The Trestle Group Foundation operates on the principle that empowering women entrepreneurs in emerging markets drives economic development, growth, and social progress. Our most recent partnership program in Tanzania illustrates first-hand the impact of working with women at every stage of the entrepreneurial journey.
In connection with Equity Bank and Swisscontact, Trestle Group Foundation and Credit Suisse have teamed up for the second year. Four high-potential or high-performing flagship entrepreneurs have been paired with executive support from Credit Suisse. Through Equity Bank, 500 women will have access to early-stage training. The program links executive expertise, financial capital, networks and resources, building a sustainable community of women entrepreneurs across Tanzania.
From a small retailer in Mwanza to a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader servicing private jets from Kilimanjaro International Airport, an architect-turned-developer to heavy investment in stone crushing for concrete aggregate, this year’s flagship entrepreneurs demonstrate courage and commitment as they grow their businesses.
Trestle Group Foundation and four Credit Suisse executives traveled this month to Tanzania for field visits to the businesses:
Mwanahawa Maporo runs Pink’s Quality Collections, a small ladies’ clothing retail shop on a central street in Mwanza Town. Though her background and training are as a journalist, Mwanahawa has a vision, and is committed that her clothing shop will expand to the new shopping mall in town. She needs a solid small-business infrastructure in place. Mwanahawa is paired with Credit Suisse Vice President Anne Inderbitzin (pictured at right).
Getrude Mahity started out with a small bar-b-que and bar on a dirt road near Mwanza Town. Now she has over seventy full-time employees and has invested heavily in 20 acres of land outside Mwanza for a stone crushing operation. The equipment was recently imported from China. Getrude’s team seeks strategic advice as they launch the new business. She’s poised to create jobs and build infrastructure. Her Credit Suisse team lead is Marion Schmid (pictured with Gertrude here).
Of the team’s visit, Getrude said, “Your visit is a miracle to us! We are so young a company having an Executive delegation visit from outside Africa. We thank God for bringing you around, that our plan comes to reality.”
Subira Mchumo has run an architecture practice in Dar es Salaam for over a decade. Now she’s transitioning into real estate development, starting with an apartment building in a busy commuter suburb just outside town. Subira’s meetings with Credit Suisse and Equity Bank executives have highlighted the need for documented clarity around her business model and vision. The team will work together with her to document these, under the leadership of Credit Suisse’s Sylvia Kunnos (far left with Subira and the group at right).
Susan Mashibe dreamed of being a pilot for Delta airlines. After September 11, 2001 she found herself returning to Tanzania as the first female dual certified pilot and aviation mechanic. Her company, VIA Aviation, services private jets and is in rapid growth mode, with plans to expand to 20 countries in Africa. Susan will work with the team to establish decision-making criteria to evaluate incoming offers and opportunities. A Credit Suisse team will work with her on her business plan, and numerous networking connections will move her toward valuation of her business. Here Susan is pictured in Dar es Salaam with her Credit Suisse counterpart, Louisa Freer.
Susan will also be featured in Zurich during Credit Suisse’s programming for International Women’s Day.
Susan’s reaction to our first team call was, “I’ve been on a lot of these types of programs, and this one fills an unserved need I want you to know it’s important work.”
For the team at Credit Suisse, the program provides a rich and rewarding internal networking opportunity. Team members will come from across functions and organizational divisions to work together for the first time. It’s a skills-based volunteering engagement that gives back.
Cinzia De Martin Bär, Credit Suisse Diversity & Inclusion Switzerland, said, “Our employees -the coaches – are so excited and I really think it has to do with the great time they spent in Tanzania working together to support the women entrepreneurs. They are having the time of their life, which of course makes us happy too.”
Turns out empowering women entrepreneurs in emerging markets empowers women executives in Zurich, too.