Flotea Massawe (pictured left) founded Marvelous Flotea Company Limited, a robust international business trading in craft and textile, in 2005. It was her devotion and determination to succeed that changed her from a housewife to one of Tanzania’s most valued and successful entrepreneur.
Flotea MassaweKnown by her acquaintances as a “fearless woman who does not believe in failure,”Flotea Massawe is an entrepreneur and a motivational speaker who has garnered award through her company-Marvelous Flotea.
Ms Massawwe is chairperson and ambassador of Tanzania Chapter of the African Women Entrepreneurs Programme (AWEP) based in Dar es Salaam.
Ms Massawe exports and manufactures creative beauty textiles and is currently venturing into healthy food processing. She is passionate about women’s healthy,economic empowerment and poverty alleviation at grassroots.
The women consider her as someone worth emulating. Several women entrepreneurs in Dar es salaam consider her as a commendable role model and trough her motivationthey have made progress in their businesses. In an interview with Woman Magazine, Ms Masawe confides, “Over the last 20 years, I have learnt a lot about business development, entrepreneurship and networking.”
Ms Massawe ventures into business two decades ago by joining a group of women dealing in batik in Mkwajuni suburb in Dar es salaam and thereafter she taught her neighbours business skills. “Together with my colleagues we made batik in large numbers and sold to wholesale to shops in Kariakoo,” she said.“It was this stage that I realized that, as women entrepreneurs, we need each other for collective success. This is also something that a good number of women do not appreciate,” she emphasizes. In 1998, through a UNIDO/UNDP sponsorship, set off to Malawi for a three-month training course.
The same year she acquired knowledge in business start-ups, business planning, business expansion, sales and marketing, records keeping, business negotiations, communication skills and business-oriented business.
The training was sponsored by Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany and it helped her understand what to do at what tome when starting and running a business. Ms Massawe is beneficiary of an International Labour Organisation (ILO) training on modern businesses that entailed the basics of marketing.
“After this training I starts getting high class customers,” she says with confidence. A regular exhibitor at the Dar es salaam International Trade Fair (DITF), she prides herself in increasing her business database and collecting direct feedback that has helped her improve her business over time.
She had the opportunity to travel to Accra, Ghana, in 1999 fir training in women in entrepreneurship organized by then Ghana’s First Lady, Nana Rawlings. In the same year she travelled to Uganda for entrepreurship training.
She also went for business exhibition in South Africa organized by Southern Africa development Community (SADC). In 2000 she participated in the Botswana International Trade Fair. Through the Tanzania Confederation of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (TCCIA) she attended a conference on Global Women Investment Forum that was held in Florida, US.
“While in the US, we got opportunity to visit St Thomas University in Miami for meeting on AGOA negotiation trade initiatives where former US President, Clinton addressed the gathering. In 2004 she went to Newcastle University, UK, where she joined fair trade in 2003. She became a member of World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), which she learnet a lot on fair trade practices
In 2004 she went to Connecticut, US, for a one month for training on market readness training with Aid To Artisans(ATA) where she was conected to New York Gift Show for her first time.Ms Massawe admits that the markets in the US are difficult to capture. “The buyers there have to know you first before they buy from you and your master sample must be the same as actual products,” she shares.We had to undergo intensive training for prospective exporter to the US and I am thankful for the EU, Dutch programme for developing countries was awarded the 5 years training with Centre of Promortion of Imports from developing countries (CBI).
I was the only Tanzania who went for the five-year training programme in Netherlands.
During this programme, one is attached to mentor who monitors all aspect of business and products as well as introducing to EU market. Conducting professional business and discipline were the most added values Ms Massawe recalls to have gained in the programme.
In 2009 Ms Massawe participated in the Global Fair Trade Forum in Nepal where she won the design prize of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO).
She has met former Miss USA, Ms Rachel Roy, who designs for Us First Lady, Michelle Obama and together they have forged a cooperation partnership. Her dream is motivate more Tanzanian Women venture into the international market. She warns that in order to do so Tanzanian women entrepreneurs must be disciplined in all aspects of their business.