Dar es Salaam — Thirteen Tanzanian entrepreneurs have collectively taken home about Sh85 million in this year's Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards, which were announced at the weekend by the Tanzania Association of Microfinance Institutions (Tamfi).
This year's business competition - which is funded by the Citi Foundation, and coordinated by Tamfi - was linked to the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs-2030), the event organisers announced yesterday.
The 13 winners include the owner of a small dairy processing firm, Ms Ruth Gidion Magawa; the manufacturer of agro-processing machines, Mr Daudi Marko Simfukwe, and the owner-cum-manager of a pharmacy, dispensary and mini-supermarket, Ms Joyce Robert Kalamage.
The three, who occupied the first, second and third places respectively, together won a total of $17,500 (about Sh40.3 million).
Initially, 24 candidates were short-listed for the final round of the 4th Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards (CMA).
The list had been narrowed down from 350 participants, and from which the panel of six judges of high-profile individuals, ranked the winners individually - with the final analysis selecting the 13 winners.
The representative of the judges, Prof Jones Kaleshu, noted that there was a marked innovation in the participating micro-entrepreneurs.
"We saw micro entrepreneurs taking their trade to new innovative levels. With more encouragement, including what CMA awards is doing, it is possible to inspire micro entrepreneurs to grow to new levels and become national and international companies of tomorrow," he said. The chief executive officer for Citibank Tanzania, Mr Geofrey Mchangila, said the CMA programme seeks to recognize the extraordinary contributions that individual micro entrepreneurs have made to the economic stability of their families as well as their communities across Tanzania.
He said the awards have highlighted innovative micro entrepreneurs who are the big enterprises of the future. Supporting and promoting Micro-enterprises was vital for realisation of the UN's seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he said.
"It is very important to increase the access of small-scale enterprises, particularly in developing countries, to financial services to facilitate integration into value chains and markets," he noted.
The CMA has been a signature component of the Citi Foundation's work on financial inclusion for over a decade. Since 2005, the CMA has focused on providing economic empowerment opportunities for micro-entrepreneurs in about 30 countries. The Tamfi board vice chairman, Mr Altemius Millinga - who is also the Yetu Microfinance Bank MD - said the initiative was in line with the national goal of promoting inclusive financial access for the low income people.
"The winners go a long way to showing the masses that prudent borrowing and repayment in business plays a key role in economic development," he said.
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. The foundation invests in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and re-imagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities.