Startup Huddle Blantyre Explores the Business of Getting Your House in Order
Mbachi Joyce
26 Oct 2016

When I initially signed up to be part of the Network for Entrepreneurial Women, little did I know that at some point I’d end up being one of the organizers and presenters.

My name is Mbachi Joyce Ng’oma, and I am a very passionate caker and artist by profession.

The last Startup Huddle event was centered on a question most people have, which is, “What is needed for one to get their house in order to properly and effectively operate their business?” Initially, it sounded like a simple question, but the presentations, follow-up questions and discussions at the event were an eye-opener.

As part of the program we had three presenters for the following topics: why people should register their businesses, why Malawi Revenue Authority is important and compliance, and what are the challenges faced by most startup businesses and possible solutions.

Being one of the organizers for the event I was tasked with identifying a presenter on why it is important to get one’s business registered. Unfortunately since we are a new entity with some financial challenges and couldn’t afford to pay the allowance and fuel fee,  I decided to take on the presentation.

While there are a number or reasons why we need to register our companies, below are some that I thought were worth sharing.

  1. A company acquires a unique identity and operates legally.
  2. Tax purposes. Registration of a company today in Malawi automatically issues you with a tax identification number (TPIN). It is a requirement that the TPIN gets activated at the Malawi revenue authority (MRA).
  3. Registration makes it possible to get contracts, especially from the government and big companies that are looking for subcontractors.  
  4. Are you registering the company as a sole trader, partnership, incorporated or limited company?
  5. One is taken seriously when they have the two; registration and TPIN.
  6. It makeS it easier to deal with investors. No bank will give a loan to a business that is not registered.

Though it was evident that some of the women present were already running their businesses, most didn’t really know the importance of why they should register their companies. Some didn’t even know where to go for registration. Lucky for us, we happened to have a former registrar’s office employee present who helped answer some of the questions that I wasn’t able to.

The event got more interesting with all ears open when the Malawi Revenue Authority representative and team leader Mrs. Lilian Nyirenda took center stage. I doubt many people want to deal with their tax breakdown but the presentation really helped to understand how the system works. One of the points that she emphasized was that of not evading tax payments. The fines which are huge sums of money can be easily avoided if one follows the rules and regulations.

The session was a long one and could’ve gone on all evening, but had to be cut short to allow our last presenter to share her experiences of what business has been like in Malawi. Kate Sutton and her husband run a consultancy company. Taking into consideration that the other presentations, questions and discussions had taken up most of the time, she made it short and sweet. What I was able to gather from her presentation was why it’s important for any startup business to conduct proper research, planning and implementation – especially when it comes to compliance issues in accordance to the laws and regulations of Malawi.

For some, this involves consultations which their company provides free of charge to the HUB clients and at a cost to other business owners. What I found exciting was that they provide advice to startups on how best to cut down on costs and keeping most of the money in the company. Most of us have no idea how to go about it so this was refreshing news. This reason helped seal my decision on why I should sign up for a HUB membership so that I too can take advantage of such services.

Running a startup business can be hard. At times I’ve been blank on how to handle some situations. It was encouraging learning about their experiences and the tips she shared.

After having attended all three Startup Huddle events, I can confidently say I’ve gained a lot of knowledge that has and will come in handy with my day to day operations. The discussion-sharing networking sessions are a bonus. NEW and Startup Huddle have given me the platform to start talking about and sharing my business. I got questions, tips, and advice that has really helped me look at my business from a different angle and changing up how I conduct business. It was also because of NEW that I was confident enough to accept the request to pitch my business. I’m glad I did. Business is getting better by the day as more and more people are getting to know about Chidu Cakes.

If you want to know more about my cakes, give me advice, have marketing tips or would like to place an order, please visit our Facebook page Chidu Cakes. We aim to please. Our cakes are Your Cakes too.

Mbachi Joyce Ng'oma

Founder and CEO | Chidu Cakes

Mbachi Joyce Ng'oma is the Founder and CEO of Chidu Cakes, an artisanal cake company operating in Blantyre, Malawi.