Although taking up the business mantle while studying is challenging, the benefits at times do tend to be worth the hustle. The skill development and income benefits that come with this path help with independence and self-sufficiency for many students.
As days go by, there has been a noticeable increase of establishment of businesses by students, whereas their businesses are both physically and online conducted.
Success Magazine met several university student entrepreneurs in different fields who run successful businesses while pursuing their degrees.
Noreen, a third-year student at the University of Dar es Salaam pursuing a Bachelor of art and development studies, is an accessories business owner who recently opened her first physical store at the Makumbusho Bus Stand after the success of her online store.
She started her business journey in 2019 as a first year student after being complimented on her taste in jewelry by her circle of friends and strangers alike.
“There were times I would be approached to give insight on one’s choice in jewelry. I saw an opportunity to start a business in something I like and make an income,” she says.
Noreen started her business with about Sh300,000 worth of jewelry and with time, she took notice of the growth of her online presence and the profits made.
“Being a student and a businesswoman is difficult but it is worth the risk because I for one have learned many life and entrepreneurial skills. There were plenty of times that I would be called for class and I had to either end the customer’s call or excuse myself from the class to listen to the enquiries,” Noreen says.
For Noreen, she had no prior experience in the business field since she started it based on a passion. However, over time, she began reading and researching on the ways to make an online business successful including how to engage with customers, growing a business through online advertisements and how to profit from the business ‘Reenysoul Accessories’ has now reached about 32,000 followers on Instagram.
Noreen mentions that amongst the challenges she faced in the early stages of her business is earning trust from customers on the legitimacy of her online store due to the belief that people get scammed by online businesses.
Unlike Noreen who is in the jewelry business, Zaituni sells self-made skin and hair products. She is a third year student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in banking finance at the Institute of Finance and Management (IFM).
Growing up, Zaituni has always had a sensitive skin which demanded frequent change of lotions to treat pimples that left scars, challenges that made it difficult for her to maintain a blemish-free skin.
“I developed ‘Ceah skin’ as I was looking for a solution to better my skin condition. ‘Ceah’ comes from an Arabic word which means ‘pure’. It started when I was a field student during my first year. I used some of my time to research plants that could help my skin get better. I then decided to use the knowledge I had gained from the research and made my first lotion,” recalls Zaituni.
When she noticed changes of her skin nourishing, Zaituni started thinking of making an income from her lotion alongside helping other people with skin problems besides herself.
“One of the girls I worked with during the field work had a similar skin problem so I gave her some of my home-made lotion to see how it would react on her skin before proceeding with my business ideation. After two weeks she loved the results of the blend on her skin and asked me to make more of it for her. That is how my business started,” she says.
Zaituni further reveals that she started her business with Sh20, 000 worth of capital and it has brought her profit alongside the exposure of her products countrywide.
She acknowledges the fact that many people produce skin care products. As such, to make her products stand out, she has invested on amplifying the quality of her products that are made of plants, including turmeric, baobab, fenugreek, rosemary and shea butter as well as the packaging.
“Due to my understanding of the sensitivity of my business, I usually ask my customers about their skin types and advise them on the particular products that may work on their skins,” she details.
Zaituni credits her arranged schedule where she is able to juggle between work and studies in a seamless way that doesn’t compromise her performance on either undertaking.
“I advise aspiring students who look at entrepreneurship enviously to understand and accept the challenges that come along with it. It is a challenging activity to take on, but it is aligned with rewarding wealth if conducted right,” she says.
Karen’s online store, Kaydee Stores, sells handbags ordered directly from China and is an escape from financial dependence on her parents. The second year student who is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration at Udsm says that her entrepreneurship journey start
ed when she was an agent of Oriflame, a global cosmetic shop.
“I love to have my own money earned from a business I have developed from scratch. I started my business in July 2020 with not more than Sh250,000 as startup capital that I earned from my friends who were my first customers,” says Karen.
When she informed her parents about the business, they questioned her about the risks that can occur during the shipping process, including getting an incorrect number of bags compared to the ones ordered.
“People have to know that entrepreneurship is different for everyone. It is a rough road with a promising future if it is done right.
I have faced many challenges since I started my business including losing handbags worth Sh400,000 that were shipped from China to Tanzania during the first month of starting my business. That did not stop me from excelling in my entrepreneurship endeavours and performing well in my studies.
This is because I understood that it takes courage, sacrifice and hard work to get to where I want to be,” she says. Karen owns Kaydee Store.
Jane is a third year student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in development studies at the University of Dar es Salaam and an entrepreneur who sells hair bundles shipped from China.
Jane started her entrepreneurship journey selling thrift clothing through an online store in late 2019. Her current business is called ‘Goshen hair palace’ established in late 2020.
“I sold thrift clothes for about a year, but I decided to quit due to the many challenges that seemed unavoidable, including clothes not fitting my customers. I sought advice from my close friends and family on another business to do alongside studying. One good friend who is in business like me advised me to get into the hair business,” she says.
She then did research on the market and the places where hair is produced to better understand the business.
“I have come to realize that when you put effort in your business, it is assured that you will bear fruit,” Jane explains.