“She’s an amazing entrepreneur and I’m lucky to have met her!”
On meeting entrepreneur Jacky, she was (and still is) a softly spoken, unassuming and pleasant woman who regularly delivered 10-15 home-cooked lunches to shop vendors. Her lunch-delivery service was new, but the one lunchtime I spent following her around revealed that demand was vastly outstripping supply. The moment anyone opened her containers, everyone in the shop wanted to eat; and as she was just one woman, she just couldn’t feed them all!
One of the biggest problems for Jacky was that the lunchtime window was small: she had to deliver her lunches as close to 12 noon as possible for her customers to have enough time to eat and get back to work. This imposed a limit on how many lunches she could feasibly sell, discouraging her from making more. After sitting down to innovate her Business Model Canvas, we decided to test using a Boda-Boda driver to deliver to a sub-section of her regular clientele. This would allow her to reach more customers in time, but Jacky was initially worried that the sight of a driver delivering their food would discourage people. In reality however, they loved it: when she visited them later to collect her containers, they were full of praise for the punctual and professional young man! Consequently, she was automatically able to increase her sales. The driver soon became a crucial aspect of her business, as on the third week of the programme, she secured a contract with a small office in a different part of town to supply five meals at 12:30 every day.
Jacky wanted to expand her product range to include yoghurt after observing how expensive it was in the supermarkets. In a survey of her existing customers, we discovered that there was a strong perception of her being clean and hygienic, and this gave her a competitive advantage over other delivery women and street vendors. A few days later, she created samples of strawberry and vanilla flavoured yoghurt and took them to the vendors of Kericho, selling out within 30 minutes! Many people praised the quality and couldn’t believe it wasn’t bought at a store. When she returned with her lunches the next day, she had an order for 21 litres!
When we talked about her Key Activities , we realised Jacky went to the market every evening to buy food for the next day’s lunches. This seemed inefficient to us, but when we questioned her she admitted that she did not feel as though she had enough cash to buy ingredients in bulk (which would save both time and money). Our survey demonstrated that Jacky’s value proposition (or unique selling point) was her high-quality, affordable and delivered lunches, and subsequently there was not much room to raise prices or reduce her costs. However when we eventually sat down to review her finances, we calculated that once she officially paid herself a wage, the business had a lot more money than she realised! As a result, she now feels able to take advantage of bulk discounts and increase her gross profit margins without compromising on customer satisfaction.
It is one week before pitching documents were due, Jacky wanted to use the loan for bigger plans to satisfy her ever-growing demand and towards equipment to produce her yoghurts on a larger scale. She now employs two Boda-Boda drivers to deliver her lunches and is considering hiring someone to help her in the kitchen; one day she wants to own a kitchen closer to her customers and have a brand recognised across Kericho. All Jacky’s ideas have been her own, and our input has been limited to helping her focus and realise her potential – she’s an amazing entrepreneur and I’m lucky to have met her!
Khalia Ismain, ICS Volunteer, Kericho, Kenya 2015