Since May 2018, mHub Malawi in collaboration with GrowthAfrica have been successfully running the Growth Accelerator, the first of its kind in Malawi with funding support from UNDP Malawi and Norwegian Embassy in Malawi.
Entrepreneurs selected for the accelerator programme go through a strict application process. Out of this, a few semifinalists are selected to battle it out through a pitching process and 12 of the best ventures are selected to go through the 1-year programme.
Growth Accelerator Malawi is currently running the second cycle of the programme. We are excited about the ventures in this cycle as they provide innovative products and services, the founders are ambitious and there is great potential for each venture to scale.
The entrepreneurs are being provided with mentorship, technical assistance and co-financing to support them in growing their businesses and improving their operations.
Here is a brief on the ventures:
Afrocentric Lifestyle aims to celebrate, (co)create and preserve African heritage by using bamboo and salvaged wood to create inspired bespoke furniture, and arts and crafts pieces. This innovative start-up brings together a range of local artisans that collaborate to create unique pieces that compliment and add signature African touches to the intimate living spaces of their customers.
Through the Growth Accelerator Programme, Afrocentric Lifestyle intends to do more than expand their production line by – simultaneously – doubling the number of women that they engage in their value chain. These women – identified from vulnerable communities will benefit from a combination of capacity building and direct income-generating opportunities to support their families.
Balaka Limeworks Supply Company Limited
Balaka Limeworks Supply Company Limited is a long-standing family business whose core focus is the mining and processing of lime. The company produces three (3) utility lime end products: calcitic lime for livestock feed; hydrated lime for construction; and poultry grill.
The venture has recently rejuvenated its leadership to complement an ambitious master plan to increase its market share by upping production through a streamlined process that will be made possible by the procurement of state-of-the-art machinery under the Growth Accelerator.
They are equally intentional and enthusiastic about meaningfully increasing their social impact footprint by creating income-generating opportunities for just under 100 women in Balaka. This will be achieved by engaging them in supporting the increased production by playing an indispensable role in the extraction process.
Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hazrat-pillane-21142762/
Green Gold Finance Company
Green Gold Finance is the brainchild behind a daring, multifunctional mobile financial services platform called M-Khusa. The USSD-interfaced platform has, at its core, the desire to enhance financial inclusion for Malawians in rural areas by providing access to critical financial services through this user-friendly method. Available services include money transfers; e-savings and investments; village banking management; loan management; credit ratings and many more features that open doors to alternative ways of accessing financial services that might not have been at the disposal of the target market.
Green Gold’s business model echoes its mission by being unshakably geared towards exponentially increasing the integration of local agents and merchants in its ecosystem. Furthermore, the venture acknowledges and strives towards strengthening technical engagements with telecommunications companies and strategic financial services providers such as banks for the continued stimulation of the fin-tech sector in Malawi.
Through the Growth Accelerator programme, M-Khusa intends to validate and concretise the robustness and reliability of its system to handle bulk transactions whilst creating income opportunities for agents and by increasing its active customer base through a coordinated series of marketing and recruitment activities.
Hortinet Foods Limited
Hortinet Foods is a Malawian horticultural enterprise that plies its trade in the banana value chain. The venture owes its provenance to the founder’s deep-seated desire to curb – and eventually substitute – the country’s overreliance on imported bananas.
Hortinet combines the management of a large commercial-scale farm as well as the incorporation of out-grower groups of smallholder farmers, a business model which allows it to meet its burgeoning demand from the hospitality and retail sectors.
With an increase in production a critical metric for Hortinet, from a sustainability angle they further intend to protect the genetic integrity of locally grown bananas by investing in a lab that will allow them to contribute towards producing bananas that are more disease-resistant.
Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/frankie-washoni-208710124/
Imani Investments manufactures a re-usable and recyclable mop fitted with plastic and aluminum handles. Traditional mops have relied on the use of young trees for wood to produce the handles and this has contributed to compounding the disastrous environmental issue of depleting natural rainforests in Malawi.
The venture – therefore – addresses a dual need of providing responsibly produced household cleaning utensils and – more broadly – contributing to the reduction of deforestation for future generations. The enterprise is headed by an ambitious entrepreneur with a vision to widen its distribution footprint to a nation-wide scale, from their current focus on the Southern Region.
Through Growth Accelerator, Imani Investments intends to upgrade its factory as a means to consistently produce enough mops to meet local demand and compete in neighboring markets.
Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/moses-nyirenda-95171840/
It is estimated that Malawi imports approximately 90% of its button mushrooms from South Africa. It is this state-of-affairs that led to the establishment of JAT Investments, a social enterprise that aims to shift the balance of scales to Malawi’s favour through its production of high quality, locally grown button mushrooms.
With support from Growth Accelerator, JAT Investment’s grand vision of stimulating the local button mushroom value chain will begin to take shape as they intend to focus strongly on empowering vulnerable youths in poor communities to participate in this high-value crop’s sector by developing satellite farms.
In addition to upgrading their production units and growing their own spawn with assets to be purchased under the programme, the combination of creating economic opportunities for youth and enhancing the venture’s operational efficiency is projected to result in a more vibrant and competitive market segment.
Jescal Enterprises is a steady growing peanut butter manufacturing company that prides itself in a natural tasting product. Their peanut butter is fully-certified with the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) and this bears testimony to the fact that they utilize superior raw ingredients (groundnuts), sourced from smallholder farmers, that have extremely low levels of aflatoxin making their product a safe, local choice.
Jescal peanut butter can be found in leading chain retail outlets. The biggest challenge that Jescal Enterprises currently faces is their inability to match demand for their product and in mitigation of this – through support from Growth Accelerator – Jescal plans to purchase a semi-automated production unit for consistent output.
Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charles-mandala-4b3b0051/;
MAINS is a furniture manufacturing company based in Mzuzu (Northern Malawi) that produces furniture customised for customers’ needs. Their aim is to innovate on existing designs to bridge the gap between form (aesthetics) and function.
Currently, their furniture is produced using steel and wood, but they are proactively shifting towards using more eco-friendly materials such as sawdust and recycled plastics for various finishing such as tabletops. Through the Growth Accelerator programme, MAINS plans to construct a new workshop and showroom fitted with machinery and solar power to support increase in production.
Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/george-makwenda-a94055151/
Mothers Choice is livestock farm and value addition center that provides an array of meat products including beef, chicken and pork. Mother’s Choice has an active vision to pursue excellence in meat production by looking to adapt to new technologies in meat processing. Mother’s Choice, with support from Growth Accelerator, plans to expand into a line of cold meats such as polony, salami, ham and bacon. The programme will support Mother’s Choice through the purchase of equipment and upscaling of their production factory and cold storage chain. Mother’s Choice is committed to uplifting local smallholder farmers and purchases almost exclusively from them in order to support sustainable income-generating opportunities along their value chain.
Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peggy-ngwira-3a6091191/
Perisha Agro & Packaging Enterprise
Perisha Agro and Packaging Enterprise is diversifying its portfolio by introducing a poultry feed processing unit. Perisha Agro is a horticulture farm that specialises in the multiplication of sweet potato tubers and cassava cuttings. Recently the farm has started adding value to cassava and sweet potato by processing into flour.
To curb the large amount of waste produced by this process, Perisha has produced a formula for poultry feed from the processing waste. With support from Growth Accelerator, Perisha plans to setup a factory and distribution system for the product and thereby penetrate a market in which they are well positioned for growth by having a steady supply of raw materials and off-takers.
Tina Pads is a social enterprise that produces re-usable cloth sanitary pads for women and girls. Tina Pads targets low-income women and schoolgirls to provide an affordable alternative to the synthetic single-use sanitary pad. Tina Pads, with support from the Growth Accelerator programme, plans to procure machinery to increase production and conduct a marketing campaign to improve awareness of the benefits of adopting their reusable sanitary pads. Tina Pads vision is to support women and girls in their hygiene and thus enabling them to be more active and confidence individuals, especially by curbing the latter’s absences from school during their menses as a result of not being able to afford a dignified alternative to the mainstream offerings.
Warm Heart Children’s Therapy & Wellness
Warm Heart is a pediatric medical rehabilitation center established to assist Early Childhood Development (ECD) through healthcare, education and nutritional services using a multi-disciplinary approach at private and community level. Warm Heart’s founder has a heart for children and the community and plans to make these services available in rural areas through a hybrid service delivery model that would allow the venture to competitively price what would otherwise be an offering out of the reach of the rural masses. Through the Growth Accelerator programme, Warm Heart plans to purchase a mobile van to conduct mobile clinics, upgrade the center’s facilities and invest in employee development.