This is part of a series of blogs from the four entrepreneurs participating in the Women’s Venture Xchange-Africa initiative. The Xchange is a mentorship and exchange program for high-growth women entrepreneurs based in Africa. The initiative is being run by the Case Foundation, the Mara Foundation, the Global Entrepreneurship Network and the U.S. Department of State.
The Xchange program is amazing. We went to visit Stawi Foods's factory, and it was great experience. They took us through their production process. The founder and managing director, Eric Muthomi, has a background in law, but decided he wanted to create employment and started Stawi Foods.
Stawi Foods manufactures porridge flour from maize and millet. They are now in leading supermarkets in Nairobi. They have built a strong brand. Our take home from the meeting is that we must always meet our customer needs. The factory must continuously have stock. He showed us his warehouse that had stocked. A customer must always find a product they want. It was a good take home for us because most of the time we run out of stock and we rarely have stocks in our warehouses.
He also shared his strategy of customer retention and that he always makes sure he meets customer needs and that his product is always available. Therefore, customers always come back for more.
We also visited Bio Foods, which was also an amazing experience. We met Binoy Zachariah, the managing director and founder of Bio Food Products, Ltd. He started his business in his backyard, but now his company has grown much larger. His product has a premium price and he attributes it to the raw materials he uses. He has invested in dairy farmers who now give him quality milk that he uses to produce the best yogurt.
His 4 pillars of commitment are:
Our take home was that we must “integrate backwards” because it assists your business on cutting costs and providing you with quality raw materials. Therefore, we will continue to empower our women farmers back home so that they continuously supply us with organic groundnuts and other small grains so that our products are always good quality.
Read more about the Women's Venture Xchange-Africa entrepreneurs.