Sinapis’ Aspire Launchpad program provides early or idea-stage entrepreneurs with the tools they need to test their concept and build a scalable business model before committing extensive resources.
One of our 2021 Ugandan Aspire Launchpad program graduates, Patience Kamarunga, is ready for growth after opening a retail and wholesale chicken business called MamaCooko in November 2020. MamaCooko specializes in chicken processing and packaging that focuses on selling fresh cuts of chicken, such as drum, wing, leg, and breast. In many parts of the world, including Uganda, packaging chicken by piece is a luxury.
“[MamaCooko] is a one-stop-shop for all your chicken needs,” said Patience in an interview, “eggs, whole chicken, cut chicken… all of it.”
Until last month, Patience has been running MamaCooko on the side, operating the business from her home. However, after opening a storefront shop in a residential neighborhood last month, Patience is gaining the needed visibility to scale. While the storefront shop is one revenue stream for MamaCooko, a membership model where customers deposit money on a weekly or monthly basis and receive customized chicken packaging when they need it is another. This co-operative model has proven effective, as it creates a consistent revenue stream beyond walk-in customers and simplifies the buying process for the customer.
Patience acknowledges challenges to further growth. One such obstacle is the number of competitors in the chicken processing space. Yet, Patience has developed collaborative relationships with these other businesses, including another processor who supplies her chickens when she runs out of inventory, which creates value for all parties involved. Another inherent barrier to entrepreneurs around the world is the looming COVID-19 pandemic and the tumultuous market conditions that have ensued. In Uganda, a country-wide lockdown has led to an increase in foot traffic, allowing for more walk-in customers. Faced with adversity, Patience has turned these restrictions into an opportunity.
Prior to Aspire, Patience had never invested in a venture concept. While she had the idea, she was unsure of how to get off the ground or what to do next. Aspire equipped her with the technical skills and processes to start and maintain a business, along with the confidence to move forward. Because of recent growth, Patience has already added a new employee since opening last month and is currently developing a contract position for MamaCooko through the end of 2021. With newfound training, confidence, and success, Patience is optimistic about making MamaCooko a Ugandan household name in the next five years.