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How have you overcome your personal adversities to make a success of your life and business?

What values do you hold dear to you and how do you ensure that these transcend on to those whom you lead?

I have overcome my personal adversities by following the business that I enjoy and I understood. Moreover, when my husband died in 1994, I had seven children to raise by myself; so I needed to move forward in order to maintain my family. Basically, doing the business that I enjoy, my seven children and the eagerness to improve the surrounding community have been my great motivation into being successful in my life and business. I still believe that life will continue, albeit filled with challenges. However, I become a stronger person everyday such that now I am convinced that there is no adversity that I cannot overcome.

I value the sustainability of the economy, environment and social well-being of my community. I offer training sessions and hold events and workshops in my community to educate and sensitise my values into my community. I am aware that my mode of operation may not be the best for the next person but I have seen it work, and successfully so, in my life that I think that anyone who makes use of my principles will be on a firmer footing and on the right path to achieve success.

In your entrepreneurship journey, what have been the key business lessons that you have learned? The key lesson learnt is to learn by doing. If an employee has a new idea on how something can be done better that we used to do it, I allow the employee to implement the new idea. By using the try and error method we arrive at identifying efficient ways of working. Moreover, we offer regular trainings to our employees and organise field visits for them to learn from others.

What drives your passion for the sector that you work in? My passion is driven by helping my community improve. There are many initiatives that I am involved with, all intended to uplift my community. In particular, I invest more of my resources to projects that would empower women. I provide loans to women in the village who have better projects that can raise their household livelihoods, and I mentor them along the process of implementing those projects. Each year, I provide employment, in coffee production, to more than 120 women in our village which allow them to generate income for meeting household needs and investing in small businesses. It is my vision to reach a point where each of our women members’ household can generate, at least USD450 each month in the coming five years. This can either be through sales of coffee and other available source of incomes. I organise social community events that gather my employees and coffee farmers’ women, such as forest trees plantation, rehabilitation of roads, construction of terraces to fight against erosion, and renovating the houses of the most vulnerable people. Again, I sensitise and facilitate women in our community to integrate social saving groups through which they can easily access funds to finance their business.

What challenges have you faced in your career path and how have you used the same hurdles to spur you to achieve greater success? I faced several challenges when starting my company. Firstly it was insufficient finance at a time when I was seeing many opportunities to grow. But I joined different banks for loans to overcome this challenge. Secondly, working in the industry where the price is determined internationally was a big challenge, but building partnerships with specialty coffee buyers has, to some extent, stabilised the coffee prices, which has reduced the price risk.

Do you have any tips for up-and-coming women in the industry? Women who would like to come into coffee industry should have an idea about the general ins and outs of the coffee industry first. This will serve them in good stead as, and when they decide to take the giant leap into being fulltime coffee producers. This is not an industry for people who want to get rich quickly. A lot of work needs to be done before one can say that they have made it. As such, I would urge anyone interested in following this path to take whatever they do very seriously. They must be patient and not wont to give up very easily. Lastly, they must always remember that it is all about the customer and the community around you.

Are there any other thoughts/perspectives that you would like to share with stakeholders/readers? Coffee is not only a cash crop but it is also a social crop. Its production sustainability relies mainly on the improvement of coffee farmers’ livelihoods. This sustainability is about improving farmers’ skills on the application of good coffee agriculture practices, diversifying farmers’ social income, investing in their children’s education, and ensuring that farmers and the family members are healthier. Additional Source: https://soulcityroasters.com; http:// bufcoffee.com

Buf has very strong links with the local communities that supply it, providing jobs for hundreds of locals during peak harvest (May–June/July) and 10 permanent positions year-round.

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AFRICA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN 2017/2018

Profile for CEO Global

MIW Regional Digital Magazine 2017  

Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government – this annual publication showcases Africa’s most influential women across the co...

MIW Regional Digital Magazine 2017  

Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government – this annual publication showcases Africa’s most influential women across the co...

Profile for ceoglobal
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