What you need to know:
Anga Mbeyiya is the chief executive officer at Mwani Blu, a business supporting seaweed farmers with access to technology, infrastructure and marketplace to scale
The company was started in September 2022. Since then, we have successfully acquired seed capital from BFA Global to support our proof of concept assignment in Kibuyuni, Kwale County, Kenya. This company was started during the TECA fellowship which brought together different climate change enthusiasts to develop start-ups with innovative solutions to issues around the blue economy. For example, the lack of market access for seaweed farmers is a huge challenge that we seek to address.
Prior to starting this business, I had the opportunity to study in Sweden where I was introduced to the seaweed industry. Seaweed is increasingly recognised as a multifaceted nature-based solution, with growing research pointing to its many benefits in terms of carbon sequestration, coastal protection, and as a nature-positive alternative to agriculture and fishing. Seaweed farming employs about 6 million smallholder farmers, with a $15 billion market value and an annual growth rate of 7 to 10 percent.
Initially, I commenced extensive marketing efforts without a thorough understanding of the target audience. This resulted in a lack of desired results and a low return on investment. I should have created an ideal customer prior to commencing any marketing exercise.
My greatest milestone has been getting seed capital from BFA Global worth $55,000 (Sh6.7 million). Along the way, I have won multiple awards and recognition. I am currently part of BFA Global with a network of 30 other great Africans. I also won the South African Youth Climate Innovation Award and I’m the Mail and Guardian Protection of Oceans, winner.
Be open-minded to learning and growing. If I could travel back in time, I would tell the younger me to be confident in my work.
I try to save 15 percent of the income I get. I then invest it into different projects to ensure my investment portfolio is diversified. Saving is all about discipline. It is a worthwhile undertaking that you should cultivate into a habit.
Entrepreneurship is one great way to create an impact. For instance, Mwani Blu is looking to positively impact more than 2.5 Million seaweed farmers to sustainably produce 1 million tonnes of seaweed by 2030 in Africa. This will generate revenues in excess of US$ 2 Billion sequestering 20 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere.
Working on Mwani Blu with my two co-founders, Wangari Theuri (Kenya) and Collin Mutungi (Uganda) has been an eye-opening and fruitful journey. It's great to see Africans come together to help better the environment and community. My heart’s advice to Africans is to work with people who have the same vision and dreams, this will make it a reality quicker than you think.