Mr. Eliezery Makupa started a brick making business called Simbaa Bricks in 2005, supplying Arusha’s fast-growing construction industry.
Arusha is Tanzania’s second city and is growing fast, with a thriving construction industry. Mr. Makupa spent three years working as a cloth wholesaler, but grew tired of the unpredictability and lumpy revenues in the cloth industry. He decided to move into the more predictable and fast-growing brick market, supplying Arusha’s construction industry.
Much of the brick industry in Tanzania still uses wooden moulds. Mr. Makupa purchased an electrically-powered industrial cement brick maker, allowing him to produce more consistent and durable bricks than the competition. Mr. Makupa also increased the strength of his bricks by experimenting with the ratio of ingredients of the cement mix and by adding new materials.
After only two months of production, Simbaa Bricks had already reached capacity. Mr. Makupa applied to EFA in early 2006 for a $4,790 investment to buy an electric cement mixer, a stock of wooden pallets to hold the bricks, and a second brick maker. This was expected to create five new permanent jobs, but strong business growth resulted in 12 new full-time employees. He completed his repayments to EFA in March 2009.
Simbaa Bricks is now planning to expand the product range to include residential and decorative concrete pavers and lighter bricks. This will help the business build relationships with larger contractors. Mr. Makupa is also looking for land for a permanent production site to accommodate the new production capacity.