Fred had a wonderful motivation for starting his business, while studying medicine he began to think about the issue of malnutrition in his community and wanted to set up a business to try and help solve it. He graduated in 2011, and decided to use some savings from a family member to launch a poultry business called Arise Chick Plus, and he bought a number of laying chickens. He heard about Grow Movement through a friend who had been a client, and he started to work with Taku quite soon after starting his business.
Taku grew up in Zimbabwe, where he studied and worked in food technology before moving to the UK to study for an MSc in Food Economics and Marketing at the University of Reading. He works for a major seafood supplier as a Technical Compliance Manager. He also started his own company FoodBev International Consulting, providing training and consultancy to the food industry. He heard about Grow from a friend who had delivered a project previously. As an African in the diaspora he felt it was his duty to leverage his knowledge, connection and skills to give something back to the continent, so decided to volunteer as well.
Fred’s big ambition was to increase from 100 birds to 30,000, and to eventually own a feed mill as well. Taku and Fred worked together on a plan of how to make this dream come true using small incremental steps. Taku wanted help Fred move from being a dreamer to an operational entrepreneur. On Taku’s advice Fred wrote a business plan and started to have real clarity of vision on how to achieve his dream.
Fred says that Taku was a real support during this time, but they lost touch in 2013.However Taku’s sound advice stayed with him, and he says that it gave him the courage in his business. He entered into another programme (the Rwanda Business Accelerator Programme), and found three investors.
Due to the business planning skill, Fred was able to articulate his vision and modify the business model. Instead of selling eggs to the local community, he now breeds and sells the birds themselves. He sells the owners feed and services for the birds as a package, and makes an agreement with them to buy the eggs back and sell them at the market. Fred said, he was connected by Grow movement to the Rwanda accelerator program run by Educat (Grow Movement partner organization in Rwanda) for investment opportunities. Through the same programme three investors came on board and facilitated expansion and diversification. To date the business is building at a steady rate, and he was able to take on two new employees, an accountant and a stock manager.
“The experience made me grow as an entrepreneur; I learnt new skills such as business planning and raising capital as well as the reality of being an entrepreneur. Taku asked me if I believed in my business, and I do, he taught me that if you believe in your idea you can do it. I learnt to be resilient, the point you are about to give up is the point that your dream is about to come true.”
“It allows you to reappraise your skills, you really need to go back and revise your ideas, and so it’s a very rewarding experience. I have already recommended it to friends!”