Many have written and spoken about her: Mercy Kitomari, founder of Nelwa’s Gelato, is the living proof that ideas can become real, even in a difficult environment, if you have enough perseverance, determination, dedication, focus and commitment.
Inspired by the ice cream parlors of London, where she attended a MBA, Mercy had the dream to bring hand-made ice cream in her homeland, Tanzania. So in 2012, she started this business part-time, while she was working in a bank. One year later she permanently left her job to fully commit to the growth of her business and her brand.
In a talk in this video Mercy explains how everything started and the challenges she had to overcome: “Coming home and learning before knowing what is required to start a gelato business; it requires a hundred thousand USD to two hundred thousand to have a proper gelato shop. So here I am with my beautiful business plan”.
Mercy tries to ask for a loan in a bank, but because she has no collateral, she is not able to obtain it. Many would think that this has been a misfortune for her, but I genuinely believe it has been the best thing could happen to her, instead.
Forced by the lack of capital, Mercy had to start with what she had available: a small machine for home use, able to produce one litre of ice cream in two hours. And so, every night, she used to make five litres of ice cream that she was selling the day after during her lunch break at work. Today, besides having her own gelato shop in Dar es salaam, she also supplies the biggest and most famous hotels and coffee shops in the city.
Probably, if she had obtained that loan from the bank she would have lost everything… we cannot know, but it is among the possibilities.
The story of Mercy teaches us something very important: thinking big is the best driving force pushing us to do more and better; however we are very often blocked by our own mental limitations and the desire of wanting everything perfect since the beginning. If we wait to have all the resources, all the best conditions, all the favorable situations, we will never commence anything.
Starting a business also requires a lot of courage to just begin with what you have, in the environment you live. If you demonstrate enough courage, then the magic can happen.