Name: Rethabile Lesenyeho
Business Sector: Manufacturing
Location: Maseru, Lesotho
In no more than 150 words, what does your business do and why should you make the Start Up Battle final?
We manufacture Arundo donax L. (or giant reed which is our raw material of interest,) weaved timber furniture of all designs and sizes, but currently focusing on the laundry baskets, fruit baskets and dustbin production line. The craft work brings in financially and environmentally viable solution to the highly invasive reed species for we view its invasive nature as a competitive advantage to meet our raw material demand which directly correlates with product demand. We process harvested reed stalks and weave them to the already engineered timber structures through a well designed industrial process flow which cost effectively enable us to produce systematically according to our workforce. We are based at Oblate Scholarsticate next to The National University of Lesotho, Roma in the district of Maseru, Lesotho. For a period of 10 months in operation with only two six months trading legally we have raised our start-up capital with funding worth of 0.21 Million Maluti (Lesotho Currency) from different funding bodies through winning three consecutive national youth entrepreneurial pitch competitions (Boliba Savings and Credit, The Hookup Dinner and Maluti Mountain Brewery kickstart program) with 5 staff complement capable of producing 20 baskets per week. We currently have 16 staff complement at training that we hope will produce 150 baskets per week. With our on-board negotiations with two largest laundry baskets retail stores, one demand 1000 baskets per week (Mr Price Home) and another has not yet specified their demand, all we know is they are interested in having our laundry baskets in all their stores in eleven countries across Africa (Game Stores). We are yet to test the Canadian market November 2016 and September 2017 at Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal through the TFO Canada office and Ministry of Small Businesses and Cooperatives Lesotho after receiving a training workshop from TFO Canada November 2015. Redefination of waste (invasive species), the labor intensive nature of our work and the high demand of our products promises an invasively organic positive contribution to the world. Our waste management plan from our operations include a dynamic arundo donax L. value chain to counteract waste generated and its invasive growth nature when cultivated, from the species off cuts and polymer resins we have arundo chipboard manufacture, wastewater and water treatment with basic arundo powder mixture and lastly we are looking into producing bio-fuels/biodiesel from commercially cultivated arundo. We have partnered with NAFCOCO, Arts & Crafts Explorers Innovation Hub and Technology Incubation Group of the National University of Lesotho to facilitate research based academic entrepreneurship.
How much investment are you looking for US$
2 000 000.00
What will the money be used for?
To pioneer and facilitate the furniture manufacturing expansion to meet the customer demand, this will be achieved by increasing the worksforce, production line equipment, workplace, distribution from our plant to various parts of the world (Canada being the first through TFO Canada), logistics digital marketing and advertising. Pilot the research findings that let to the whole arundo value chain which include, (1) Commercial cultivation of arundo, (2) Waste arundo-polymer resin chipboard manufacture, (3) Waste arundo-sodium hydroxide reagent for industrial and domestic water treatment, (4) Biodiesel production through plant based ethanol preparation based chemical reactions.