What you need to know:
- Triza Karimi Mwaniki is the Managing Director and Co-founder of Lynt’s Limited, a snack manufacturing company.
- We had no knowledge of making plantain chips or where to sell raw plantains. The impulsive decision led to significant waste, as my family of five couldn’t consume all 500kgs in such a short time.
Our primary focus is on Plantain Banana Value Chain Management Optimisation and Value Addition. Our company started from a unique concept that originated from the company’s founder and CEO, Lynn Mumbi Mwaniki, during her nursing studies in Uganda in 2016.
Plantains were an integral part of her daily diet. She proposed the idea of distributing and enhancing the value of plantains while I was still a university student.
I enthusiastically took up the idea. We procured the first batch of unbranded plantain chips from a renowned manufacturer across borders.
We conducted a market trial in Nairobi, and the response was positive. We pursued a distributorship agreement with the same manufacturer, which unfortunately didn’t materialise.
As a result, we decided to establish our brand, initiating product development, although not immediately. We registered our company in 2017 and product development commenced in 2019.
Throughout 2020, we encountered a multitude of trials, errors, failures, and frustrations. But we were determined to keep the dream alive, which led us to explore the option of product development and business incubation at KIRDI.
Unfortunately, the plan did not come to fruition. Nevertheless, we managed to create a solid product, Lynt’s Plantain Chips, by 2021.
To expand and legitimise our business, we rented a production facility, but our location posed major challenges in obtaining KEBS and food handlers' certification.
Consequently, we had to relocate, leading to the construction of a state-of-the-art production facility at our headquarters in Kahawa West, Nairobi.
We initially invested Sh2 million to establish the company. We have not yet reached a break-even point.
We recently expanded our team to scale up our business. We anticipate profits within the next two years.
We have encountered challenges, particularly in sourcing plantains. There is a limited supply of quality plantains in Kenya compared to the demand thus prompting us to import from Uganda, Tanzania and Congo during the low seasons, which is a costly affair.
My biggest financial mistake was in January 2020 when we imported 500kgs of plantains from Congo, without a clear marketing plan.
We had no knowledge of making plantain chips or where to sell raw plantains. The impulsive decision led to significant waste, as my family of five couldn’t consume all 500kgs in such a short time.
I save money through reinvestments in the money market. This approach ensures my money is safe and allows for the compounding of interest over the long term.
I once had a piggy bank but it didn’t work for me since it was limiting the amount of money I could save over a long period of time.
Risk-takers are history-makers. Don’t fear failure; It’s an integral part of entrepreneurship. Consider your failures as opportunities to learn from your mistakes, adapt, and persevere.