Kipipa Millers Limited director Olive Matemu (right) and her daughter, Linda Shewio, hold a trophy they were awarded after their firm emerged No. 1 in a survey of Top 100 Mid-sized Companies in Dar es Salaam on Friday. Looking on are the Minister for Industry and Trade, Dr Abdallah Kigoda, and the Mwananchi Communications Limited Board Chairperson, Ms Zuhura Muro.

Dar es Salaam. Mwanza-based Kipipa Millers is the overall winner of the 2013/14 survey of Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies carried out by KPMG in collaboration with Mwananchi Communications Limited, NBC Bank and the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE).

With five years’ business experience in milling cereals, Kipipa was cited for demonstrating robust business growth from a starting capital of Sh1.5 million in 2008 to sales turnover of over Sh5 billion and caters for Mwanza residents and Tanzania Breweries Ltd (TBL).

The minister for Industry and Trade, Dr Abdallah Kigoda, said the project plays a vital role in nurturing an entrepreneurship culture based on strong partnerships between the private and public sectors.

“This survey plays a key role in spearheading business competitiveness and the entrepreneurship spirit in line with Vision 2025, which aspires to turn Tanzania into a middle income country,” Dr Kigoda said.

Speaking after the announcement at a dinner gala in the city on Friday, Kipipa Managing Director Oliva Matemu said the announcement came as a surprise because it was the first time she was taking part in the contest.

“It is not only due to my own efforts but also my family at large,” said Ms Matemu, who quit her teaching job in 2008 to venture into selling processed cereals, especially flour, in Mwanza city.

Asked what her success secret was, she listed financial discipline, business and marketing skills and the support from her husband, who is an accountant. To top it all, she judiciously used credit from CRDB and FBME banks.

Mrs Matemu wants to expand the milling company and intends to invest in the latest equipment, expansion of operating capital and creation of more jobs. The company had only three employees when it started but now has 30.

The KPMG East Africa Director of Research and Solutions, Dr Jasper Grosskorth, said they had five criteria to pick the Top 100 Mid-Sized companies including the best performer.

The yardsticks include entrepreneurship, job creation, profit-making, human resource development and the pace of revenue growth.

DSE Chief Executive Officer Moremi Marwa said it was crucial for mid-sized companies to register at the stock market, especially now that a new window, Enterprise Growth Market, is in place to cater for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Mr Marwa listed the advantages of registration at DSE, including developing new entrepreneurial skills, expanding capital base through mobilisation of investment and ensuring accountability and corporate governance.