Dr Jesca Mhoja Nkwabi, a Tanzanian serial entrepreneur with a big vision — Lionesses of Africa

Dr Jesca is also a strong research professional with a master’s degree focused on international business and finance from De Montfort University and a Doctorate in business administration from the University of the West of Scotland. In addition to her many business endeavours, she is also passionate about helping youth on their entrepreneurial journeys. Dr Jesca is actively involved in initiatives that promote entrepreneurial activities among women. She serves as the Chairperson of Young Women Entrepreneurs and is also a member of Women Power Africa and Women Empowerment Network. Most recently she received an award as the Manufacturing Founder of the Year under 30 category. She has also been featured in the Rising Woman Initiative by Citizen and was recognised as the Tanzanian She Hero in 2021.

Lioness Weekender spoke to serial entrepreneur, Dr Jesca Mhoja Nkwabi, about her business growth journey and her aspirations for the future.

What does your company do?

Kahama Oil Mills Ltd is one of the few inspirational stories about a business that started from humble beginnings to scale the heights of success through hard work, focus and a ‘never say die’ attitude. This is a story that deserves to be read and told to generations of the future. The company deals with ginning cotton, processing cotton and sunflower seeds to edible oil and its by-products are sold as animal feeds. KOM also manufacture’s industrial goods such as:- PVC poly pipes and fittings widely used in water piping, sanitation, and conduits for industrial use, steel tubes, which produce round and square pipes used in building and other large installations in various commercial, domestic, and industrial facilities aluminum fabrication for production of galvanized and colored iron sheets used in roofing and other covers. Plastic pails/jerry-can manufacture which are used in packaging for edible cooking oil in various sizes and shapes from 5 liters, 10 liters to 20 liters. IPS plastic furniture/utensils where a variety of goods are produced ranging from chairs, tables, kitchen ware used in homes and offices or hospitality amenities in their various shapes and sizes. In addition, KOM owns a pharmacy, supermarket, bakery, and restaurant. As a known industry leader, we’re used to working with all types of customers – local or global, large or small. Exceptional quality is the foundation of our company and is the driving force behind all decisions; whether it’s which materials to purchase or the best way to serve our customers. We work in a highly competitive field, so we’re constantly investing in technology and research to make sure we stay ahead of the curve. Our commitment to quality guarantees our success and your satisfaction.

What inspired you to start your company?

KOM was started to cater for the needs of our customers in Kahama. In previous years, customers had to wait for products to come from Dar es Salaam.

Why should anyone use your service or product?

KOM offers products which meet the customer demands. We pride ourselves on providing customers with good quality products at an affordable price. Our products stand out when compared to our competitors. We do not compromise on quality.

Tell us a little about your team

KOM has a team of around 200-400 employees. We have a highly diversified team who oversee our operations across 26 regions in Tanzania.

Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And do you come from an entrepreneurial background?

I learnt a lot from both my parents, my late mom always pushed me to love entrepreneurship and to challenge myself to grow as a person. My father runs several businesses, he is extremely hardworking and has an entrepreneurial spirit. He is my role model and I learn a lot from him every day. From a young age, I was taught the value of hard work and staying resilient. In recognizing my passion for entrepreneurship, I was sent to business schools in India and the United Kingdom to hone my knowledge and skills in business. Apart from working in the family business. I also have a small consultancy business, Frazmo Consultancy, which provides consultancy services in education, business, research, investment, and recruitment. Frazmo Consultancy mainly aims to help students to get into good universities abroad. We also provide research consultancy services to undergraduate, masters and postgraduate students. We also assist entrepreneurs with investment ideas and writing business proposals. I’m also passionate about promoting entrepreneurship among young women like myself. Through the young women initiative along with other volunteers we are able to conduct entrepreneurial workshops to help guide young women on ways to start businesses in various sectors in Tanzania.

What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?

To be the leading local manufacturing and supplier company for industrial products related to aluminum profiles, HDPE and PVC products, polypropylene- plastics goods, steel tubes products and Agro-processing products, edible cooking oil from sunflower and cotton. In addition to continue to provide high quality products and services to our various customers.

What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?

As an entrepreneur being able to provide solutions to my customers gives me the most satisfaction. Seeing our products and services meeting customer expectations motivates us to find more innovative solutions to keep our customer needs met despite the market dynamics.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?

My advice for aspiring women entrepreneur’s is to identify what you are good at and turn your passion into business. You can begin by exploring problems that you are facing and which your community is experiencing and come up with a solution to resolve the issues. Invest time researching and exploring ideas and writing these down in a business plan to be able to start, manage and grow your business. Having a sound business plan increases your chances of getting external funds but also growing your business by being able to track the progress of the goals. Entrepreneurship is a process it won’t always be easy but through resilience it can be done, and you can scale your business to greater heights.

To find out more, contact Dr Jesca Mhoja Nkwabi at KOM Group via email: JESYONCY77@GMAIL.COM or visit the website:  https://www.komgroupnet.co.tz

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