New tasting tea, closer work with the farmers, focusing more on creating employment in developing countries.
The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you
Country of residence of entrepreneur
Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?
My name's Diana Gasana and me and my family came to England from Rwanda over ten years ago where we lived in an Asylum Seeker's accomodation in London to begin with before getting moved up north to Yorkshire.
In the decade we've been here my parents worked hard and got themselves off state benefits and it's from their hard work and determination that I look up to them and admire.
I'm currently studying Fashion Buying at De Montfort Leicester and over the summer I managed to save money from my job and bought fashion garments from Asia that I went on to sale to class mates and at local market stalls. Even though I did managed to make a small profit on the garments, when I do it again I'd want to travel to Asia and see the clothes in person because from buying them online they didn't look exactly like they did on the net.
Having said that, the business that I have been working on for a while is a brand new tasting tea and after carrying out extensive research in Supermarkets and local stores near me, I haven't found anything with the same flavours as my tea. I'm not only passionate about this idea because it's different from whats on the market or because of the huge market in tea but also because there's a huge potential in Africa and if the business was a success, jobs could be created for the farmers, people to make the packaging and transport. The people of Uganda, where I buy my tea, will benefit greatly from this giving them opportunities to send their children to school, medical care and generally help raise their standard of living.
I'm extremely devoted to this idea because I can see the unnecessary suffering of people their and my vision is about not only giving to charity to help African people but creating jobs from one of the many resources back home and not exploiting the staff by paying them less than they deserve.
I'm a very driven person and through my life I've tried quite a few business ventures but this one I'm most passionate and dedicated to because if it's a success it won't be just for myself and my family or investors but for the people in Africa.
About Your Organization
Country where this project is creating social impact
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The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
The workers in Fort Portal, Uganda will benefit greatly from this because they'll be receiving an earning that will give them the opportunity on improving their lives. I always think even if you have just 10 members of staff, that's 10 families that are benefiting especially so in Africa where a large number of people can depend and live on one member of family's wage.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
My vision is to create employment for people in Fort Portal and give them a chance to help sustain themselves. I would want to create a company like we see in every developed country where the staff would be briefed on their roles in the company, have staff uniforms and training for the staff using machinery. However simple some of these ideas are, I believe they'll make the company seem a lot more professional towards potential buyers of the tea if they were to visit the farm.
Africa has some of the hardest working people and with that it will make this experience and journey that much easier.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
Ever since we moved here, even before I first considered the idea, we always bought tea from this small tea farm in Fort Portal, Uganda and with the business they get from us and other customers, it's helped keep the business going for years and most importantly helped keep the farmers in employment.
Having a job in Africa no matter how little your payed means a considerable amount because they don't receive any state help therefore being in employment is the hugest benefit they have.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
My biggest competitors will have to be the well known brands such as PG Tips, Yorkshire Tea or Typhoo. However, what makes my tea stand out from these is not only the high quality but also the unique taste. The tea is mixed with exotic and desirable African spices that will make the tea stand out from all the competition.
The biggest threat I face from the competitors is them going out and finding the flavours and making the same tea as me but the way for me preventing that is keeping the ingredients that are mixed into the tea as a secret recipe therefore the taste will be unique to my tea only.
Select the stage that best applies to your business
Operating for less than a year
This Entry is about (Issues)
What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?
I'm currently at the early stages of my business therefore haven't had the chance to create a social impact with my business idea however, once the business is up and fully running I believe it will create a huge difference.
What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?
The biggest barrier I can see at this moment has been the cost of the tea bagging machine. They can be sold for tens of thousands of pounds which is a huge cost for a small start up business.
I've trolled the internet and successfully managed to find smaller machines that are cheaper however they don't produce as many tea bags at a time but they're a great start off point and as the company and orders grow suitable equipment will be purchased for the stage we're at.
Customers also have strong brand loyalties and the way to get them to try the tea would be on emphasize on the different taste and benefits to the Ugandan farmers.
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?
To begin with, tea manufacturing doesn't require a great need of energy use because the tea is typically plucked by hand and the only time machinery is really needed is for the packaging. This will be a good benefit environmentally. In addition to this, the tea and spices are all natural and no chemicals of food colouring are used in them.
As mentioned before the social benefit from this benefit is quite large because success for the business is success for the village in terms of creating income, workers being able to sustain themselves and this will be a positive on the whole for the village and as the business grows so will the Village.
The tea will be grown, harvested and packaged in Africa therefore, they won't be a high labour or manufacturing cost. This will help on keeping margins high with the most expensive stage being transportation.
The tea packaging machinery I've looked at also churn out numerous bags at a time and you don't need specialists for the machines as anyone can be trained in a short amount of time. This is all cost and time effective.
Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?
The great thing about today is that more than ever the crisis's in developing countries are aired for everyone of us to witness and this has given us a better understanding of the problems they face on a daily basis. This is a positive because with this knowledge, people are constantly coming up with new ways these hardships can be faced whether with creating employment, use of technology or raising awareness.
This will help developing countries because the social entrepreneurs will be coming up with new ideas on how to combat problems they face and in addition to this, there are a lot more aspiring entrepreneurs with high success drive and determination and all this can will benefit the developing countries greatly because everyone will be looking to do something unique, successful and which can create the biggest impact on the society.
What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?
The most rewarding aspect of this trip will be working with the farmers because it will not only provide us with a better understanding of what they do on a day to day basis but also give us a chance of getting to know the farmers on a face to face basis. I'd love to speak to them and get to know what their views are on issues such as how they feel working environment, if they could change or improve on something in their current job what would it be and just getting to first hand work on a real farm in Uganda will definitely be a priceless and an unforgettable moment.
My mother visited Uganda last year and she told us of the hardships she witnessed and I haven't been back to Africa since we came to England and all the stories of poverty I've seen have been on tv and I definitely understand it will be difficult witnessing poverty in certain areas we might go past quite hard. But this will drive me to want to work even harder and achieve more.
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