Sharing success: How brewer is raising new entrepreneurs in Tanzania

AB InBev Tanzania Country Managing Director Jose D. Moran.

Photo credit: TBL

By Millicent Mwololo

Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) marked its 89th anniversary with its head high up, having been recognised as the largest taxpayer in the country.

The 2021 ‘Economic Impact Assessment of TBL’ by Ernst & Young put the gross value added by TBL to the Tanzanian economy at slightly above Tsh1 trillion.

TBL is a subsidiary of the multinational drink and brewing company AB InBev. The conglomerate’s Country Managing Director for Tanzania, Jose D. Moran, spoke to Nation about TBL’s contributions to the economic growth of Tanzania, and its role in nurturing entrepreneurs in the country through the global 100+ Accelerator programme. Here are excerpts.

Q. TBL registered a notable revenue growth in the past year. What do you attribute the success to, especially given the global economic constraints over the last couple of years?

The dramatic spread of Covid-19 disrupted our lives, livelihoods, communities and businesses worldwide. Operating during the pandemic saw us deploy more innovative ways to limit disruptions to the business. Over the past year, we have noted that rethinking how we work has led to the business achieving steady growth with the easing of (Covid-19-related) restrictions. As a business, we invested in enhanced capabilities to better connect with our customers and consumers by leveraging on technology, such as B2B sales, and e-commerce platforms.

Q. How does TBL revenue contribution to the economy feed into the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Environment, Social and Governance framework?

Our ambition is to make sure we are growing year-on-year in double digits, especially after years in the past when we didn’t register such growth, mainly due to adverse market dynamics. We need to outpace the organic growth of the market. Our growth focus revolves around Environment-Social-Governance (ESG) deliverables, imbedded as part of the core business strategy and key drivers of innovation. For us, sustainability is business as usual. It’s been a foundational part of our company for more than 89 years in Tanzania, and over 600 years on our global brand. Our business cannot exist without farmers, without clean water supplies, without healthy communities, without strong suppliers, without diversity, and without climate action. That mind-set is the foundation in everything we do.

Q. In what other ways is TBL contributing to the social and economic growth of Tanzania?

We are focusing on skills development and socio-economic inclusion, as well as fostering human capital development. We believe that if our labour and product markets are aligned, they will multiply the effects of production. So, our business is successful because of our local partners. 

As TBL, our focus is on financial inclusion, research and development, and on the adoption of best-practice technologies and processes to drive innovation and growth.

The outlook for business in Tanzania is very positive, helped by the recovery of the world from the pandemic and investor-friendly policies adopted by President Samia Suluhu Hassan. The signals of opening the country to investment and everything that the president is doing around – travelling to different countries and showcasing Tanzania – is one of the reasons for this positive outlook.

We are helping people, businesses, and communities to prepare for a strong economic and social recovery. We are doing this by improving livelihoods, advancing inclusion, and affirming our commitment to sustainability and responsible drinking.

Q. How successful has the 100+ Accelerator programme been in helping start-ups in Tanzania to innovate and scale up?

To spur the growth of start-ups in the country, TBL has implemented the 100+ Accelerator programme, which is open to innovators across the country. Start-ups selected this year will receive mentorship and training after winning $100,000 for implementing a pilot project.

A key focus of the programme this year was to address supply chain challenges relating to water stewardship, circular economy, sustainable agriculture, climate action, inclusive growth, and biodiversity, specifically targeting women-owned start-ups as part of efforts to ensure balanced gender participation.

TBL targets innovative solutions that could scale quickly and make a significant impact on challenge areas. It specifically focuses on start-ups that have a product in the market, or one preparing to go to market.

Q. What successes have you had in Tanzania?

AB InBev has seen the work that the 100+ Accelerator has done to help passionate entrepreneurs solve pressing global challenges and bring their solutions to the market faster. The 100+ Accelerator programme has provided an opportunity for leading businesses to come together to accelerate the world’s progress toward sustainable solutions and to do business the right way; not the easy way.

This partnership is an opportunity to come together to accelerate progress for a more sustainable world, even as each company continues to strive for their independent sustainability goals. We are committed to creating a better world for all our stakeholders, including our colleagues, consumers, communities, and ecosystems where we live and work.

More about TBL's involvement in the 100+ Accelerator programme

According to TBL Sustainability Manager, Abigail Mutaboyerwa, the 100+Accelerator programme will offer expert training, mentorship, preferred payment terms, access to tools, and funding of up to $100,000 to selected start-ups.

“We are happy as a business to collaborate with passionate entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, investors, and scientists, who are working to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. These partnerships are key to moving us forward,” she says.

Previous cohorts of the 100+ Accelerator programme  in different parts of the world have created tremendous impacts. These include the collection of more than 1,000 tons of glass waste in Brazil; the introduction of returnable packaging in the United States; the recycled electric vehicle batteries that store renewable electricity, in China; and the implementation of green and profitable cleaning solutions for brewing operations to eliminate chemical use; in Colombia.

TBL counts onthe 100+ Accelerator innovations as a key driver of progress towards its 2025 goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“In the years to come, we will continue to build on our momentum and hope to partner with more companies to increase the impact of our programme. These entrepreneurs are going to change the world and help build our sustainable future,” Ms Mutaboyerwa says.

The programme supports promising ideas and high potential technologies that align with partner goals as well as the SDGs, and champion the following six priority areas: Circular economy, smart agriculture, water stewardship, climate action, biodiversity, and inclusive growth.

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