Theresia Numbe, legal advocate and founder of Lighthouse Legal Clinic, stands as a beacon of light for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Tanzania. The woman-led Lighthouse Clinic she founded provides legal services to small business owners, farmers, and entrepreneurs with a team of six lawyers and advocates with expertise in international business, commercial rights, and general law. Theresia describes Lighthouse as a “one-stop shop” where SMEs can receive guidance for business-related legal issues at a subsidized cost. Lighthouse is unique in the local legal sector because similar organizations or clinics only provide counsel on civil and political rights; whereas Lighthouse informs individual businesses and companies on economic rights.
During her Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) fellowship at Florida International University in 2014, Theresia started strengthening her business and legal skills through coursework and engagement with university staff.
In late October 2017, Africa Lead facilitated meetings between Theresia and the USDA-funded Agribusiness Investment for Market Stimulation (AIMS) project and USAID’s Enabling Growth through Investment and Enterprise (ENGINE) project to discuss Theresia’s potential role as a business development service (BDS) provider to youth entrepreneurs under the projects. The role will increase her exposure and client list from the SME community in Tanzania. Africa Lead plans to help secure Theresia as a BDS with USAID-funded projects this month. Theresia also met Africa Lead-supported youth entrepreneur Simon Malugu to discuss legal requirements for exporting egg incubators to Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya.
Theresia and Simon Malugu speak with Africa Lead about Theresia’s support for other youth. Photo credit: Africa Lead
In supporting the expansion of Lighthouse and exploring investment opportunities in Tanzania, Africa Lead will link Theresia with donor-funded projects, such as the USAID’s Youth Economic Empowerment (YEE) project, private sector investors, investment banks and training centers, including the Private Agricultural Sector Support Trust (PASS) and the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB). Africa Lead will also support Theresia to improve her presentation skills to donors, government officials, and the private sector to increase investment and collaboration opportunities.
Through Africa Lead, a technical agribusiness consultant is helping Theresia develop a five-year sustainability plan that includes NGO objectives, growth strategy, risk analysis, financial plan and projections, marketing and communications plan, and action planning for the next year. The consultant has identified a mentor for Theresia and business associations with which she can engage in Dar es Salaam.
“Africa Lead and the technical consultant have opened my eyes about how Lighthouse Legal Clinic can improve [its] operations, management, and planning skills. We are a young organization that is extremely motivated and the technical support has been beneficial for focusing our energy and attention on strategic areas that will allow us to reach more SMEs and entrepreneurs,” said Theresia. Over the next month, Africa Lead will support Theresia to develop marketing and communications products for her organization and finalize her sustainability plan.