For many women entrepreneurs, thinking big can be daunting in business, but for Malawian entrepreneur, Jetto Myaba, Managing Director of Mwaya Enterprises, having a big vision is all part of the journey.
What does your company do?
We are into three business lines - firstly, we are a distributor of Southern Bottlers Limited and Chibuku products; secondly, we supply imported electronics and groceries to Indian traders and big supermarkets; and thirdly, we buy and sell agricultural produce.
What inspired you to start your company?
I was brought up in a business oriented family and my parents have been committed business people who have been running maize mills, trucks and a farm. This inspired me to venture into my own business, but with a different focus.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Our business strategy and focus is based on the following principles, and it makes a difference with other players - good pricing of our products; superior customer care; offering of high quality products; and timely delivery of products to our clients.
Tell us a little about your team
There are about 30 people in the business comprising of the Managing Director, Accountant, Internal Auditor, Sales Team, Shop and Warehouse Assistance and Security Guards. We have been with the team for quite a while and it’s a very committed and exciting workforce. We are not yet unionized but any grievances are dealt with through our open door policy.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
To become an entrepreneur is not an easy thing, just like a graph which can move upwards or downwards. There are a lot of challenges which we have experienced on our journey to became what we are now. These challenges range from capital inadequacy, competition, sometimes issues to do with access of forex when importing goods, abnormal taxes when clearing goods with MRA, loss of goods while in transit, delayed payments from our clients, depreciation of our local currency, etc. In addition, especially regarding our agri-business line, produce tends to lose value while searching for markets, and in our distributorship business we are mostly affected with low production of products which means our margins drop and we do not have enough stocks to meet the demand of our clients. Sometimes the quality of products is poor which means that our customer satisfaction is usually compromised and hence having a direct impact on our profits. Despite the many challenges which we have experienced over the years, we have remained strong and we do not see ourselves quitting. Our business is big and we aim high to top the chart in the market. I come from an entrepreneurial background as my parents have been in the business for quite a while and we emulated the same approach to business from our parents over the years.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We are dreaming big as a business and we have the following plans in our minds to ensure our business grows to the level of market leaders in the industry in which we are operating. This includes having our own plants and brewery so that we can empower other women to join the distributorship business. Also to have a manufacturing company producing milk, margarine, cooking oil, and a grain mill, as some other companies are doing. We would also want to export the products elsewhere.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I have been able to send our children to good schools in our country; to own business premises shops and warehouses; to build my own houses with Capital City Lilongwe; and to buy personal cars and trucks for easy distribution of produce and various other products.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Women should not undermine themselves and their capacities. They should have a hardworking spirit as hard work pays. They should not give up if their businesses fail or are not doing well. They should rise and stand up for their businesses. And, of course, they should have passion for their businesses and clear goals.
Source: Lionesses of Africa