Zimba Women

Entrepreneurship Finalist

Zimba Women is working to create opportunities for women to actively, safely and fairly participate in the economy by providing access to skills and training for women. We believe that a full and robust economy depends on equal participation of women. Through our programs, we increase the participation of women in the economy and help them gain skills needed to take on greater leadership roles in business and entrepreneurship.
Some of our programs include;

  • Mentorship for women in business and women in STEM, we currently have 180 women from Africa and of African descent enrolled in our 2018/2019 mentorship program.
  • Funzi Entrepreneurship Program, in collaboration with the International trade center and Funzi, we conducted a 6 weeks business and leadership training program for women in business where 26 women graduated at the end of the program.
  • Business to Business and Business to Consumer networking events, we run monthly events for women in business and women in STEM to share knowledge, networks and opportunities. These events eventually lead to the Zimba Women Annual technology for business summit every fall that attracts over 300 participants from Africa and beyond.

Our mission is to multiply earning income of these entrepreneurs by providing cross-cutting e- solutions to improve affordable market accessibility and capacity building. In the next quarter, Zimba Women is poised to introduce an e-commerce/ m-commerce solution that will act as a virtual marketplace for women vendors. The Zimba Mart solution will expose the products from women based SME’s to a huge local and international online market in a supportive, all-inclusive and friendly and environment.We are leveraging Information and Communications Technology to reduce poverty and empower women so they can fairly and equally participate in the economic and social development their communities.

What impact has the initiative had or is expected to have?

Zimba Women is currently working with over 10000 women-owned businesses and women in STEM in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and other African countries. Zimba Women provides tools and technology platforms, business training, digital literacy training, mentorship and networks to improve the livelihoods for women entrepreneurs and women in STEM  in sub-Saharan Africa. Access to larger markets is a huge motivating factor for self-employment and  entrepreneurship for women in Africa.
Additionally, our business development training enables better production efficiency, wider networking opportunities and stronger business leadership and team development. Through the Zimba Mart, women will be able to earn additional income for their families because they can market to buyers outside their community. They will also get fair pricing because Zimba Mart enables them to deal directly with the customer instead of unscrupulous middlemen. The Zimba Mart targets up to 1,000,000 of the 6,000,000 million Ugandans with access to the internet.  We have seen first-hand the impact these improved businesses has had in the lives of these women.  With stronger finances, they have been able to improve lives for their families, i.e.: better education,  better nutrition and better healthcare.

What is unique about this initiative? Can it be scaled-up and replicated in other places?

The specific characteristics that make Zimba Women’s initiative better than existing market solutions are;

  • We create employment opportunities for women by easing their access to market for goods and services they produce using e-solutions and digital marketing.
  • We deliver training services for women in business that specifically focus on business and leadership development.
  • We enhance export competitiveness of these SME’s leading to increased revenues for these enterprises.
  • We focus specifically on women. There is no marketplace, physical or online that is specifically targeted to women merchants, yet women form the largest percentage of small scale suppliers of home, agricultural produce and clothing apparel.
  • By creating awareness about possibilities and creating support networks we have led to increased earning capacity for under-served women.

Our women have a higher propensity to use their earnings and increased bargaining power to buy goods and services that improve family welfare which creates a virtuous cycle: female spending supports the development of human capital, which fuels economic growth in the years ahead. We are already scaling Zimba Women to other Africa countries with the aim of empowering even more women entrepreneurs with the same access to markets, resources, technologies, training and networks. Our mentorship program is an online 1 year program that reaches women from Nigeria, Algeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Sudan, United States of America, Rwanda and other countries. We are replicating our Zimba Women technology For Business summit in Rwanda this year to enable the women to resister with us and tap into new markets, opportunities and partnerships.