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Together, We Make Deals

Networking event connects beneficiaries from five USAID programs

In Mbeya City, Tanzania, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) lack opportunities to meet, network and identify business deals with other MSMEs, agricultural input suppliers, millers, food processors, business development service providers (BDSPs), financial institutions, youth and women leaders, traders and insurance companies.

In order to build an environment where these connections thrive, five USAID-funded programs organized a business-to-business forum between 14-15 November 2018 in Mbeya City. The programs involved in the organization of the event included the Feed the Future Tanzania Enabling Growth through Investment and Enterprise Program (ENGINE), Advancing Youth, NAFAKA, Mboga na Matunda (MnM) and WARIDI. Over 130 people representing over 60 private sector organizations attended the event and used the opportunity to discuss potential business opportunities, both formally and informally. Participating in and organizing the event supports ENGINE’s mission of promoting a business-enabling environment in Tanzania by linking MSMEs with business development service providers and other private sector resources.

The forum featured formal presentations by agriculture-related industry professionals, BDSPs and financial institutions. The potential clients of these organizations quizzed the presenters with many in-depth, knowledgeable questions and many business deals were struck finalized. During the event, one grain supplier noted, “Two grain growers came up to me after one of the sessions and asked about my operations. After discussing prices and schedules, I now have two new sources.  The meeting has brought new business to many of us.”

Since the event occurred in November 2018, 27 MSMEs have formally worked with agriculture input suppliers, other youth and women leaders, millers, processors and financial institutions that they met through the event. Their successes include newly- formalized partnerships, newly identified market channels for food processing identified, additional agri-business skills, access to market research on vegetables, packaging improvements, gaining business skills and developing business plans, employing new marketing strategies, and additional distribution channels. As a result of their participation in the event, BSDP participants have reported that they have found 16 new clients and provided them with the following services: three business plans, nine marketing and promotional skills development training, two accounting and recording-keeping training, one finance training and one micro-finance training. In total, ENGINE BDSPs made business deals in excess of 30,000,000 at the end event. Attendees also expressed a desire for additional forums to better educate themselves in BDS, and to network with others to improve their operations and market opportunities. ENGINE’s participation in the organization of event is reflective of its and other implementing partner’s commitment towards building a strong private sector in Tanzania.

Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition.

USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency working to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.

Mangos Are His Passion!

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ENGINE Supported capacity building leads to Successful Mango Cultivation Business

As a child, in lieu of playing with his friends, John Mwakitalu would opt to work in his family’s garden where he would “help the plants grow”. He was fascinated with the plants’ life cycles and wanted to learn more.  In pursuit of this knowledge, John attended Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, and studied with the SUGECO Business Development Services Provider (BDSP) sponsored by the USAID-funded Feed the Future Tanzania Enabling Growth through Investment and Enterprise Program (ENGINE), whom he credits for much of his success. ENGINE works to connect BDSPs and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to create linkages. Business development services, like John’s training, teach business owners valuable skills and add to their overall capacity.

Before starting his business, John received two degrees in agriculture studies and instead of seeking traditional employment, decided to start his own business in March 2014. However, it was the skills that skills he learned from SUGECO—particularly business planning, business operations and the loan application process that really took his business to the next level. John explained, “The business plan development, record keeping, accounting and profitability that I learned from ENGINE’s training with SUGECO is what gave me the boost to success”.

John now has three full time employees and twelve seasonal, part-time employees. During the growing season, John grows four types of mango saplings and his operation produces 20,000 saplings annually with an annual income of 15,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings.  John sells his mangoes all over Tanzania, but much of his business is concentrated in Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Dodoma and the southern highlands.

John says, “Thanks to ENGINE, I have become an asset to my community.  Without ENGINE, my business wouldn’t be where it is today”.  He now works with other sapling suppliers, helping them to find markets for their product. As a primary component of ENGINE’s design, business development services play a key role in linking enterprises with valuable services, in order to facilitate a strong private sector.

Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition.USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency working to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.