Mimi, South Africa’s first and only black female-owned sanitary pads company, is giving historically disadvantaged women in South Africa the opportunity to start their own businesses with its innovative business-in-a-box, the MimiBizBox.
Mimi was started by media personality, Ramona Kasavan, as a social enterprise to promote girl child education through the sponsorship of its own brand of sanitary pads. On average South-African schoolgirls miss nearly 384 days of school throughout her education career because of not being able to afford sanitary pads. To date, Mimi has distributed more than (1 million pads) in nine provinces, keeping 35 500 girls in school.
Now, Kasavan has come up with a unique way to help women empower themselves and develop their entrepreneurial skills. Each MimiBizBox includes 60 packs (10 sanitary pads per pack) of affordable sanitary towels that aspiring entrepreneurs can buy from Mimi and sell to other girls and women in their communities for a profit. In addition, each agent receives marketing items to get them established.
Kasavan says the MimiBizBox model aims to make empowerment a reality for many women within a short period of time, by working from the roots up.
“This model will work under any circumstances, but by raising equity capital we are looking to accelerate the process, enabling many more women to break the cycle of poverty and to take charge of their futures. This is a good business model that could enable them to break the minimum wage barrier, thereby promoting women economic empowerment.”
By investing R600 per box of packs, entrepreneurially-minded women can turn a profit within three months. Each pack of pads costs R10 and sells for R17, thereby delivering a profit of R300 per box sold.
Kasavan says the initiative was launched on Freedom Day as a symbol of women’s empowerment and independence.
“Since then, 200 women have signed up as agents for Mimi. Our short-term target is to sign up 1 000 women, but ultimately, we’d like to have about 10 000 women on board in 2017. Not only will they be able to earn an independent income, but they will be learning important business skills in the process.”
To ensure financial freedom becomes a reality for many more impoverished women, Mimi is in the process of raising R10 million capital from women entrepreneurs.