MAKING THE SHIFT FROM MANUAL TO AUTOMATED AND MECHANIZED PRODUCTION LINES
Most entrepreneurs do not have the luxury of a robust budget to start their business. They fund their business through their own savings, small bank loans or informal loans. As such most of their initial processes are manual. Growth Accelerator aims to work with such entrepreneurs and help them automate their production.
Growth Accelerator launched in July 2018 and officially announced its first cohort of 11 in January 2019. Of this cohort most aspired to automate their manual processes through the purchase of heavy-duty machinery to support their anticipated increase in production. Though support from Growth Accelerator six of these ventures have received and installed their machinery. Detailed below are their stories:
Infinity Energy Solutions Ltd, an energy company that ventured into the manufacturing of briquettes from charcoal dust, agricultural waste and soil as an alternative cooking fuel to charcoal. In January 2019 they could only produce 220 bags of their briquettes with a small machine from the site of a run-down local bar in a market place. As of September 2019, they have moved into a new premise and purchased a heavy duty briquette machine that allows them to produce 4 tonnes of briquettes per day. This has tripled their revenues and positioned them to better serve their industrial clients.
Tehilah Bakery and Value Addition Center produces brown and white bread containing 60% orange fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) as a nutritious alternative to wheat bread. With support from the programme, they purchased a heavy duty pressure cooker and baking ovens that enabled them to continuously supply OFSP bread despite shortage of sweet potato. They initially had a smaller oven and manually used charcoal burner to process the sweet potato puree stored for future use. Tehilah has in-turn consistently supplied bread to 13 peri-urban outlets in Blantyre and support a supply chain of 1,200 rural farmers.
Wijays Enterprises is a detergent and soap manufacturing company in Lilongwe. The company was previously stationed in the owner’s garage with a sales outlet in one of the largest local markets in Lilongwe. With support from Growth Accelerator, Wijays has not only moved into a new premise but automated their liquid soap production with 2,000L machine and an automated packaging system.
Thanthwe Farms is a horticultural farm that was looking to add value to the various crops on their farm. The farm is working on a range of teas with key ingredient Hibiscus and lemongrass. Through the Growth Accelerator programme, the farm has purchased teabag making machine and a dryer to process the hibiscus, lemongrass and other fruits and vegetables.
Truss Group is a recycling group that processes plastic into a variety of end-products such as interlocking bricks and park benches. With support from Growth Accelerator the venture purchased machinery to melt and mold plastic to create the end-products. They initially used a manual press and other small gadgets to create their products in the peri-urban area of Ndirande, Blantyre.
Apex Medical Laboratories is a medical lab that works to improve access to medical diagnostic tests for communicable and non-communicable diseases through a mobile collection service from local under-equipped laboratories, clinics and hospitals. Apex has furnished their laboratory with state of the art medical equipment that has serviced a wide range of tests and patients.
Growth Accelerator is a 12-month acceleration programme for post-revenue, high impact businesses that want to grow and scale. A large part of this growth and scale is incorporating advanced production processes and systems. Detailed above are some of the success stories from the 2019 Cohort ventures that received support from Growth Accelerator.