DARECHA: Hello Fred. How are you? Please tell us little bit about yourself. Age? Education? Family?
Fred Swai: Hello Julius. I fine, thank you. My name is Fredrick Cuthbert Swai. I am the first born in a family of three children. I was born in 1992 making me 19 years old now. I had my primary school education at Ilemi Primary School then was shifted to Juhudi Primary School where I finished my primary level education. Thereafter, I was selected to join Kibaha Secondary School. I like to call it “the school of dreamers”. I graduated from O-level education in 2008 and after that pursuded A-levels at Mlima Mbeya High School.
DARECHA: What is your business name? What does it do?
Fred Swai: I called my business “The Dreamer Stationery & Gaming Company” and the secret behind the name is just me. The Dreamer is my alias. I have lots of dreams and I will never stop dreaming. I believe one day it will be A BIG YES! I am running the stationery and gaming businesses separately therefore in short I am running two businesses at the same time. With the stationery business I offer services like photocopying, printing, lamination, book binding, scanning, cards creation and several more services… and in gamming I have set up a gaming centre where I charge people who play games in the computers and I charge at a considerable rate per half an hour.
Darecha Rep: When and how did you start your business?
Young Entrepreneur, Fred Swai: To be honest, I started my business in my mind and I used to plan it day to day but I was afraid of the failure, obstacles and embarrassment. Imagine… two years passed without doing anything on ground just having the idea. I just needed somebody or something to tell me that I could do it simply something to motivate and inspire me. After I heard about Darecha, I thought to put my idea in a reality and that’s when I started seeing several obstacles, first I had in mind contradiction as I was thinking of the life of other young people of my age in my street and several as I introduced my idea they laughed at me but I was not discouraged…… Secondly, it’s from my parents as it took a lot of time to explain to them why I needed the capital. It was tough but I thank God because finally they understood and they started buying one machine after another from 2009 but it was in form of a LOAN. I had to sacrifice my school pocket money just to let my parents accumulate some funds for me.In January 2011,I found out that I had enough capital to buy my first asset (computer and printing machine) Physically, I opened my trial dream after my form six education in Febraury 2011.
Darecha Rep: You have said that Darecha inspired you. How did Darecha inspire you to start your own business?
Young Entrepreneur, Fred Swai: At the first time I heard of Darecha in the end of 2009, I started following it very serious with the activities it does….. I found out you,the founder of Darecha, is very young just like me and he keeps doing great things.I said oooh! There are young people who are doing great things out there, why am I wasting time here? Therefore I went ahead to add Julius as my friend in Facebook. At that time he was a student at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg South Africa. Whenever I found him online, I used to ask him questions through chatting. He truly inspired me a lot. Actually, he was very good in answering the questions I had for him. He use to tell me that one day I will make it but better much to keep efforts and learn from failures points I passed. Also I was inspired much when I see his website with great wonders he made as thinking to expand Darecha to other African countries.I think that is how everything started!
Darecha Rep: How much do you earn per day? How do you use the income you get from the business? Have you employed some people in your busieness?
Young Entrepreneur, Fred Swai: Actually I earn 15,000 to 20,000 Tanzanian shilling per day. In a month I earn approximately 600,000 Tanzanian shilling. I use the income to reinvest in the business by buying more machines and other raw materials. I use the funds to pay rent, electricity bills and wages to one employee. Something funny is I have no salary for myself. I have in the business. Yeah..I have employed one person in my business.
Darecha Rep: What is your plan for this year because you still have to go to university right?
Yes…. I am about to go to university. Also I am thinking of paying for my college education as I can see that I would have accumulated enough funds to pay for university studies.Yeah I have a plan of handing over my responsibilities to my employees, I have a plan of employing one more person before I go to college I want my businesses to go on. So I have to employ smart people.I will also design a website for my business as I want other young people to know what I am doing so that I can inspire them to do even more.
Darecha Rep: What is the advice you can provide to youth who are waiting to be employed?
Young Entrepreneur,Fred Swai: Honestly, what I can say is Youth is the only time you have to do great things in your life if Julius Shirima can, Fredrick Swai can, Zitto Kabwe can, Halima Mdee can, January Makamba can, John Mnyika can and several other young people make great things in politics, businesses, agriculture and several more places, why can’t you.You shouldn’t wait for other people to employ as there are no job opportunities in Tanzania, just employ YOURSELF. “You have to think big and make wonders” by Benny Carson. If sometimes your dreams have fallen apart never be scared to take one piece of your fallen dream and start again from it. Yes you can.
Darecha Rep: What is your vision in 10 years from now? How would you want Darecha to support you further?
Young Entrepreneur, Fred Swai: Yeah within this ten years from now, I wish to own many companies (more than one) I can’t write here what type of companies because many people are very nice to copy hahahahaaa…. But I hope to employ not less than one thousand workers… thats my dream. In case of what Darecha to help me, its to keep me update with where I can get enough capital so as I can make my dreams come true for the benefit of many young people in our nation.