In the last week of September, Startup Grind Dar es Salaam hosted Jeniffer Shigoli, the founder of Malkia Investments Limited, producers of Bubbly detergent, Elea Reusable Pads and Soma chalks. She shared her entrepreneurial story with our community and here is snapshot of it, for those who missed the event.
Jennifer’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Jeniffer epitomises the ‘against-all-odds’ entrepreneur story. She started out in the manufacturing industry in 2012, way before the Industrialisation movement was being pushed by the Government of Tanzania, so as you can imagine, things were not as easy for her as they maybe for those getting into it now and those who will get into in the next few years.
She also did not have a business background; you see Jeniffer is a lawyer, a good one at that, and you can see that in how she set up systems and formal processes in her business. But having no business background meant that Jeniffer had to start from scratch. She went to VETA, SIDO and even travelled to Nairobi to learn all she needed to know about running manufacturing company and making soap.
In 2012, she started Bubbly, with only Tsh 23,000. ($10). Her first batch of soap was packaged in water bottles and she went hawking them around town. Of course she sold them.
Her first big sale
Her first big sale was in partnership with her trainer. The trainer had the material and Jeniffer had the zeal to make her dream happen. The agreement was to split the proceeding two ways. She made the soaps and as a marketing strategy she had a branded tshirt, soap and cards. She got a deal with a hotel in Sinza and supplied them with Tsh 800,000 worth of soap, and the rest is history as we know it.
Malkia Investments and targeted marketing strategies
As a communication specialist, I appreciate good marketing strategies when I see them, and if I did not know Jeniffer any better, I would say that she must have studied Marketing and not Law in University because she has some of the best marketing strategies.
For instance, with Bubbly detergent, Jeniffer started the Choo Salama campaign, a campaign targeting local primary schools in Dar es Salaam. She cleaned primary school toilets with Bubbly soap for free. In no time, the children were sharing with their moms about the detergent that was being used to clean their toilets and moms were buying the detergent. She was able to sell her detergents but also do some good, and because of it, she was recognized by Tanzania Women Achievement Awards (TWAA).
Key takeaways from Jeniffer
- Start small and start with what you have.
- Learn as much as you can and from as many people and places as possible.
- Formalise your business and put systems in place
- As a start-up you may not have a big marketing strategy, you will need to get creative. Be creative!
CHIN UP, you can do it!
Join us for our next event on October 31st, 2017, we’ll be hosting Jumanne Mtambalike (Sahara Ventures).
Also coming up in November is Lilian Makoi (Jamii Africa)
To learn more about starting a business in Tanzania , signup for our online community here www.startupgrind.com/dar-es-salaam