Jessica Mshama

Age: 23 • Entrepreneur • Tanzania

Jessica Mshama is an inspiring Tanzanian young entrepreneur. When her parents gave her an opportunity to study abroad like her siblings, she declined the offer as she wanted to stay closer to home to revive their then unstable businesses. Since taking over the family business, she has successfully restructured the business and made profit for the many companies she manages. Read on to find out more about her motivation and her passion projects she is working on.

1. Tell us more about your business and how did you start?

My business began four years ago, when my two sisters (Jackie and Juliana) and I decided to start our shop “J Sisters Shop” – a mini super-market. It is all under God’s grace that the shop sprouted the farms and the wealthy lifestyle business which I am operating as CEO. The journey has not been easy, but with every step ahead, it shapes me to be a better leader and a better version of myself.

2. You are into agribusiness, beauty and food processing. How do you balance all these three areas?

Well, it all begins with passion. Since my childhood, I have always wanted to be a business woman. The urge to start my own business grew each year, this was then my motive for enrolling for a bachelor’s degree in business administration at university. How I balance it all is mainly because I am doing something I love. I am fascinated by beauty and the agriculture aspect brings creativity into my business. So basically, the secret behind my motivation is not money, but rather about me enjoying what I do.

3. As a young entrepreneur, how do you equip yourself with knowledge to build a thriving business?

May I say that I am not the first young person to do big things. I acknowledge all the young girls and boys out there who are putting in significant effort to reach their dreams. On my side, I am thankful that my parents and family have always had my back and that has helped me to build a business with a good foundation. But above all, I pray and let God lead the way. This lightens the burden along the way. I acknowledge God for my wisdom and knowledge.

4. How does one build a sustainable business?

Building a business is no easy feat, there are lots of mountains to climb, it doesn’t hurt if what you are doing is your passion as you have fun while working, hence it doesn’t feel like a chore. Challenges encountered become life lessons as opposed to circumstances that break you down. From my point of view, the only way to build a sustainable business is to first do what you love and being persistent at it. Carry out research in the industry you want to start a business in, this can be of real value when starting.

5. How do you go about setting your business apart from competitors

The ways that help me survive competition out there is first by trying to be as creative as possible. For instance, there are many beauty parlours, however with our company Wealthy Style, we leverage on what the customers want. I pay attention to new ideas from my team, this is the main reason why I am holding on, regardless of strong competition out there.

6. Forbes recognized your effort this year, although you did not get selected in the final round – what does this mean to you?

I did not make it to the list, but I passed the first stage. What it means to me is “possibility”. Everything is possible as long as you put all your effort into it. I may not have made it to the list and magazine, but I know sooner or later I will. My focus right now is playing a role in my society to have a positive contribution to the youth. I would love to introduce my current project “Nakua na Taifa Langu” may I alert you to stay tuned and keep our hearts ready for helping children and everyone in the society “SMILE” Please follow me on social media for more details.