ACCESS! WAS REALLY GOOD FOR MY BUSINESS

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 The recent economic downturn and drought conditions in Kenya prompted Margaret to start thinking about new directions for MACE Foods. Kenya’s       Export Promotion Council, the ACCESS! Country Focal Point, encouraged Margaret to attend the ACCESS! sector training on horticulture export which   includes post-training mentorship support. Margaret says she wasn’t immediately convinced, ‘I was a bit reluctant at first to let a stranger come in and   look at my business. But then I thought, what is the worst that can happen? And in the end it was really good for my business.’

 The ACCESS! business mentor reviewed some of the challenges MACE was facing. Margaret says the approach was very useful, ‘There are times when   you can’t see the forest through the trees. It is really helpful to have someone come in from the outside and look in with a fresh pair of eyes. The   ACCESS! programme took me out of the forest and into a helicopter to really look at the direction I was heading in.’ Margaret says the business mentor assigned to MACE Foods helped her reassess her financial planning and to reshape her overall strategy.

  One of the outcomes of the support from the ACCESS! Mentor was the strengthening of MACE Foods’ position in the local market, by developing new    packaging and distribution strategies. In the export markets, MACE Foods is now developing higher value-added product lines, while capitalizing on a    decade of experience as Kenya’s pioneer exporter of premium African Bird’s Eye chilli. The company has been instrumental in getting seed  certification   for Kenyan Bird’s Eye chilli and will be the first to offer this seed in the world market. In addition, MACE Foods has obtained Fair Trade certification, which has boosted its trading profile.

Margaret’s advice for other potential businesswomen is:

‘Women really have to fight to come out of their shell. Even after ten years in my business, I still face obstacles every time I go to the bank! Even my own male employees are reluctant to take instruction from me because I am a woman. We have to let everyone know that what women are doing is not to be diminished. ‘

 

 

 

About EPC

The Export Promotion Council (EPC) premier mandate is to support exporters and producers of export goods and services. Established in 1992, EPC’s primary objective was to address bottlenecks that were facing exporters and producers of export goods and services with a view to increasing the performance of the export sector.
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