyombo village, enabling them to have the best start in life.
Nadine was inspired by the resilience of the local community, commenting “In most people there is an eager willingness to learn, as they want to be able to achieve more for themselves and their communities.” She herself also learnt and grew in confidence through the experience, she said “Having the opportunity to be a weekly leader has definitely improved my leadership skills and has given me the confidence to apply for leadership roles since returning to the UK. Working and living with all the volunteers has helped me to become more patient and open minded towards all types of people.”
Kim also gained a new-found confidence saying that “The project revealed my natural leadership skills, strengthened my project management skills and instilled a can-do attitude in me. Together with my new found confidence, I know that if I think I can- I can!”
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