Monthly Archives

February 2014

Trestle Group Foundation & Credit Suisse Empower Tanzanian Women Entrepreneurs

By | News, Rebecca Self

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.

Mwanahawa Maporo & Anne Inderbitzin

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 & Marion Schmid
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 w/group

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 & Louisa Freer

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.

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Trestle Group Foundation Welcomes New Strategic Advisor Marcia Ayacaba

By | News

Zurich, Switzerland – 24 February 2014 – Trestle Group Foundation (TGF) today announced the addition of new strategic advisor Marcia Ayacaba to the Foundation’s team.


“I am passionate about creating environments where business and people can thrive,” said Ayacaba. “Collaborating with the Foundation was an obvious step for me, she continued. “TGF programs comprise all that I believe in, joining the power, scale and talent pool of corporations with the spirit, vision and drive of entrepreneurs with the purpose of supporting the one economical group (working women) that, if empowered, can truly bring about transformation in the world.”

Marcia has extensive international corporate experience managing cross-functional and multi-cultural teams, which is the pillar for her consulting work on inclusiveness and facilitation.Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, United States, Marcia is the co-owner of BizFoundry Inc.– a boutique management-consulting firm.

Marcia’s corporate career includes expertise in supply chain management facilitation, capability development, trade marketing and finance, both for Fortune 50 FMCG and luxury goods companies.

While at PepsiCo, Marcia invested significant time in several programs to benefit individuals’ health, wellness and impact. She focused on topics including work-life balance, sustainability, diversity and inclusion. Marcia received a Diversity and Inclusion Award for her groundbreaking work around women representation and cross-functional collaboration.

“We are very please to welcome Marcia to the team,” said Dana Brice Smith, Trestle Group Foundation Co-Founder & Managing Director. “We were fortunate to work directly with Marcia on our first partnership program with PepsiCo Europe that supported entrepreneur Rana El-Akhal and her Jordan-based Medal Consulting,” he continued. “She understands first-hand the benefit of delivering shared value by engaging leading organisations to help empower women entrepreneurs in emerging economies.”

Prior to BizFoundry Inc. and PepsiCo, Marcia worked for Bvlgari in Switzerland as a trade-marketing specialist for the accessories division. She lived the fast-paced fashion world life, circling the globe to curate custom assortments and organise showrooms in Paris and Milan to present collections to international buyers.