Tailors ready to roll after K3.5m bailout

Tailors Association of Malawi (TAM) says it has overcome the financial challenges that nearly killed the group following a K3.5 million bailout.

TAM president Esther Mponya said in an interview on Friday that after going through some economic challenges, FDH Financial Holdings Limited group chief executive officer Thomson Mpinganjira bailed them out, leading to the recovery of the sewing machines.

Mpinganjira: I was inspired by the vision

“The Tailors Association of Malawi was embroiled in financial challenges in the past years where we lost all our sewing machines to a creditor. Mr Mpinganjira paid K3.2 million for the release of the confiscated machines and a further K280 000 for the repair of the machines that were not working after being idle for four years,” she said.

Mponya said Mpinganjira came to the association’s rescue after learning about the financial challenges which affected the income of the association members and their families.

‘’Now we are on sound footing, we have offices in Blantyre and we are running our programmes that include sewing garments for various clients and training of widows to become tailors so that they can support their families,” she said.

In an interview, Mpinganjira said he was moved by the association’s struggles, but was inspired by their vision.

“I was moved by their story and inspired by their vision, especially their emphasis on being self-sustaining and the training for widows. I thought I could make a personal contribution,” he said.

Mponya said the association intends to take advantage of government policies, including the Buy Malawi Strategy (BMS), to grow their business in the next five years and become the provider of low-priced high-quality products.

“The association will engage the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Institute [Smedi] and Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training Authority [Teveta], among others, for opportunities and technical support,” she said.

In the next five years, the association plans to increase the market share to about 30 percent.

“We want to have our own infrastructure at head office and other regional offices in Zomba, Lilongwe, Mzuzu as well as training schools and shops within five years. We also want to open a manufacturing factory in Blantyre and other regions within five years,” she said.

To achieve long-term goals, TAM plans on aggressive marketing, source funds from organisations and commercial lending institutions, profit re-investments and continue with its good supplier intimacy to maintain the sustainable market penetration strategy.

TAM is targeting local and regional markets to sustain its business.

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