Blessing Machiya, the Director of Kaboko Naturally, suppliers of naturally dried food products to consumers in Zimbabwe, was voted as one of the 12 finalists in Gogettaz, a competition that involves entrepreneurs seeking financial injection and exposure for their business ventures from the entertainment company, Kwese Inc.
Kaboko Naturally, which is a subsidiary of Shumbakadzi Investments, was founded in March 2017 in a bid to provide a cheap alternative to canned food.
The range of products includes locally grown organic varieties of fruit, vegetables, nuts and meat that are carefully dried in the sun so that they can used stored and consumed as meal or snack. Storage does not compromise their nutritional taste and value.
It is this entrepreneurial venture that secured Blessing a place for those contesting for the grand prize of $100,000 and two week mentorship program with Strive Masiyiwa, the founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Global, a telecoms group with presence in over 15 countries.
“I realized that farmers produce a lot of food from their farms but a substantial amount is lost in the post-harvest stage either due to lack of ready markets or poor storage practices,” said Blessing.
“I source most of the raw materials from small scale organic farmers, process it and sell the products to the local and export market, where I am in charge of all the procurement processes,”
The entrepreneur has employed one person to help her in sourcing and drying the produce manually. The drying period of the produce depends on the weather but it can approximately take three to four days. After it is completely dry, it is packaged and sold to various schools, retailers and supermarkets within Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city. On a good week Blessing earns $300.
Blessing now 42 is a qualified secretary, proficient in public relations and office administration. At 19, she worked as a receptionist at a company that supplied mining equipment. She then became a personal assistant to the Managing Director and later promoted to a sales person.
In the year 2000 at the age of 25, Blessing started a company that supplied mining equipment and spares to local mining companies but unfortunately due to the economic situation in Zimbabwe at that time, the company ceased operations.
Thereafter she tried out different ventures from cross border trading, candle making, chicken rearing, growing and selling potatoes. She funded these projects using her own savings but with growing family demands, the mother of three knew more needed to be done to bring in more income.
In 2017, she registered her company, Shumbakadzi investment limited, with Zimbabwe Registrar of Companies.
Through Kaboko, under Shumbakadzi, Blessing aims to be the leading supplier of quality, dried, natural tasting, nutrient rich products made from organic plants and further support small scale farmers by buying locally grown produce from them, process and sell the products to consumers both in and out of Zimbabwe.