Creating social impact with a yoghurt business

Kombeza Foods is a dairy company that produces drinking yoghurt. Kombeza Foods joined the Growth Accelerator programme in 2019 producing 400Litres of drinking yoghurt a day and working with a little over 20 low-income farmers in the Blantyre area. Mdingase Chirwa, the founder of Kombeza Foods had always had a heart for the farmers. Her parents were also dairy farmers and she was aware of the struggles of dairy milk supply in Malawi. Her personal experience thus motivated the decision to purchase a majority of Kombeza’s milk from low-income dairy farmers.

Kombeza Foods took a step and made an initial community meeting with a group of dairy farmers in Blantyre to familiarize with the dairy supply chain. This meeting was the birthplace of Kombeza’s community support programmes such as farmer savings schemes and animal husbandry trainings. This has since improved farmers’ economic and social welfare. With only a year in operation and support from Growth Accelerator Malawi, Kombeza has a supply chain of 110 farmers in Blantyre and surrounding areas; and they plan to grow even further.

Growth Accelerator supports ambitious entrepreneurs who have a heart for working with their community and improving the socio-economic status of individuals in the low-income bracket. Kombeza is a business that celebrates their farmers and wants to grow with them.

Grow Malawi. Grow Your Business.

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The Highs of 2020

Amidst fear and uncertainty of the year 2020 there was some highs we can celebrate. Below are some overall highlights of 2020 – what can we be grateful for:

Growth Accelerator supported an additional 25+ businesses:  In 2020, Growth Accelerator increased the financing bracket by introducing two programmes that served over 25 businesses in various sectors. The programme launched the COVID19 Special window in April 2020 and the COVID19 Tourism Entrepreneurship Challenge in the second half of the year. Both programmes offered up to USD40,000 in financing for each contracted business. The programmes aimed to manage the adverse effects of COVID19 in Malawi by supporting private sector activity. A highlight from the programme is that it has doubled the number of supported ventures in its second year as compared to the initial plans.

The programme implemented a strategic COVID19 response: The programmes launched in response to COVID19 promoted already existing products and services that assisted in the management and prevention of COVID19 spread in Malawi. These included products such as: hand sanitizers, masks production, hand wash and other PPE Materials. This was particularly important as importation of these key prevention items was restricted due to closing of boarders to curb the spread of the virus. The programme also supported services such as: delivery services, media production and counselling and/or therapy. The programme promoted the local industry whilst actively creating long-lasting solutions that would mitigate the impact of COVID19 in Malawi.

All ventures are operational: It is no easy task to run a business during the COVID19 pandemic. With millions of small businesses that have been closed around the globe the emotions for entrepreneurs where running high. We celebrate that all the Growth Accelerator ventures are operational and some recording growth due to innovative pivot strategies that sustained revenues during this challenging time. Some such ventures are: Mothers Choice, JAT Investments and Adah Seasonal Farms – all food providers that intensified door-to-door delivery services providing customers with their products even through the pandemic. Some ventures leveraged on their staff knowledge to create additional products and/services to serve the new needs that arose; for example – Warm Heart Children’s Therapy and Wellness started providing therapy sessions for victims, survivors and families of individuals affected by COVID19; similarly, Apex Medical Laboratories started offering private COVID19 testing to the general public; and Zomba Private Ambulances upgraded their services to accommodate COVID19 related emergencies.

Growth Accelerator cohorts are composed of ventures from different sectors such as: health, construction, waste management, manufacturing, agriculture and etc. These ventures have cumulatively employed over 200+ individuals since joining the programme and support value chains of over 6,000 people – most of which are low-income individuals in rural areas.

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Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science – 2021

International Day of Women and Girls in Science lands on the 11th February every year. In the wake of the COVID19 pandemic this year global theme is “Women Scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID19”. Aligning with this theme – Growth Accelerator Malawi would like to flag one of its own women scientists in the forefront of the fight against COVID19 in Malawi. One of our women-led ventures, Apex Medical Laboratories has been certified to conduct COVID19 testing for the general public by the Ministry of Health.

Kundai Moyo is a co-founder of Apex Medical Laboratories – a medical laboratory that works with a network of clinics and hospitals to provide laboratory services. Apex Medical Laboratory joined Growth Accelerator in 2019 to upscale their venture with purchase of additional equipment and deployment of their mobile specimen collection business model to service under-equipped and remote clinics in Lilongwe urban and rural. Through the programme, the venture has received technical business assistance, mentorship and access to equity financing for business growth.

Kundai Moyo is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Public Health – Epidemiology with Walden University. She attained her Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Liverpool and her Bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences from University of Zimbabwe. Kundai Moyo has blended her passion for health and her entrepreneurial spirit to run a thriving startup that has registered steady growth in the few years it has been operational.

We celebrate this exceptional woman in STEM.

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