Fighting poverty, one family at a time

Poverty in East Africa is severe, with the majority of people surviving on less than US$2 per day. Aspiring micro-entrepreneurs in Tanzania who want to improve their circumstances have very limited access to micro-finance.

Felista Coutinho and Winnie Terry, founded Tujijenge (which means ‘let’s build ourselves’ in Swahili) in 2006, because they wanted to “improve the lives of families in Tanzania through the provision of micro-finance”. Tujijenge provides micro-financial services to people who have small businesses. They employ their family members and operate in markets or from home.

Despite Tujijenge growing fast, Felista and Winnie could not obtain adequate finance from traditional lenders to develop their business. They approached GroFin in 2008. An initial loan of US$194,685, coupled with hands-on business support from GroFin made it possible for Tujijenge to expand its client base from under 5000 to nearly 12,000 in two years. The company also leveraged GroFin’s expertise to develop its product and service offerings and returned for a second cycle of GroFin funding in 2010.

GroFin disbursed an investment of US$197,775 and continued to support Felistas and Terry to work towards their goal of servicing 50,000 micro-finance clients. At exit in July 2013 Tujijenge’s turnover had increased by nearly US$1 million per year, and earnings had increased by over 500%. As a result of GroFin’s investment, Tujijenge has also increased its staff compliment from 29 to 95 people, and changed the lives of 8,000 micro-entrepreneurs who now have a stable income and the opportunity to secure a better future for generations to come.