Dr Jesca Mhoja Nkwabi comes from a family of entrepreneurs in Tanzania. Her family has been involved in business for over 20 years. Therefore, ending up as a businesswoman did not come as a surprise to her.
According to Nkwabi, her late mother shaped her love for entrepreneurship and also challenged her to always improve herself. On the other hand, her mentor and father run multiple businesses. She even interned in one of her father’s small shops which expanded her interest in business and how businesses work, including sales management, customer service and accounting.
This led her to study business, focusing on supply management. She went on to obtain a master’s degree in Business Administration at the De Monfort University in Leincester, England. She also pursued a Doctorate in Business Administration at the University of the West of Scotland in London.
“From a young age, I was taught the value of hard work and staying resilient. In recognizing my passion for entrepreneurship, I was sent to business schools in India and the United Kingdom to hone my knowledge and skills in business,” she told Lionessessofafrica.
Today, Nkwabi serves as the CEO of the family business KOM Group of companies which is in oil processing and industrial manufacturing. She is also the director of KOM Food Products which specialised in food processing.
One of her subsidiaries, Kahama Oil Mills Ltd, which started from humble beginnings deals with ginning cotton, processing cotton and sunflower seeds to edible oil and its by-products are sold as animal feeds.
The businesswoman, entrepreneur and business consultant said KOM Group was started to cater for the needs of our customers in Kahama. According to her, in previous years, customers had to wait for products to come from Dar es Salaam.
Today, KOM has a staff strength of around 200-400 employees and has diverse operations in 26 regions of Tanzania. On the side, Nkwabi runs a small consultancy business, Frazmo Consultancy, which provides consultancy services in education, business, research, investment, and recruitment.
“Frazmo Consultancy mainly aims to help students to get into good universities abroad. We also provide research consultancy services to undergraduate, master’s and postgraduate students,” she told the Lionessessofafrica.
“We also assist entrepreneurs with investment ideas and writing business proposals. I’m also passionate about promoting entrepreneurship among young women like myself. Through the young women initiative along with other volunteers, we are able to conduct entrepreneurial workshops to help guide young women on ways to start businesses in various sectors in Tanzania.”
Nkwabi says being in a business has not been easy, she tells The Citizen that she has faced many business-related challenges but has always relied on her father for support. According to her, one of the challenges she faced early days in her leadership position was people doubting her leadership capabilities.
For young women who want to start their own business, Nkwabi’s advice is that identify what you are good at and turn your passion into a business.