Kimplanter seedlings and nurseries, a youth and women-led organization, is a fast-growing certified propagation company specializing in seedlings propagation for vegetables, fruits, herbs, and trees. Crowned among the 200 beneficiaries of the agribusiness program funded by the European Union and Danida, the company situated in Ruiru, Kenya, is also in the value-added market where they offer extension services to farmers.
“Our main objective is to ensure farmers are getting better yields from the seedlings they pick from us and multiply their produce. Once they have bought our seedlings, we advise and offer after-sale services to them for free,” says Caroline, the founder of Kimplanter seedlings.
The seedlings company mainly focuses on engaging the youth and women as the workforce with, all of their 12 employees being below 35 years of age, an indication that farming is for people of all ages and the youth should look for opportunities beyond the white-collar jobs.
She further explains that the youth should be empowered and informed that they can still farm, earn decently, and live a good life without worrying. “We have started an online campaign that sensitizes the youth on the benefits of venturing into agribusiness, shift their mindset and positively view farming as a form of food security,” she says.
As an agripreneur, she had long term goals she needed to achieve that were not easy before Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) came on board. AgriBiz focuses on scaling up youth and women in agribusiness by providing business advisory, marketing, and partnership opportunities. The program has helped scale up her business drastically.
“Right now, I can easily pitch my products to an investor using a business model canvas which is a very simple summary of my business. This is something I have learned through this program,” she explains.
She has gotten links to partnership opportunities especially in the market place and proudly informs KCIC CEO Edward Mungai that being linked to big companies for collaborations is the best thing to ever happen to her company and that this could not have been possible without KCIC giving her the enabling environment.
“We are already enjoying the benefits of this program and we look forward to getting funding to take our business to the next level, from a manual seedling operation to a machine operated one which will help increase our production and create more job opportunities,” she adds.
Located in Kiambu, Caroline advises young people who would like to venture into farming to start at where they are. “Let someone come to accelerate and support your business. Be open-minded and start where you are,” she says.
She is grateful to EU, Danida, and KCIC for supporting upcoming entrepreneurs and encourages other small business owners to find value in the program that has so far brought a positive change in the agribusiness field by empowering youth and women.