By Kamanga Wilbert Kapinga ~ Managing Partner at KW Kapinga & Partners on 06 May 2020Entrepreneurship
A Swahili street slang that means ‘until we make it’ and/or ‘until it all makes sense’ and/or ‘keep your eye on the ball’. The slogan has been at the centre of my personal drive since I started my entrepreneurial journey back in 2016.
Through both steady and unprecedented times this slogan has been the driving force in facing challenges and pushing through hard times.
Our country is not unique in facing this COVID 19 global pandemic. As business owners, we are being hit with the same negative consequential economic effects as faced by those in fellow developing nations. Being a practising corporate lawyer and an inward investment advisor places me at the country’s entry gates exposing me head-on to investor challenges and strategies during this uncertain time.
The act of advising clients to send employees on unpaid leave, forced leave and outright closure of business tends to send a very grim picture on what is going on the ground.
Yet, being at the gateway exposes me to foreign investor interests, and new market entry propositions in the midst of all the economic and logistical challenges. From December 2019 to April 2020 we have set up investment vehicles on the lookout for opportunities in tourism, microfinance, manufacturing and some in relief efforts towards the effects of Covid-19.
The question that comes to mind is ‘What are foreign investors seeing that we as Tanzanians and local business owners are not seeing?’ Should we really be cowering in terror, depressed and paralyzed out of fear, waiting for the storm to settle (until when?) or should we use this time to not only take care of ourselves and those around us but to also re-strategize, seek new growth opportunities and better position ourselves for the brighter days?
The current situation took me back to my employed days when once I had gone three months without a salary during which time I realised I could actually survive running my own business, and thrive. In those months I improved on client relations and found ways to make money on the side by purposefully marketing the broad range of skill sets I had acquired over the years. That was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.
Therefore, this pandemic can be responded to with the same resilience. Why not innovate? Why not think out of the box? Why not tend to the untouched wish list? Why not now?
Should we keep dwelling on the unknown and that which we have no control over? I believe we should face what we do know and improve on what is within our means. That is the spirit of #Mpakakieleweke
With that being said, our firm is pushing our online employment law application www.kazibox.co.tz which allows employees and HR managers alike to easily access essential employment law related resources through a webapp. Since many companies have implemented social distancing policies there has been a huge increase in online communication and administration in the country. We trust we can capitalize on this.
In a more personal capacity, I am chasing my dream to enter the tourism and risk management industries. How crazy is that? Building a beach camp site when there are no tourists to be seen…yet.
Being involved with the risk management firm www.castorvali.com at a time when major projects are on a slowdown has also led to the opening of other opportunities like the issuance of reports and updates on COVID-19 and its impact on business within the East African region. These reports are proving to be of increased significance to corporates keeping an eye on their investments in East Africa.
This in my mind is what the ‘Mpaka Kieleweke’ slogan is all about: taking the bull by the horns and dealing with whatever comes our way as it comes. I honestly believe that in the end the sun will shine, and we will be better positioned to continue the transformation of our beautiful growing nation.
Let us be safe, and let’s keep chasing our dreams as they are all we got.
By Kamanga Wilbert Kapinga ~ Managing Partner at KW Kapinga & Partners