Roka Bags Africa
BOOST YOUR BUSINESS & ROBERT KITAVI AND JOHN KAMAU
Meet Robert Katavi and John Kamau, childhood friends and founders of Roka Bags Africa. Roka Bags Africa is changing the narrative of fashion in Kenya & East Africa by creating stylish, affordable & waterproof bags from redundant banners & billboards.
“Before we joined the boost your business program, our business was at the prototyping stage. We were at the onset of testing our product in the Mombasa market. Through the incubation program, it was instilled in us the need to incorporate the lean approach in our business and vital financial management and marketing skills that have consequently given us a competitive edge.
We had an exciting crowdfunding experience with compelling initiatives that inspired the support of our friends and family. Consequently, we managed to raise KES 80,000 that enabled us to not only introduce an Ankara finish to our bags but also incorporate an experienced Mombasa-based designer into the team. We apportioned some of the funds into marketing and the official launch of our brand in December 2020.
Since the Incubation program, we have been able to set up a physical workspace in Kiembeni, Mombasa. We have made over 150 bags since we started the business, created 10 jobs, and repurposed over 400 banners!
The vision for Roka is to penetrate the African market and become renowned for innovative, ecofriendly, and sustainable bags!”, they shared their experience with us.
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BOOST YOUR BUSINESS & DENNIS ONKANGI aND PURITY GAKUO
Kuza Coolers Limited comprises of two founders Dennis Onkangi and Purity Gakuo. We manufacture solar-powered freezers known as ‘Kuza freezer’ as a post-harvest solution for small-scale farmers and fishermen.
We are leveraging on renewable energy to offer innovative technological solutions that will offer both social and economic empowerment to the marginalized communities in Africa.
When we joined the Boost Your Business program, we were in the prototyping phase. Through the program, we have had an amazing crowd-funding experience that enabled us to not only create awareness but also get donors who enabled us surpass our target of KES. 250,000. The funds in a great way catapulted us to bringing our 3-month pilot phase to life with five small-scale fishermen on board.
Our pilot phase impacted the lives of the five fishermen who used our freezers for storing about 8,600 Kgs of fish on a monthly basis. Since our freezers don’t need ice to cool, they were able to save up-to KES. 10,000 cost of ice that they spent monthly.
Our constant interaction with customers in various market segments has been vital in improving our product in terms of model and performance. We have also established partnerships with some Kenya fisheries and Agricultural sectors.
Our vision is to make the world a better place through innovation and technology. ‘Kuza freezer’ embodies that vision through reduction of post-harvest losses, job creation, and reducing waste.
BOOST YOUR BUSINESS & Michael Kiwo
My name is Michael Kiwo. I am the founder of Pollucare Cleaners. It is an environmental conservation company that provides innovative solid waste management and recycling solutions. We offer door to door garbage collection services to Mombasa households, small businesses and commercial properties.
Boost Your Business has helped me to not only redesign our business model but also to focus on circular economy concept.
At the end of the incubation, Boost your Business helped us raise $300 which enabled us purchase some of the equipment for recycling organic waste. Our ultimate goal is to be the first company in Mombasa to recycle 98% of the garbage and to employ more youths in our county.
Best Fit Wears
BOOST YOUR BUSINESS & Agnes Akelo
My name is Agnes Akelo from Tudor, Mombasa. I am the founder and visionary behind Best Fit Wears. A clothing business that collects used clothing and repairs them for resale.
Through Boost Your Business incubation program, I have been able to upgrade from hawking to opening a physical location for my business in Tudor. This has enabled me to reach more clients and consequently increase my daily sales.
I envision Best Fit wears becoming a popular clothing brand nation-wide that adds value to pre-loved clothing.
Scented With Hope
BOOST YOUR BUSINESS & Tilyan Abdulrehman
I am Tilyan Abdulrehman, an Entrepreneur, Blogger/ Writer, and Human Resource Professional.
As an entrepreneur, I run my business, at the moment I am everything, I handle procurement, shipping, production, accounting, orders, and deliveries. As a Blogger/Writer, I tell stories about myself, inspirational stories, and share stories about people, from where they started to where they are now to inspire the youth. As a Human Resource Professional, I am a student pursuing my final year of the Certified Human Resource Professional Course, and I am also a Professional Development Trainer.
My business is called Scented With Hope, I create and sell handcrafted and hand-poured scented candles and I recently added Room and Linen Sprays to my product collection.
The BOOST your business training challenged me on how to make my business more circular, from the products I use to the packaging.
As an Individual, I have begun implementing circularity not only in my business but in my personal life and at home. I learned how to keep track of my finances and how to work on giving my clients value, I also learned how to ship products from abroad and learned from my peers as well. BOOST gave me an opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds who I may have never met if it wasn’t for the training, I learned a lot from each one of them. I learned various skills such as pitching and public speaking which benefits me as a Professional Development Trainer. I am currently in the process of re-branding and re-launching my business as a circular economy business, and this is thanks to BOOST and Close the Gap.
I see myself with more circular businesses in the future and Scented With Hope as my pioneer brand, being an international brand in the next 5-10 years. I cannot wait to see what the future holds.