Overcoming Your Fear of Entrepreneurship
Mary Kipsang’ lives in Mitume area within Trans Nzoia County Rift Valley, Kenya. She is one of those women entrepreneurs who have always dreamed of venturing into a business but were scared of failure. This fear was mainly nurtured by the lack of sufficient capital and business knowledge. After some period of unemployment, she decided to attend a workshop called Jitihada Business Plan Training for Entrepreneurs during which she closely interacted with some of the participants. She was inspired by her acquaintances who were doing exemplary work despite the drawbacks encountered; they still had the spirit and motivation to realize their dreams. Mary was empowered to overcome her fears and decided to venture into the poultry business as a first step to establish a viable agribusiness. She set up the poultry in her own home and works with her three sons and a part time employee who assists the family in the preparation and delivery of the products. Mary purchases day-old chicks; she feeds them until they are fully productive and grown before selling them. She also ensures that their vaccination records are on track. Under a strict control of quality and hygiene, the layers produce quality eggs that are highly marketable.
Despite her lack of business skills and knowledge in poultry, Mary managed to find innovative ways to develop and sustain her enterprise. To increase her knowledge in poultry farming, she used various techniques: networking with her peers operating in the same line of business, studying agricultural books, browsing specialized Internet sites and liaising with suppliers to better understand marketing and distribution techniques to end-consumers. She also performed a research on feeding patterns, vaccination measures and equipment. Mary assigned the success of her company mainly to the innovative and unique sustainable feeding program that she designed to ensure that her poultry grows healthily. Thus, she developed effective rations from local sources and adopted four main feeding methods : 1) Free choice of feed ingredients; 2) Dilution of a commercial diet with a locally available food product; 3) Complete ration formulation using local feed ingredients; 4) Mixing a concentrate diet with the local feed ingredients.
Mary considered her enterprise as her main life achievement. Indeed, becoming an entrepreneur has boosted her self-confidence and has made her more receptive to new ideas. She has also gained business and management skills, valuable assets to ensure the sustainable success of her company. Mary started her poultry enterprise with a total of 40 chicken comprising 15 layers and 25 broilers in December 2014 and now has a total of approximately 900 heads as of May 2016. She now supplies quality poultry products at affordable rates in the nearby towns. She is also planning to expand her business at the national level and to add new services such as a dairy livestock chain and establish her own hatchery.
Mary advises her fellow women to “always realize their entrepreneurial dreams and work fast-forward towards achieving their ambitions for economic empowerment. Despite all the challenges, women should always think positive about themselves and shun away from negativity towards them.