By Mark Kawalya
Zimba Women is a start-up that gives capacity building to women in tech, engineering, mathematics and science. The firm works towards establishing an environment where women entrepreneurs can thrive in using technology. The firm also organizes trainings, networking and resource sharing activities for its members, as well as opening up market access using information technology. All this is aimed at fostering growth.
A mentoring relationship is beneficial for both the mentee and the mentor in various ways. New skills are built while new professional relationships are established, often with people in other parts of the country (via video sessions). Additionally, women are set on a journey to attaining financial independence, which helps them take control of their lives and gives them a voice to stand against gender discrimination and injustices.
Zimba was co-founded by Stella Nassali and Sherifah Tumusiime along with two other partners, after Sherifah who was running a failing baby clothes business, used a Facebook group run by Stella, which enabled her to revive her business and clear all her stock. This was an eye-opener for the four of them, showing that the digital space held tremendous opportunities that could benefit many women.
“The power of IT cannot be avoided in business as it is today. The fact that it increases efficiency while allowing one to achieve more results than they would have otherwise. Zimba has established a socio-economic-conscious business environment that includes the full support of women entrepreneurs that will potentially bring millions out of poverty and help reduce the gender income gap,” says Stella Nassali.
Zimba has reached more than 5000 individuals through its trainings, mentorship programs and entrepreneurship initiatives, along with its annual business summit. One of the beneficiaries is Eseza Mulyagonja who took her clothing business into the digital space after running a brick-and-mortar operation for three years.
“Some time ago, we had 30 girls graduate from a project we had in Kawempe. We were doing computer skills training for the girls, along with other skills training in professions such as mechanics, welding, and driving, among others. Mary Helda Akongo, the operations manager for Zimba Women, “Besides that, we also did an eight-week training where 50 women graduated in partnership with Funzi, an online program,” she adds.
Zimba Women encourages women to create and take up opportunities so they can actively participate in the economy by fostering skilling and training for women. A core belief at the firm is that a robust economy is dependent on the equal participation of women, who need to take on greater leadership roles in business.