Meet Anabela Amosse: Agent, Businesswoman, Dreamer
Soon after opening her takeaway business in Maputo, Mozambique, Anabela Amosse realized that she was losing potential customers who could only pay using a mobile phone-based service. Seeing an opportunity to earn additional income and reach new customers, she decided to become an agent. Through her participation in a TechnoServe entrepreneurship course, Anabela learned how to best manage both businesses, increasing her overall income by 220%.
Anabela Amosse is a dreamer. She is also an entrepreneur.
“In the beginning, I didn’t have any support from anybody,” she explains. “I did everything on my own and I never gave up doing business — so much so that today I’m a reference in my neighborhood when it comes to fast food.”
Anabela lives in Maputo, Mozambique. She started doing business in 2010 when she was just 22 years old, opening a mini-grocery store in the T3 neighborhood of Maputo. However, after a while, she realized that the grocery store was not profitable and decided to change course by opening a takeaway — a take-out business with a small kitchen that offers simple meals (hamburgers, chicken and fries, sandwiches) with no seating.
“I decided to open a takeaway not only because it’s more profitable than the grocery store when you have little capital to invest, but also to challenge myself as an entrepreneur,” Anabela explains with a smile.
Today, she says she feels very happy and fulfilled in her current takeaway business.
Within two years of opening the takeaway, Anabela decided to become an M-Pesa agent. M-Pesa is a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing, and microfinancing service. Initially, she wanted to become an agent to facilitate payments with her existing customers and to attract new customers to her takeaway with this added service.
“Sometimes customers wanted to buy something, but only had a balance on M-Pesa,” she says. “I noticed that I was losing many potential customers.”
Although she was already an agent and performing well in her takeaway business, when Anabela heard about an entrepreneurship training course through the Business Women Connect program, she was interested in learning more. Business Women Connect is a partnership between TechnoServe and the ExxonMobil Foundation; the program has developed a five-month course for women entrepreneurs to learn better business skills and how to be more effective financial service providers. Anabela saw the course as a unique opportunity to learn how to better run her business and become a better financial service agent.
“Before attending the training, I just wanted to be an agent so as not to lose clients,” she admits. “I didn’t see any advantage in terms of profit.”
As part of the course, Anabela learned the importance of separating her agency banking money, her business money, and her personal funds — including personal expenses she made on behalf of the business. This allowed her to control and understand the most frequent daily transactions so that she could analyze those that earned her more money at the end of each month.
After combining the advantage of being an agent with the good practices I learned from the BWC [course], I realized that I can not only keep my clients happy, but also earn good commissions.”
“I had no idea how profitable being an agent could be. For me, it was just a strategy to retain my existing clients and win new ones for my core business,” she comments. “After combining the advantage of being an agent with the good practices I learned from the BWC [course], I realized that I can not only keep my clients happy, but also earn good commissions.”
Because of the new practices she has adopted, in particular separating her takeaway income from agency banking money, Anabela has managed not only to keep her clients satisfied, but also to identify opportunities that allow her to increase her income.
The [course] came at the right time to help me. I like learning and new challenges.”
“I started selling candy, popcorn, and cookies to children who are often sent by parents to do an M-Pesa transaction,” she says. “And I share my contact [information] with my fixed customers so they can place orders ahead of time and avoid waiting too long.”
With these changes, her monthly income from her takeaway and M-Pesa business has increased by 220%.
Previously, Anabela made $40 each month from commissions and the profit from her takeaway business. Today, she can make $123 or more, depending on her ability to transact. Anabela sees the BWC course and support she has received from her BWC advisor as the key players in this change.
“The [course] came at the right time to help me,” Anabela reflects. “I like learning and new challenges.”
Now that she feels she has a deeper knowledge of how to manage her business, Anabela aims to make big changes, starting with increasing the size of her establishment. The space feels too small for her now that she is attracting more customers and she believes that expanding will give more comfort to her customers.
Learn more about the Business Women Connect program.