Foodpreneurs

Benedict Mundele – DRC

Benedict Mundele, a 21-year-old Congolese entrepreneur who wants to make a change in her country. She is the founder of Surprise Tropicale, an organic local food canteen and catering company that aims to promote a sustainable and healthy lifestyle in her community in the capital Kinshasa.

The idea came to her while studying hospitality and researching food produced in tropical environments. She was shocked to discover that the DRC imported so much of the food it should be producing in abundance. Furthermore, a lot of the food it does produce gets exported cheaply, processed in other countries, and sold back to the country at more expensive prices.

Mundele was 16 when she started Surprise Tropicale, which began by supplying breakfasts to members of the Kuvuna Foundation, a youth skills empowerment and leadership organisation.

Today, the company produces its own organic snacks and meals, such as chips made from coconut or ginger. She also runs her own take-away outlet, and supplies produce to nearby shops. She only sells food produced locally and is hoping to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Her entrepreneurial vision and efforts led to her selection as an Anzisha Prize finalist last year, a competition that recognises young Africans who are using entrepreneurship to bring positive change to their community. She was also named one of the promising young World Economic Forum (WEF) ‘Global Shapers’ and was selected to attend the WEF on Africa, held in Nigeria, last year.

(Source: www.anzishaprize.org)

Boyede Sobitan – Founder, OlaExpress

Boyede Sobitan, 34, of Bronzeville, and co-founder Fola Dada are the brains behind OjaExpress. He is a self-titled, Chigerian — a Chicagoan of Nigerian extraction, who is engaged in the African community here, and wants to work to shine a positive light on African culture.

As the founder, he describes the app as a platform that takes away the inconvenience and commute outside of the neighbourhood. There is also same-day delivery, and the service is available throughout Chicago.

It is currently available to those who resides outside Nigeria mainly in Chicago area but would soon be extended to those in New York.

The co-founder said customers can make special requests and can also use the app to look up the recipe.  While Sobitan said they’re in the process of partnering with local African restaurants. Anyone with a smartphone can download the free app and create a profile.

(Source: www.okayafrica.com)

When Brigite Faustin says the future for women agripreneurs is blossoming, we believe her. The Tanzanian #MotherlandMogul is Founder and Managing Director of OBRI (T) Company. Brigite’s company makes edible oil under the OBRI brand. From raw materials to manufacturing, everything is done in Tanzania.

Brigite is a self-taught entrepreneur who has made agribusiness and human development her business. She runs OBRI company as a co-operative social enterprise, ensuring that farmers and communities are supported. Brigite wants to see more women in her industry and has suggestions on how to make this happen.

Her company is modelled after the concept of co-operative social enterprise. This model promotes economic opportunities for cooperatives organizations, farmers associations and communities through the innovative application of sound business practice. The model supports smallholder farmers to adopt sustainable agricultural practices, improve land use, increase the quality and quantity of their crops, and promote safe and efficient working practices. The model is a win-win to both farmers and the company, as it guarantees a sustainable market channel of agricultural produce to the local farmers while offering quality raw materials to the company without stressing on price fluctuation.

Brigite Faustin researched her industry for three years before formalising her company. “Running a business is like riding on a roller coaster. Although it is fun and exciting, there will be times when you’ll be scared and feel powerless.

The first three months after I started my company, I wasn’t 100% sure that my brand will stand out in the market and survive the competition. I had limited perception of what my business is capable of! I chose to shed my illusions, understood the core value proposition in my business model and demystified the workings of the business world. Finally, I found myself achieving more than what I have ever dreamed was possible.” – Brigite Faustin

 

(read more here: https://sheleadsafrica.org/brigite-faustin/ )

Mokgadi has worked in the food industry for more than 15 years. She started her culinary journey with Hotpots catering (1997-2000), which handled catering for M-net, SABC marketing conference and Rothmans Cup

She acquired further culinary training in New York City and upon her return to SA, Woolworth’s snatched her up and she worked as a food works chef. Her duties included in-store food demonstrations; advising customers on menu planning, ingredients and food combinations; Event planning; Staff training in food preparation and styling. In 2006 she opened a restaurant in Rosebank, Lotsha Kitchen and Cocktails, which she managed with two partners. Lotsha hosted dinner parties for the South African, then first lady Zanele Mbeki and other South African personalities.

She has handled numerous food projects for clients like Dion Chang (Gloria launch), African Mosaique , MTN, YFM, Bonitas, National Video and Film Foundation, African Romance, South African Mining Development Association, Masana Technologies, Atlas Studios, Tom Pictures, Stoned Cherrie, Dr Anna Mokgokong, Jacob Zuma and  many others.

She has been featured on TV (Mojo-xmas party, True-life show, SABC 3 Talk) has developed recipes for magazines (Oprah Magazine SA, Food & home, House & Garden). She has participated in food festivals (V&A waterfront winter food fair, Cheese festival, Olive festival & Decorex JHB 2004), has worked with African food expert Dora Sithole on her recipe book “Cape to Cairo”. In 2006-2008 she worked as a contributing food editor for Tribute magazine, where she honed her food writing skills. Mokgadi was one of FIVE Chefs chosen by the International Marketing Council to represent South African cuisine at the 2010 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Her entrepreneurial spirit saw her work with Metsweding Entrepreneural Development Agency, where she developed menu’s and trained staff, for ‘Vuvuzela Eat and sleep’ a township bed and breakfast concept.

She is Creative Director and head chef for Lotsha Home foods, a food company she started with two other partners. The focus for the company is to develop food products based on African recipes. The first two products are already available in 5 shops in Gauteng. She is the current Food Editor for True Love Magazine and is a recent recipient of a Galliova award for excellence in food writing.

Enthused integrity, perseverance, compassion, dedication and an insatiable curiosity has been her aid in all undertakings. She is proudly South African and hopes to foster passionate pride in others.

Written by Gabi Khumalo

When the time came for Grade 10 learners to choose their subjects, agricultural science was never popular among learners at Sekgosese Secondary School in Limpopo.

But for one learner, the subject stood out as a field with much opportunity.

“My teachers at the time tried to persuade me to study Physical Science and Mathematics because I was among the bright students, so I’m told. But I told them that I want to do agriculture. I had already seen potential in the sector and I knew that one could make a living from it,” says Clement Pilusa, who at 27, is running two successful poultry farms in Pretoria.

He is currently leasing 50 hectares of land in Onderstepoort Plaas, which he uses for chicken production.

The other poultry farm is in Stinkwater, near Hammanskraal, and it is used for broiler chicken production. The land belongs to the Tshwane Municipality.

When he completed matric, Pilusa registered at the Tshwane University of Technology, where he studied towards a Diploma in Agriculture Development and Extension.

“Agriculture was my first choice and my second choice. When other students were looking for internships during our final year, I looked for land to lease.”

When he finally found a piece of land to lease from a family in the North West, he started his farming and fresh produce business, growing vegetables.

A year later, the Tshwane Municipality offered Pilusa and his partner land to use and that’s when the love for poultry farming started.

His major break came in 2015 when he was named winner of the South African Breweries’ (SAB) youth entrepreneurship development programme, the SAB Kick-start competition, and walked away with a grant of R500 000.

The cash prize enabled Pilusa to lease the land in Pretoria North and allowed him to triple his turn over.

“The business is growing. Back then we were able to sell 1 500 chickens in two months, but now in a month we are able to sell over 4 000.”

Pilusa’s business has not only created jobs for local people, but has made a difference to many families.

He also offers internships for TUT students. Two students are placed on each farm, where they do experiential learning.

“We’ve decided to assist students because some of them stay at home for six months trying to get a farm to do practicals and that delays their graduation. We’ve also decided to give back to the community by going out to local secondary schools creating agriculture awareness,” says Pilusa.

 

(Source: http://www.vukuzenzele.gov.za/young-farmer%E2%80%99s-growing-success )

Founder: Agro Mindset

After completing a postgraduate degree in agriculture, Asiamah turned down a number of job offers to farm in Ghana – founding Agro Mindset Group instead. Asiamah owns 15 acres of land, raising chicken, and employs 12 people. “Our future outlook is to adopt more innovative, cutting-edge technologies to produce animal feed, manage waste, and construct solar power plants,” he says.

Asiamah is the winner of an African Achiever Award for agricultural excellence, the Future Awards Africa for agriculture and Ghana UK Based Awards for corporate sustainability after his nomination at the House of Commons.

Youth unemployment is one of the most pressing issues in Tanzania. The number of young people who enter the labour force exceeds the available jobs. According to official data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2014, the economy created about 282,382 formal-sector jobs while an estimated 800,000 to one million youths enter the labour market at the same time. Yet, the number of job seekers is expected to double by 2030. According to the World Bank, the size of Tanzania’s youth, which was about 8.1 million in 2010, will rise to 11 million by 2020 and 15 million by 2030.

In the near absence of formal jobs, especially for entry-level positions, many educated young people are looking to agriculture and agribusiness for employment opportunities. From Dar es Salaam to Arusha up to the lake region in Mwanza, a growing number of educated youths are now investing in agriculture.

One of such people is Deborah Simon Malaba. After struggling to make ends meet as a journalist, the young mother of one quit her job to go into vegetable farming in 2016.

“My employers owed me money, and I thought, ‘I waste my time here, my energy, and use my creativity without getting anything and I have a son who depends on me’. So I decided to go into agribusiness,” she told How we made it in Africa during an interview.

 

Before venturing into agribusiness, Deborah did some research and discovered that vegetable products were in high demand in Tanzania. She got more interested in the business because it promised quick revenue compared to what she got at her media job, where she had to wait until the end of the month to get paid.

Deborah started her vegetable farming business with Tsh.4m (US$1,790), which she borrowed from her relatives. Part of the money was used to buy two hectares of land in a rural area, not far from Mwanza airport. For irrigation purposes, her farm is strategically positioned near the lake.

About 46% of Tanzania’s land is arable and have never been touched. “It is easy to have access to land in Tanzania. You can either own it or lease it for a while. The only challenge is the cost of the land, especially in urban areas. It costs three or four times lesser in rural areas,” Deborah explained.

After harvesting, the farm produce is taken to the city and sold in market stalls and supermarkets. With the rise of structured retail – supermarkets and shopping malls – Tanzanian marketers are encouraging young entrepreneurs to go into agribusiness.

But a lack of know-how remains a barrier to these budding agripreneurs.

“I wasn’t aware of where to get the seedlings or expertise. I didn’t understand the market too, especially the income of people who may not be able to afford to buy it in comparison to the amount of money I have invested in the business,” Deborah said.

Not everyone is enthused about venturing into agriculture. According to Deborah, while there are opportunities in the lake region, many people still regard agriculture as “an activity for someone that is not educated”.

“The opportunities are there, but most people don’t know the procedures of how to get it. I am aware there are opportunities to get a loan, but the process of getting it is the big challenge,” she said.

To mitigate these challenges, Deborah consulted an expert. “Basically it is difficult to get advice from the authority if you don’t know these procedures, but I used my connections as a former journalist to gather resources and professional advice for my business.” She also attended two agribusiness trainings to keep up with how to do modern agriculture.

These measures have helped her business. So far, she has been able to pay back half of her start-up loan within a year of launching the business.

Deborah wants to get more young people on board and out of poverty. She runs an organisation, Agribusiness Media Initiative, which produces a radio documentary programme called ‘InukaBadilika’, a Swahili word which means ‘Wake up and change’.

“We use this programme to encourage young people to be active, empowered and change their situation,” she said.

So far, she has produced and aired four documentaries on agriculture on a community radio in Mwanza. In the future, she plans to open a mini-supermarket to sell vegetables locally and also have it exported to other parts of the country.

“When I started, people were laughing at me. But now, I am doing great, and I am getting admiration for what I am doing,” she said.

This story was reported with the support of an African Great Lakes Reporting Fellowship from the International Women’s Media Foundation.

(Source:  https://www.howwemadeitinafrica.com/tanzania-unemployed-youths-turn-agriculture/58389/ )

Cashews are a major export crop for Tanzania and a significant source of income for many small farmers.
The East African country produces about 200,000 tons of cashews a year and is considered one of the best quality cashews in the world. But value addition in the form of processing of raw cashew and capacity building in this sector is wanting. The lack of local processors in Tanzania means there are very few jobs created from this valuable commodity; cashews are an important foreign exchange earner for the country.
Fahad Awadh, an ambitious 29-year old entrepreneur from Tanzania, recently moved back home from Canada to set up a cashew processing facility in Tanzania in an effort to bring international standards and traceability to the cashew nuts. He is the founder of YYTZ Agro-Processing, a cashew processing company that is adding value locally while creating jobs and boosting the income of farmers and the community as a whole. The company’s flagship processing facility in Zanzibar has an installed capacity of 2,500 Tons per annum.
YYTZ Agro-Processing recently raised a $500,000 investment from the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund to establish another processing facility in Mtwara, southeastern Tanzania.
(source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2016/12/13/this-29-year-old-just-raised-500000-to-process-cashews-in-tanzania/#6f29e9967aad )

The desire to work on a business that would showcase her creativity led 2015 SLA-Entrepreneur Showcase winner Kasope Ladipo-Ajai to starting her food processing company Omo Alata.

The Nigeria-based food service brand, launched in 2012, is focused on the production and sale of hygienically processed and packaged Nigerian soups, spices and peppers. It aims to promote healthy eating and to make cooking easier for busy people.
Travel, particularly to advanced countries, exposed Kasope to the possibilities of quick and convenient meal preparation. While on her trips, she went to various African stores and realized that many of the ingredients for cooking Nigerian meals were not produced or packaged in Nigeria. This is largely due to packaging issues in the country which rules out the exporting of some its food products.

Kasope: “We have all these products but why can’t we package it properly? If we package it properly then we can export it.” It was with this realization that the idea for a food service brand was birthed. Kasope decided to start by packaging pepper. “It is a produce that is basic to us in Nigeria.”

Once she had the concept for Omo Alata in mind, she solidified her decision to venture into entrepreneurship by registering the business. Kasope then carried out research on the product she was trying to launch. She looked into sourcing fresh produce, and best practices for cleaning, processing and packaging it.

She also solicited advice about brand development from knowledgeable people in her network. A lot of work was put into the graphic and package design aspect of it. Kasope knew that she had to come up with something that would both look right and catch people’s attention. The package itself, too, had to be functional.
Kasope and her partner leveraged their personal income to get the business off the ground. “We had limited funds to play with. We asked ourselves, ‘What do we need to do?’ and ‘What’s the best way to do it?’” There were essentials for their company that they couldn’t avoid spending money on.

These included securing a factory space as well as the necessary equipment for production. They had to get creative when it came to spending money on professional services that they really needed.

“We leverage on our family and friends expertise for such,” Kasope said. “We told them our vision and asked them to work with us, and we pay them in kind or later.”
Kasope has had to tackle several challenges that come with running a business in the food industry. For starters the raw materials that are used for making Omo Alata products are seasonal. “The produce gets expensive when it is out of season,” she said. “The suppliers will try to exploit you.”

“You have to be on your toes checking to make sure suppliers are not taking advantage of the fact that you have a relationship with them,” she added. Farm produce does not have a fixed price. Kasope constantly checks the market to make sure that she is being charged the correct seasonal price.

(Read the rest of her inspiring story here: https://sheleadsafrica.org/kasope-ladipo-ajai-building-omo-alata/ )

Mike Njau, a college-educated food nutritionist left his banking job to farm strawberries in small-scale. It is nearly one and a half years now since he started the faming venture with an initial capital of Sh5,000 and 200 strawberries seedlings.

Today, the value of his farming venture has grown to Sh480,000 according to Limurudistrict hrticulture officer Mary Kinuthia. By March 2014, Njau expects to be growing 5,000 stems of strawberry from the current 1,400. He is optimistic that by this time, his income from the farm will be double the salary he earned from his last employment at the local bank.

“My plan is to earn double the salary of Sh 20,000 I last earned when I was employed. I will then start expanding the business,” said the 25-year-old young farmer from Sigona Ward, Kiambu County.

More young people are now realising the value of farming especially for produce that have ready market or can be value added to fetch higher income. It is a generational change of farming in a country where the average age of a small scale farmer is above 55 years according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“My choice of growing strawberries was deliberate because they have a high demand, they are nutritious, preferred by people who like healthy living and they fetch higher prices. We are not able to meet demand for strawberries especially for bigger outlets,” said Njau. He says recently a local retail store requested if he could deliver one tone of strawberries every week.

He will need to expand his venture to meet such an order because he does not expect to get back to white collar employment. Njau and several other smallscale farmers are currently selling their strawberries directly to customers as they cannot meet the high demand of supply from the consumer stores.

They depend on a marketing network developed by Farm Concern International (FCI), the organisation working to improve the commercial value of smallscale farming across the eastern Africa region supported by Rockefeller Foundation.

He is part of youth farmers’ network known as Youth in Agricultural Trade and Enterprises (YATE), which is supported by the FCI’s smallscale farming commercialisation initiative. They are ten members known a Generation Achievers in the bracket 18 to 25.

Each member is involved in a commercial model smallscale farming ranging from strawberry farming, rearing poultry, summer flowers growing and rabbits and livestock keeping.

(Source: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2013/12/18/from-banker-to-strawberry-farmer_c870206 )