A Day in the Life: Supporting Store Owners in Mozambique

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the daily activities of Érica Muarramuassa, a TechnoServe associate business advisor who works with store owners in Mozambique.

Today we’re sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the daily activities of Érica Muarramuassa, a TechnoServe associate business advisor in Mozambique.

Associate business advisors are responsible for identifying, recruiting, and training entrepreneurs, such as the store owners Érica works to support. Associate business advisors facilitate workshops, networking among entrepreneurs,  and mentoring sessions in business skills, financial literacy, and gender awareness. To do so, they work closely with local communities, women and youth entrepreneurs, and public and private sector partners. Read on to learn more about how associate business advisors like Érica Muarramuassa support TechnoServe’s mission of fighting poverty by helping people build regenerative farms, businesses, and markets that increase incomes.

Érica Muarramuassa is a 24-year-old business advisor based in Nampula, Mozambique. She has been working as a TechnoServe associate business advisor for two years. Prior to joining TechnoServe, Érica worked as a junior business advisor in the field of agriculture for other projects and has led a team of seven young people in community work. She decided to join TechnoServe because of her passion for business and because she saw an opportunity to help women and young people like herself increase their income and improve the quality of life of their families.

Érica focuses on improving the competencies and skills in business management of micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and shares tools to train business development and extension service providers. She works with TechnoServe on FTF Premier-Oholo (PRO), a consortium between Feed the Future Mozambique Promoting Innovative and Resilient Agriculture Market Systems Activity (FTF Premier) and Oholo – Supporting Development of Business. FTF Premier – Oholo (PRO) is a $32.2 million project implemented over 5 years, with joint collaboration between USAID ($25.5 million) and SDC ($6.7 million) for the final 3.5 years. 

Érica (front, center) at a gender workshop

A day in the life of Érica Muarramuassa

7 a.m. I leave the house and start walking to the TechnoServe office. The journey usually takes no more than 40 minutes since I live close by. 

8 a.m. to 9 a.m. When I arrive at the office, I start by getting up to date on my emails and my calendar.

9 a.m. to 10 a.m. After reading the emails and reviewing my calendar, I review the daily targets and work plans in advance of my field visits and training sessions. I also take a look at the project work plan and ensure we are on target to meet the deadlines that have been set.

Before heading out to the field, I prepare the materials needed for the fieldwork, which often includes flipcharts, handouts, projectors, and other materials for the training sessions.

10 a.m. Once I have reviewed work plans and prepared materials, I leave for the field.

Érica facilitating an entrepreneurial coaching session
Érica facilitating an entrepreneurial coaching session

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Today, I’m giving a coaching session to a store owner I have previously met with. I follow up with the store owners to give them a chance to ask questions about topics we covered in previous sessions. Today’s session is on how to identify growth opportunities and intelligently invest in the business.

Most of the stores we serve are within 45 minutes of the TechnoServe office. Other field visits may focus on assessing store owners’ adoption of best practices or facilitating counseling sessions in the training room.

1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. My colleagues from the field – another associate business advisor and the driver – and I take a break for lunch. We talk about what is going well and what could be improved. 

1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. This afternoon, I’m leading a group training called Successful Businesses and Thriving Families, where store owners come to the session with their spouse. Throughout the sessions, I facilitate group discussions and make space for people to share their experiences and ask questions.

Our training sessions consist of four modules. In Module 1, Knowing my business, we address what prevents our companies from growing, the success triangle which talks about the crucial elements for a successful business which are (the entrepreneur, the opportunity, the resources), the Canvas model which talks about the current business model of entrepreneurs and how we can improve this model, and the installed capacity which talks about how much you can produce with your current resources and how you can have more results with fewer resources.

In Module 2, The Financial Health of My Business, we discuss the company’s earnings from each product and service, the money it needs to continue operating each month, the minimum amount it must sell to make a profit, and whether the company makes a profit or a loss. 

Module 3 is called Strategies for Growth, in which we teach Ansoff’s Matrix and Decision Matrix and analyze how the business model would change with the growth plan we choose. 

Finally, we discuss Module 4, Smart Investing, where we discuss the five steps to smart investing and sources of finance. Each module is two hours long and lasts for three months. We also have workshops facilitated jointly with subject matter experts, on topics such as gender, marketing strategies, business formalization and taxes, business planning, financial education, and access to finance.

Érica speaking with a store owner
Érica speaking with a store owner

3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. After facilitating the group training session, I dedicate an hour to training business development and extension service providers in facilitation skills and coaching.

5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. I go back to the office and it takes me 30 minutes to check that I’ve completed my daily deliveries.

5:30 p.m. I return home after a day in the field, feeling grateful that I get to see the positive impact the PRO program is having on our clients. I also feel professionally more experienced and can be an example to many other young people in my country.