Chikondi Michongwe has become the face of vegan lifestyle in Arusaha, Tanzania. This is because of her passion for plant-based diet and lifestyle. She co-founded Serene Vegan Company a food outfit that sources, manufactures as well as packages plant-based food and drinks. Her aim is to raise awareness and promote plant-based diet as well as address the stereotypes that a vegan diet is dull and tasteless. The focus of her company also fits in well with the various initiatives and campaigns aimed at promoting environmental and green issues on the African continent which is plagued by all manner of pollution.
Taking care of the earth
The range of Serene Vegan Company products include pre-packed meals, beverages and plant milk, herbs and spices, grains and cereals, nuts and seeds and gluten-free flours. Says Michongwe: “We are an environmentally conscious company that isn’t just passionate about physical health and clean eating, but also committed to a sustainable environment. We believe that if we take care of the earth, the earth will take care of us. We use biodegradable and recyclable packaging to reduce our carbon footprint.” She says while the Covid-19 cost pandemic destroyed economies across the globe it also created opportunities for them and they set up their start-up.
Ability to think on your feet
“We had to sit down and think of an innovative way that we could still offer our food to our clients. And that is when we decided to come up with a product range of our vegan-based food to reach a much wider clientele,” explains Michongwe. She said it is the passion and the entrepreneurial spirit that enabled them to pivot to a new venture instead of closing shop as most businesses felt victim to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Empowering local communities
Michongwe and her business have successfully positioned Serene Vega Company as the only vegan foods and beverage companies in Africa. She said they founded their company at the perfect time as the vegan movement is gaining popularity on the continent. Their products are sourced from the freshest local ingredients thus empowering the local communities. She has also assembled a committed team of staff who are hands-on and passionate about the company’s objectives.
Making positive impact
Michongwe says she always had a natural liking for taking risks and that is what drove her to become an entrepreneur. She says what she enjoys about being involved in business is the independence it gives her to manage her own time while also creating wealth. She also wants to make a difference by creating jobs in her community.
Michongwe’s long-term objective is to grow and expand Serene Vegan Company into becoming the only facility in the continent and in the world that creates plant-based products. She is also happy with the positive impact her business makes by supporting the local economy by way of including the local communities to be actively involved in the entire value chain of the plant-based sector.
More young female entrepreneurs
Michongwe’s wish is to see more young women entrepreneurs starting up their own business ventures and ensuring they compete not only locally but also globally. Her advice to young women entrepreneurs in the continent is that they should remain focused and be eager to learn. They should also network with peers and other successful entrepreneurs to draw lessons and inspiration from them. Embrace failure and see it as part of the growth journey and more importantly work closely with women as they will provide you with the support you need and inspiration, says Michongwe.