“I love betting on women,” says Sherifah Tumusiime. This incredible Ugandan entrepreneur has a long list of accomplishments. Among them, she earned computer science degree from Makerere University, she was inaugurated as a Mandela Washington Fellow within a leadership program initiated by former US President Barack Obama, and she founded Uganda’s first online baby store. Many would agree, though, that her greatest accomplishment yet is her creation of the group Zimba Women. The group is all about betting on sub-Saharan African women and helping them change their lives for the better through technology and entrepreneurship.
Sherifah started Zimba Women because she knew that millions of women’s products would never be seen. With her technology skills, she was able to start an online business and become a successful entrepreneur. She wanted to help other African women achieve that dream as well. Sherifah started Zimba Women in 2014 with a team of similarly driven entrepreneurial African women: Stella Nassali, Peace Kuteesa, and Elizabeth Kasujja. They started by working with just a handful of businesses and they now help hundreds. They eventually hope to help thousands of women create and build thriving businesses.
Women who participate in Zimba Women receive entrepreneurship training, mentorship, business coaching, and access to a wealth of resources and a large network. Zimba Women operates with the core values of creativity & diversity, commitment to community & Ubuntu, and legacy. The ultimate goal is that the women who go through the program “will be able to enjoy the benefits for a lifetime.” As women are the cornerstone of African economic development, what is good for the female entrepreneurs of Zimba Women will also be good for Africa.
Among the businesses that Zimba Women has helped is Neza Fashion Hub. Zimba Woman taught owner Vanessa Ntezi how to use social media to boost her sales. “In 2017,” Ntezi says, “I am projecting about 10 percent of my sales coming from online.”
In addition to working directly with women hoping to start or build businesses, Zimba Women regularly puts on events. Past events have included a Technology for Business Summit and a Women in IT conference. They maintain an active presence on both Facebook and Twitter as well, allowing people from all around the world to learn and gain inspiration.
Through Zimba Women, Sherifah is betting on women by giving them the tools to thrive as entrepreneurs. She’s also betting on herself by continuing to run a successful e-commerce store. Her next act? She suspects she’ll eventually bet on women quite literally, by becoming an angel investor.