EMRC talks to Wachira Kariuki, CEO of Classic Foods, ahead of this AFIF 2017, which will take place in Nairbi, Kenya, where Classic Foods has its headquarters.
- Since participating in the AFIF 2015 Entrepreneurship Award, and with a year gone by, how has this impacted your company? During the AFIF 2015, I met the team from Rabobank who have since provided funding to Classic Foods. Rabo Rural fund gave Classic Foods a $1 Million as part of matching grant for soya bean project in Kenya and Uganda that have partnered with UKAID (DFID) as well as matching grant for a new camel milk factory we are constructing in Northern Kenya which is arid area. The project is partly grant funded by USAID. The balance of the loan is for installation of a solar system. Classic Foods is implementing green energy production in our facility. The plan is to use 80% of our energy from solar and biogas by 1st QT 2017.
- AFIF is also about networking and meeting the right people, the right partners. Have you been able to connect with people/companies and if so who and what has happened since AFIF 2015?Yes, I have kept in touch with most of B2B contacts. As a result we have managed to get some grants from DFID through sharing of information.
- AFIF 2017 will be taking place in Nairobi Kenya, known to be a hub for commerce and trade in East Africa. What are you expecting to gain from participating in AFIF 2017? I hope to make more business contacts and opportunities. The sessions also provide great learning lessons which can be used in the day to day business.
- What advice would you give to anyone thinking of participating in the Entrepreneurship Award 2017? What inspired you and what benefits do you think entrepreneurs can gain from this? My advise to participants especially the Entrepreneurs is to make use of the opportunity to make the right contacts and learn from participants. The training sessions for the Entrepreneurs is critical for fund raising. Sharing ideas and experiences with other business people is key to success.