Three round tables were full of women and a handful of men among ladies, when second day of FEMTECH training workshop started. Participants consisted of 15 women entrepreneurs, 7 prospective trainees and 5 incubator managers, all from SIDO.
The workshop is a part of FEMTECH’s training program previously implemented in Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and now second time in Tanzania. In Tanzania the program is supported by TANZICT. The program aims at developing women entrepreneurs’ business and capacity building of local business trainees by covering such areas as entrepreneurial assessment, development of innovative business ideas, defining market and managing money. During the program, prospective trainees receive also an opportunity to rehearse training in practice.
The day started with a collaborative product development task, which participants found challenging but educative. After this imaginary exercise, a turn was of a real product market. Women entrepreneurs presented their products and received needed feedback of their products from other participants, trainees and audience. Feedback winding was postponed to following day and the focus was turned to customers. Who could buy my products and why, seemed to be important questions for many participants, who had joined the workshop in order to get ideas how to grow their business. As a whole, the morning was full of collaborative learning by doing, which is still something new in Tanzania.
For me, as a social psychologist and a work and organization researcher, the workshop offered a thought-provoking peak to a reality of women entrepreneurs in Tanzania. Innovativeness and risk management ask for trust in your own abilities to create competitive products and to be successful in the business environment, but those require also trustful relationships with others who may offer social, emotional, cognitive and financial resources needed in doing business. The program seems to work toward these ends.
Thank you all for an opportunity to follow up one morning of this workshop.
PhD. Tuija Seppälä lives in Dar es Salaam and conducted her doctorate in social psychology titled “Trust building and cooperation in supervisor-subordinate relationships and work units”.