Youth unemployment is one of the major issues in Kenya, and indeed globally. Very many qualified young people are chasing very few opportunities. This is why the entrepreneurship route seems like a viable option to many youths in the country. But we all give the same excuses; no capital, no experience, no connections or no unique product or service.
But a team of four young Kenyans in Nairobi has proved that it is possible to double revenue in just 48 hours. Through the Centum Foundation’s Create in 48 competition, team Desert Anyone? sold enough chocolate fruit snacks to not only refund the Sh20,000 seed capital, but make Sh22,000 in profits, in just 48 hours.
It was not easy, as all entrepreneurs can attest, but it is possible and indeed this team led by Martin Ruga showed, very doable.
With the start-up capital, the team decided to make a banner to market their Desert Anyone start-up for Sh7,000. Their strategy was to set-up a stand at the Thika Road Mall from Thursday 12pm to Saturday noon. For the space, TRM charged Desert Anyone Sh12,000.
“It took a while before we started selling because we had to set up the booth and the chocolate fruit machine, as the banner was being made. We were concerned that Thursday would not be a good day to get foot traffic in the mall,” says Martin.
But when they did start selling, at around 4.30pm, the two young sales assistants (who happen to be Martin’s kid sisters), were literally asking everyone who cared to stop or listen to buy their deserts.
“One thing we learned about the whole selling experience is that Kenyans rarely say NO! Most will say, ‘Nitarudi’ or ‘Sio leo’.” adds Martin.
However, with persistence and persuasion, the team sold products worth Sh9,000 at Sh150 per chocolate skewer y the end of the first day.
With growing confidence and having learnt a few lessons the previous day, team Desert Anyone hit the ground running on the second day, selling deserts worth Sh23,000.
Martin says they noticed a trend where most customers bought the snacks in the afternoon towards evening, and young people were their main clients, although older folks would occasionally buy for their young ones. In addition, team Desert Anyone explored the option of office deliveries which proved to successful after few trials on day one.
The teams are assigned mentors and Martin remembers one of the mentors advising them to go for low hanging fruits. And this is exactly what they did, calling up friends and relatives to sell and deliver to them.
On the last day, which was a half day of activity, the team bet on bulk sales which brought them Sh11,000 by 12pm Saturday.
Due to traffic, Marting had to take a boda boda back to International Life House, where the team leaders were to present their earnings before the judges. After the judging process, Martin & Co emerged the winners with Sh42,000 of sales, taking home the Sh22k profit.
As a result of the big win, the team will get a 6-month entrepreneurship training and a 1 million cumulative investment from the Centum. Also, TRM invited them back to sell their products throughout the Christmas period.
Key learning points from Team Desert Anyone
- Kenyans rare commit face to face. Learn how to close the deal and when to walk away. ‘Na come’ is not a commitment to buy.
- Kenyans get fascinated with new products/services in the market. A few are adventurous enough to try but most rely on word of mouth, so customer care is very important.
- You can do anything in 48 hours
- Make use of your networks; family, friends, networks