Flame Tree Initiative

Social Entrepreneurship for African Development

The Flame Tree Initiative partners with African universities to foster scalable, socially-minded businesses that accelerate regional change. We believe that training, mentoring and launching development enterprises -- businesses that confront global development challenges -- is a potent way to contribute to the new, innovative era in Africa.

Veronica and Milton, Glorious Natural Products

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Veronica and Milton's Story
We are a husband and wife team running Glorious Natural Products out of the home we share with our little girl, Retinah. In 2015, Milton’s mother was in her late 70s and constantly complaining of severe joints pains. She had been referred to several private clinics and her medical bills were piling up.

Finally, one doctor advised her to eat more foods rich in vitamin C, calcium and iron, listing baobab fruit among the suggested foods. So she added a glass of baobab juice with honey to her morning and evening routine and within a month her pain had significantly diminished.

And not only was she feeling better, but she was able to save money as her prescriptions were nearly ten times the cost of the baobab juice.

Baobab Superfruit Powder is just one of the natural products that Veronica and Milton are cultivating with individual farmers across Malawi. These products all address key challenges in both rural and urban areas including illness, chronic pain, and malnutrition, all at a cost far lower than standard pharmaceuticals and with no side effects.

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About Glorious Natural Products
Glorious Natural Products (GNP) is a Malawian-owned business that brings together unique, quality natural health products while promoting environmental sustainability and reforestation in Malawi. Our natural products are hidden treasures, crafted from indigenous plants with little-known, but potent health benefits. By farming them, we encourage local farmers to invest in the health of their local environment by creating an easy avenue to profit that benefits the local ecosystem, rural families, and the consumers who use our products.

 

GNP’s Impact

  • GNP will produce sawdust blocks from the milled shells of Baobab fruit to use as a source of heating.
  • GNP will contribute 10% of its monthly revenue towards community development in the form of soft loans for rural women to start small businesses selling baobab powder and other natural products.
  • GNP will undertake a reforestation project in flood prone areas, for natural trees including baobab trees, through trainings and awareness campaigns in collaboration with local stakeholders.
  • GNP will use 5% of its export revenue to provide bicycles for secondary school girls who travel long distances for their studies.
  • GNP will open its own processing factory where 70% of the staff will be women.

 

GNP's Fundraising Goals
GNP has grown quickly with no outside capital, but they are currently struggling to meet the huge demand for their products. They are looking to raise $2,500 to expand their business through the purchase of raw materials, small processing machinery and packaging. This money will go towards:

  • Outsourcing of raw materials for superfruit powder from local communities particularly women
  • A small electricity driven processing machine for powders
  • Packaging and labeling materials for GNP products.
  • Awareness campaigns for Baobab Superfruit Powder targeting the general public, the elderly and other food processing companies
Donate to Glorious Natural Products

Wangiwe, Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub

Wangiwe's Story

My name is Wangiwe Joanna Kambuzi and I am the co-founder for Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub. I have two years experience working in an entrepreneurial environment through different local and international organizations including my own company, Crystal Dazzle events, as well as Mzuzu Pitch NightYouth to Youth Empowerment, Dzuka Africa and Blantyre Entrepreneur Hub.

Under Youth to Youth Empowerment Network, I introduced a program known as IAM AN ENTREPRENEUR which provides the required knowledge and mentoring young entrepreneurs need to become innovative business owners who create jobs to help end unemployment in Malawi.

For the past year, I have been working with youth and women entrepreneurs in Mzuzu and I’ve discovered that while there are so many of them interested in starting a business, there are also many challenges that keep success out of reach. Issues like lack of access to information, a lack of mentorship and business advisory services, no affordable working space, and little to no exposure to local and international opportunities have kept many would-be entrepreneurs stalled. Most research reports indicate that over half of the population in Malawi lives under the poverty line and 60% of this population consists of unemployed youth.

 

This is a hugely underutilized resource because it is these young people that can help eradicate poverty.

Being an entrepreneur who experienced all of these challenges, I wanted to support other entrepreneurs in Mzuzu as they start businesses that will create jobs and contribute to the nation’s development. Through partnerships with my business contacts across Malawi, the Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub founded.

Our Mission

 Wangiwe and the Mzuzu E-Hub team

Wangiwe and the Mzuzu E-Hub team

Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub exists to provide co-working space and assistance to start-up and early stage companies by linking them to a network of services for success. We believe that growth in the number of small businesses formed, job creation, establishment of an entrepreneurial environment, and contribution to the diversification of the economy will lead to a better Malawi.

Innovative Approach

Our shared working space will create a community of well-nurtured entrepreneurs from various sectors as we build their capacity through trainings, mentorship, and exposure to business tools and resources. We will engage with the community and the private and public sector to leverage skills, resources, and knowledge for the betterment of the group.

By creating an affordable co-working space for entrepreneurs, delivering the necessary training and advisory services, Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub will create new opportunities and exposure for entrepreneurs both locally and internationally.

Our Need

Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub is currently fundraising $3,800 for the tables, chairs, and shelves we need to furnish our space in preparation for our launch. We already have several businesses signed up to rent their desks as soon as we can begin. Please help us reach our goal by clicking below!

Give to Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub

You can read more about Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub on Facebook and Twitter.

Trinitas, Tina Pads

Trinitas' Story

My name is Trinitas Mhango Kunashe, Founder of Tina Pads, a sanitary social enterprise.

I work with the College of Medicine at the University of Malawi where I coordinate a Global Early Adolescent Study project. For the past year, girls could miss my research sessions much more frequently than boys. Following up I was told they were in their menstruation cycles and because they cannot afford the expensive disposable pads sold in stores, they use a makeshift folded rag made from chitenje cloth that leaks within a few hours. These girls are forced to stay home because when they come to school, the chitenje leak and they get laughed at. This is such a painful and embarrassing situation that approximately 1 million Malawian girls miss over 6 weeks of school per year simply because they do not have access to sanitary pads during menstruation.

This experience rekindles my childhood shame and pain because I once got laughed at when my chitenje nyanda rag fell out simply because I also lacked comfortable, proper sanitary products. Nineteen years later, it's still happening and it pushed me to ask, if there's a period problem in Malawi, why isn't anything being done to fix it? Thus, Tina Pads was born.

Mission Statement

Tina Pads exists to support adolescent girls in Malawi to stay in school by delivering reproductive health education and reusable sanitary pads.

Innovative Approach

Reusable pads are offered through community-based distribution models, where we work with a network of community agents to sell pads door to door and use the community schools as points of sale. The pads last at least two years, providing a method to keep girls in school at a cost that is affordable to low income families.

By making affordable sanitary pads, delivering health education, and informing policy, Tina Pads creates new opportunities for women and girls to thrive as focused students, productive workers, and informed mothers

Donate to Tina Pads

Tina Pads has also been featured on the BBC and Global Citizen.