Updated: May 30, 2022
Six months ago, Branice Tatu started the RISE Fellowship with an idea, and used the seed funding and mentorship provided by RISE by Sundara to create a social enterprise from scratch. Since then, Branice has been able to provide full-time employment for 12 women, enable six communities to purchase soap and has created a sustainable self-sustaining enterprise that will allow her community to prevent illnesses for many years to come.
Continue reading below to learn more about Branice and the impact that our RISE community has had on her work.
"What does becoming a RISE Fellow mean to you?"
I joined RISE by Sundara last year as an early-stage entrepreneur who had a big idea. RISE saw my vision and provided my business with the seed funding and mentorship that I required to turn my dream into a reality. By becoming a RISE Fellow, I have employed 12 women to produce and sell over 400 litres of multipurpose soap, supporting our community to wash their hands and prevent illnesses including COVID-19.
RISE has been our biggest supporter and has ensured that we have all the resources that we need to thrive. We have received mentorship from:
Erin Doppelt on how to use social media to make our business boom.
Phil Pradere on Public Speaking
Meena Mirpuri on finding our Unique Selling Point (USP)
Sunwoo Sophia on our Sales Mastery - enabling my team to keep our business on track.
Megan Fahey on marketing strategies to better our business.
The RISE by Sundara Team on fundraising strategies.
The mentorship program has supported my team to overcome hurdles that we have experienced since setting up our soap making social enterprise 6 months ago.
"Since the beginning of your fellowship, how many lives have you been able to impact?"
Since I joined RISE, I have been able to impact +200 lives. The Uwezo Women Project (UWP) has employed 12 women, many of whom are survivors of gender-based violence and teenage mothers. The UWP has provided the women with dignified employment that makes a difference as well as a supportive team and environment to work in.
We have trained +52 women to make soap, taught 50 children to wash their hands properly, provided 34 families with access to sanitary bins (to dispose of pads) and we have reached over 150 families with affordable multipurpose liquid soap. On top of our sales, we have also donated 50 litres of multipurpose soap to Bishop Locati children’s home (an orphanage in Juja).
"What was the community’s access to soap like before the fellowship and how has that changed over the past 6 months?"
Last year, my community did not understand the importance of using soap and the majority of people felt that soap was unaffordable due to hiked price of soap in the supermarkets following the COVID-19 pandemic. As we work in marginalized communities, families were unable to prioritize soap and therefore, they would struggle to prevent serious illnesses.
6 months later, we have reached over 150 families in six communities and taught them about the importance of using soap. As our product is locally made by women from our community, we have been able to sell our soap at a price that is affordable soap to the community whilst still maintaining a profit to make our social enterprise sustainable. We also travel to other low-income communities nearby with our soap to make sure that they can access hygiene supplies too.
"How has the fellowship supported your confidence as an entrepreneur?"
Even being selected to become a RISE Fellow improved my confidence, both in myself and the work that we do. I have been given so many opportunities and I am grateful that people from a different country cares about the challenges that my community is facing. RISE provided me with the opportunity to speak to their RISE100 committee which sharpened my public speaking skills and allowed provided me with a platform to talk about my project to more people across the world.
"How do you think you have inspired other young girls in Kenya?"
I have met many young girls through my work who now understand that through hard work and determination, they too will be able to make a big difference in our community. I know that other young girls from Kenya will read the blog posts on Sundara’s website and will feel inspired that people hear our struggles and will support us to overcome them. The women who I employ are motivated and inspired to bring about change and we cannot wait to eradicate preventable illnesses in Juja.
"What is your vision for the future of the Uwezo Women Project?"
I plan to partner with the hotel industry, hospitals and supermarkets in order to increase our sales so that we can employ more women. I hope that through expanding our business we can move our workshop into a bigger location, so that we can employ more women and make more soap, ensuring that money is not a factor in our community's decision for purchasing soap.
"Is there anything else that you would like to share?"
I would like to share my appreciation for all of my mentors and the donors who have made my fellowship a success. I really appreciate the endless amount of work that has gone into supporting my initiative and I am who I am today because of the support that I have received. I cannot express my gratitude enough. I am inspired every day by the RISE team and I hope in the future that I can support early-stage female entrepreneurs using the wisdom that I have learnt.