Marketing Strategy Helps Client Obtain Essential Funding
Kwithu Kitchen is a company with a social mission. Located in Malawi, Kwithu Kitchen is a 100% women-owned cooperative to provide improved livelihoods to rural women. The company started by processing tomatoes including tomato puree and chopped tomatoes, and recently received approval from the Malawi Bureau of Standards to sell tomato sauce and tomato jam. Furthermore, in a very short period of time, the company has quickly become one of the country’s largest honey processors and suppliers. Despite the early adoption of Kwithu Kitchen products in the community, the company still struggles to reach profitability.
“Kwithu Kitchen has enormous potential,” said John Keys, business advisor for Kwithu Kitchen. “PFS’s broad and extensive network of volunteers in a range of disciplines was very attractive to us. With one partner, we could get help help in a variety of areas.” To help Kwithu Kitchen gain a better understanding of their market, guide production, and develop marketing strategies to improve business growth, DSM’s Angela Bowman and Swayam Kher signed up to support a honey and tomato research project.
“I have been a senior analyst for business insights within DNP at DSM for the last seven years and am based out of India,” said Swayam. “I joined PFS because I wanted to share my learnings and knowledge with African clients who can improve food security, build better products, and serve customers with a good purpose.” Together, Swayam and Angela suggested a framework and established milestones for the project so the client could focus their efforts on developing key business tools such as a website, sell sheets and the Kwithu Kitchen “story.”
“Kwithu Kitchen has definitely seen the benefits of our marketing strategy project,” said John. “The volunteer’s advice was critical as we updated our website, produced more engaging collateral material, and thought through our retail supermarket marketing and advertising strategies and plans. What we appreciated most about Angela and Swayam is that they were able to take their experiences working with huge multinational corporations and distill their personal and company’s best practices to a much smaller company like Kwithu Kitchen.”
Angela, who is a Regional Key Account Manager in the Early Life Nutrition Segment at DSM, said it was rewarding to see the enthusiasm of the Kwithu Kitchen staff and the progress they were making in selling their products. “It can be easy to get caught up in our daily personal and professional lives,” said Angela. “My experience with PFS was a refreshing reminder that there is a larger world out there with opportunities to connect with others for the greater good.”
In part, because of Angela and Swayam’s support on the marketing research and strategy project, Kwithu Kitchen was able to update their marketing plans and financial forecasting methods, which are the basis for their updated five-year sales and cash-flow plan. This plan helped the company secure a concessional loan for approximately $90,000 at a 10% interest rate (commercial interest rates in Malawi often exceed 25%), so securing this subsidized loan is critical in helping Kwithu Kitchen secure essential capital requirements.
“We want to be a major financial and economic force in Malawi that can help increase the incomes of more than a thousand beekeepers and smallholder farmers and at the same time become a socially responsible and profitable company,” said John. “We are extremely grateful to PFS and its network of volunteers. Please keep an eye on us – you will be proud of where we end up!”