MKUBWA Tanzania Virtual Business Incubator
Founded in 2009 by the Italian Association for Women Development (AIDOS). Piloted and adapted by Tanzania Gatsby Trust
MKUBWA Tanzania Virtual Business Incubator offers a comprehensive package of services designed to support, facilitate and accelerate the growth of women's entrepreneurship.
In Tanzania 80% of all microenterprises are owned by women. Yet, women face many constraints as entrepreneurs. They have limited exposure, little business orientation, and a lack of education, skills, and business experience. Support services such as trainings are often too expensive or not well targeted to women. The cultural environment is unfriendly to women entrepreneurs. Families are not supportive and women are limited in their possibilities.
Solution and innovation
Virtual Business Incubator promotes the role of rural women in economic development by encouraging them to set up micro- and small enterprises that reach beyond traditional home or gender-based models. We combine virtual incubators, providing services that include specialized technical training and assistance with marketing, and links to funding institutions. We have a flexible approach that combines three main components: 1) a basic entrepreneur and business management training, offered to small groups in convenient spaces; 2) tailor-made, individual technical assistance provided one-on-one, in line with the participants’ specific needs; 3) individualized coaching and mentoring support.
The pilot programme MKUBWA helped 480 women entrepreneurs to improve the quality of their products and create business networks. They facilitated improved access to markets in high potential economic sub-sectors by providing classroom-type, small group, and individual trainings. In the second phase of MKUBWA they supported more than 600 women, of which 140 are living in semi-rural areas. The third phase of the project is currently in development.
“When you start a business, you are like a child, that at first sits, then starts to crawl, then walking and finally running. When I joined MKUBWA, I was just crawling, and now I stood up fully and I am able to run.” Female participant of MKUBWA.
Read more about MKUBWA in the research paper.
Watch the MKUBWA video.