Monday, September 25, 2023

Anga Mbeyiya: How our business raised Sh. 6.7mn capital in four months

Anga Mbeyiya is the chief executive officer at Mwani Blu, a business supporting seaweed farmers with access to technology, infrastructure and marketplace to scale output. Anga is from South Africa.

The company was started in September 2022. Since then, we have successfully acquired seed capital from BFA Global to support us conduct our proof of concept assignment in Kibuyuni, Kwale County, Kenya.

This company was started during the TECA fellowship which brought together different climate change enthusiasts to develop start-ups with innovative solutions on issues around the blue economy.

For example, lack of market access for the seaweed farmers is a huge challenge that Mwani Blu seeks to address and increase productivity levels using the ocean mapping tool.

Prior this to starting this business, I had the opportunity to study in Sweden where I was introduced to the seaweed industry. I have worked with various seaweed groups nationally and internationally, and this has inspired me to take the leap of faith to start a seaweed venture.

Seaweed is increasingly recognized as a multifaceted nature-based solution, with growing research pointing to its many benefits in terms of carbon sequestration, coastal protection, and as a nature-positive alternative to agriculture and fishing.

The seaweed industry in Africa has a bright future ahead as seaweed farming employs about 6 million smallholder farmers, with a $15 billion market value and an annual growth rate of 7 to 10 percent.

Initially, I commenced extensive marketing efforts without a thorough understanding of the target audience. This resulted in a lack of desired results and a low return on investment. Looking back, I should have created an ideal Mwani Blu customer prior to commencing any marketing exercise.

My greatest milestone has been getting seed capital from BFA Global worth $55,000 (KES 6.7 million). Along the way, I have won multiple awards and recognition. I am currently part of BFA Global with a network of 30 other great Africans that are also making waves in the sustainable blue economy.

I also won the South African Youth Climate Innovation Award and are the Mail and Guardian Protection of Oceans winner.

Be open-minded to learning and growing. It’s okay to  take  the  less  traveled  route because you will  learn  more  about  yourself in ways you can’t even imagine.

If I could travel back in time, I would tell the younger me  to  be  confident  in  my  work.

I try to save 15 percent of the income I get. I then invest it into different projects to ensure my investment portfolio is diversified.

Saving is all about discipline. It is a worthwhile undertaking that you should cultivate into a habit to start as soon as you can.

Personally, entrepreneurship is one great way to create an impact. It is a place for economic creativity, and you are not limited, you can grow, learn and make a positive impact in the livelihoods of people.

Damaris Wacera: What I’ve learned in 10yrs of business after starting with Sh. 150,000

For instance, Mwani Blu is looking to positively impact more than 2.5 Million seaweed farmers to sustainably produce traceable 1 million tonnes of seaweed by 2030 in Africa.

This will generate revenues in excess of US$ 2 Billion and sequestering 20 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere.

Working on Mwani Blu with my two co-founders, Wangari Theuri (Kenya) and Collin Mutungi (Uganda) has been an eye opening and fruitful journey. It’s great to see how Africans can come together under one roof to work towards a vision to help better the environment and community.

Our skill sets together have set us apart from the rest and my heart advice to Africans is to work with people who have the same vision and dreams, this will make it a reality quicker than you think.

A version of this profile feature on Anga Mbeyiya was also published in the Saturday Magazine. The Saturday Magazine is a publication of the Nation Media Group.

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