The pharmaceutical star of Dakar

Combé Thiaw stocks pharmaceutical supplies and serves a number of hospitals around Senegal’s capital. She built on her professional training as a pharmacist when she decided, “I could follow others’ example to become a supplier myself”. By providing high-quality products with top-notch service to her clients, she has gained the steadfast backing of the Zidisha lending community since her first of seven completed loans in April of last year. As a Client Relationship Intern, Sam Gant brings us the latest on many of our accomplished and well-respected business owners. On Wednesday, Sam caught up with Combé in Dakar: 


I met with Combé on May 30th at the bustling market of Grand Yoff, where she had been making deliveries to hospitals in the area, and then accompanied her by taxi out to her home in Golf-Camberene. Combé lives in a quiet neighborhood outside of Dakar, and on the long ride over she explained to me that after the initial expenses of purchasing medical supplies in bulk from the distributor, her next biggest cost is transportation. Hospitals in the Dakar area tend to be understocked, and so Combé frequently has to make deliveries at a moments notice to replenish emergency rooms across the city. She repays her loan in fluctuating quantities depending on when the hospitals reimburse her for her deliveries.
She expressed a great deal of gratitude to the lenders of Zidisha for allowing her to benefit from economies of scale, because her bulk purchases require her to have access to significant amounts of capital from day-to-day. Her home is cozy and well-equipped, a clear testament to how much access to microfinance has improved her ability to succeed as an independent entrepreneur. She plans to update lenders over the next few days with more precise examples of how she realizes a profit by purchasing in bulk and then delivering medical supplies.

Writing about her line of work, Madame Thiaw simply states, “My clients like to do business with me for the simple reason that I provide quality products, and deliver them as quickly as possible.” In her case, as in so many others, success begets success.
Even more inspiring than her demonstrated accomplishments is what lies ahead. Her operation is far from static; recently, a rental car has allowed Combé to simultaneously extend her reach and reduce transportation costs. With continued support from Zidisha, she will take active steps to more effectively serve her faithful clientele.

Read more about Combé Thiaw here.

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