Happy World Entrepreneur's Day!

Green Ventures founder, Marko Chiumia, at their operations center in Nkhata Bay district, Malawi.

Green Ventures founder, Marko Chiumia, at their operations center in Nkhata Bay district, Malawi.

Today is World Entrepreneur’s Day! We celebrate social entrepreneurs in East Africa and around the world who are working to uplift their communities by delivering innovative solutions to development challenges. On the final installation of our three-part series, social entrepreneur, Marko Chiumia, tells us his hopes and dreams for the future of his rebranded business, Green Ventures, and his hometown of Nkhata Bay district in Malawi.

Bigger Solutions for Bigger Problems

When Marko launched K-Farm Centre in 2017, he envisioned a social enterprise that could provide sustainable farming solutions to rural families in Malawi. Coming from a family of farmers, he has a personal understanding of the hardships that farmers in Malawi experience. He knows the ironic reality that the ones who grow food are oftentimes the hungriest. In understanding the intricacies of the development issues faced by farmers, he feels compelled to provide greater solutions that could benefit his community. “K-Farm Centre focused on sustainable farming...but the environment has cross-cutting issues which encompass agriculture as well as biodiversity conservation, aquaculture, energy, and waste management sectors,” says Marko. This month, after completing the rebranding process, Marko presents his social enterprise as Green Ventures. “I decided to change from K-Farm Centre to Green Ventures. Green Ventures has a more holistic approach to the development challenges that affect rural farming communities. We have added products like clean cookstoves, solar lamps, briquettes, fish and livestock feed, and beehives,” says Marko. With a more diverse product portfolio, Marko and his team have set in place more social impact indicators. “Improved soil fertility, reduced deforestation, increased access to clean energy and reduced indoor air pollution, job creation and income generation from farm wastes are going to be our major social impacts.”

Looking Forward

With a rebranded social enterprise, Marko is setting his sights on a better future for himself, his family and his community in Nkhata Bay. “Our future goal is to establish a network of 21 Eco-Green Shops countrywide offering more people access to life-changing products that could improve their livelihoods,” says Marko. Additionally, “Green Ventures will positively affect the Njiri and Chigwere communities of Nkhata Bay by reducing fertilizer costs and providing additional income from farm wastes sales and job opportunities such as waste aggregators.” Marko hopes that through Green Ventures, families, including his, could improve their economic wellbeing. Looking forward, Marko says, “Green Ventures will help me provide adequate support for my family.”

While Marko notices a marked improvement in his business and leadership skills, he admits that he still has more to learn. In order to scale, he will continue to work on improving Green Ventures’ human resource planning, product marketing, as well as its daily operations. Beyond that, Marko hopes to gain additional funding for machinery.

Collective Support for Social Entrepreneurship

“Supporting Green Ventures and any other social venture is a wise step that anyone can take that will enable marginalized and vulnerable communities to have access to eco-friendly and life-changing products. It is important to build the capacity of sustainable agriculture to achieve the goal of optimized social impacts via innovative distribution models,” Marko explains. While he is a relatively new entrepreneur, Marko demonstrates that social entrepreneurship is an effective way of tackling development challenges. Through the support of Flame Tree Initiative, grant-making institutions and a loyal customer base, K-Farm Centre, now Green Ventures, has proven its potential to generate transformational impacts in Nkhata Bay and beyond.

This World Entrepreneur’s Day, join us to create awareness for social entrepreneurs like Marko and celebrate their innovation and leadership in East Africa and beyond. Here’s how you can help:

  • Learn how social entrepreneurship transforms communities in East Africa. Sign up to receive Flame Tree Initiative’s newsletter.

  • Follow Flame Tree Initiative on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and share our updates and alerts. By following our social media channels, you can learn more about the social enterprises that we support, including Green Ventures!

  • Donate today and help Flame Tree Initiative foster scalable development enterprises that have measurable economic, social, and environmental impact.

Want to continue following Marko’s story? Follow Green Ventures on their website.