By: Jillian Kanaiza Makungu
The first Youth in Agribusiness Trendsetters Caravan cocktail was held at Strathmore Business School on Wednesday 27th May 2015. The Caravan brought together 33 youth entrepreneurs in agribusiness. The entrepreneurs had been carefully selected to target real business owners or senior managers running successful enterprises in agribusiness. The entrepreneurs were drawn from horticulture, poultry, dairy, input supplies and technical service providers.
The keynote address was delivered by Dr. William Kirwa, a tutor at Strathmore Business School and a successful large scale dairy farmer. Dr. Kirwa has worked for many years as a senior banker and also served as a director at Agricultural Development Corporation. His keynote speech focused on Turning your Venture into a Business. He reiterated the need for entrepreneurs to understand their business environment. Growing a brand is a gradual process. Ensure that growth does not overwhelm your business. Many companies over-trade and then get into liquidity trap.
Participants discussed at length the unfair trading practices by large companies especially in the retail sector. Supermarket chains are killing our budding businesses. They pay us for our goods after more than Ninety days. The interest rates to service loans to keep our businesses afloat are exorbitant. We are losing heavily while banks make all the profits, said Vava Angwenyi, the owner of Vava coffee brand. The entrepreneurs also decried the unfriendly practices by financial institutions. Financiers insist on collateral. Often, our businesses are too young and without much physical assets. The level of credit they give is also too low to fit our business needs, indicated Francisca Munyi, the director of KOFAR, a company dealing in manufacturing soil amendments.
The participants agreed to have regular meeting at intervals of 2 months. In addition, it was agreed that the caravan membership will remain through referral. Lets use this platform to build a movement of youth entrepreneurship in agriculture, said Nicky Nyamasyo, Head of Operations at Hillside Greens.
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Article Courtesy of Agri Pro Focus