Anne Wangui: Media Graduate Who Started Successful Business With Ksh10,000 Capital, Manufactures Jam, Sauce, Juice, Tea

Anne Wangui: Media Graduate Who Started Successful Business With Ksh10,000 Capital, Manufactures Jam, Sauce, Juice, Tea
Anne Wangui Photocredit/DailyNation

By Prudence Minayo

Anne Wangui is the founder of Umai Organics, a business that manufactures its products from tamarind. Borrowed from the Japanese language, Umai loosely translates to a delicious and tasty thing.

“I found the name a perfect description of ukwaju, (tamarind in Swahili) which has the ability to deepen the flavour of any meal. As for the name organic, it is because tamarind is in every essence organic, it grows naturally in the wild,” she told Nation in August 2022. 

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Tamarind is a popular ingredient used for juices and sauces around the world. Its health benefits have also made it a popular choice among people looking for healthy additions to their diets.

Anne hopes to grow the business to a point where it won’t have to solely depend on her. 

Here is her story as told by WoK.

Launching Umai 

Anne started the business in 2020 with Ksh10,000 as startup capital. She felt that the versatility of tamarind made it a good business idea. It could be used to make candy, chutney, tea, juice and soap among other things. 

With the capital, she bought a gas, cooking pots and several kilograms of tamarind. The tamarind is sourced from Kitui, Makueni and sometimes Baringo depending on the season. She uses it to make a number of products ranging from sauces, purees, juice and jam. 

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Growth and getting KEBS certified 

A month into the business, she was able to purchase a blender and bigger cooking pots. She also secured a loan from her family and underwent training at Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI). Soon after, she got certification from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS). 

Products and quality adherence 

The businesswoman mixes the tamarind with other products, such as, chillies, onions, mint and carrots. In the interview with the local daily, she revealed that they endeavour to make high quality products.

Hence, after the fruits reach their facility, they are pre-graded, stored, and checked for pests, rot and maturity. During this process, they get rid of the spoilt fruits and the good ones are stored in air tight containers. She said they maintain good sanitary practices and ensure all their ingredients can be traced. 

The products are packaged in food grade containers or bottles. Glass bottles are cushioned with bubble wrap to ensure they reach their destinations safely. Everything is recorded for traceability purposes from batch numbers to product amounts. 

Their juice is sweetened with honey and stevia, and comes in variety of flavours, such as: cardamon, cinnamon, plain tamarind, ginger and mint. 

They have a spread that goes well with hot dogs, bread, burgers and pancakes. The sauce is made using a combination of natural spices, chillies and herbs. The tamarind paste can be used to marinate as it adds flavor and tenderizes, and is made using the fruit pulp.

The company has the monthly capacity to produce about 3,000 litres of juice, 1,000 litres of sauce and1,000 litres of jam and paste. As of August 2022, they produced 400 litres of tamarind juice, 150 litres of sauce and at least 100 litres of jam and paste.


According to her, the products are meant for people looking for healthy, organic and nourishing foods. She has worked with various brands including Kui’s Kitchen, Pretty Basic Kitchen, Mapishi Plug and Leo Tunapika. 

They sell products directly to consumers through their shop and also online through their social media websites and platforms, like Jumia. 

The business has attracted a wide number of clients. They have delivered to various places across the country and have also gotten orders from Germany and Rwanda. 

Some of her products sell for less than Ksh200. 


Like any other business, she has experienced ups and downs. First, she was new to manufacturing field and had to figure things out along the way.

There was a time, she tried getting the products into supermarkets but it was so much work as most were not listing products after the pandemic.

The capital required for this and labour was also not readily available. As she took to the online space, there was the challenge of reliable delivery service providers.

Business Impact 

Through the business, she hopes to challenge people’s dietary choices. This is by showing that there are healthier alternatives to carbonated drinks.

She believes a lot of ailments can be cured if people adopted a healthy diet. The entrepreneur, who provides employment to a number of people, believes healthy does not have to mean boring. 

She has also helped to improve the lives of the people growing tamarind. In the past, some didn’t know the value of the plant hence most of it went to waste. Now, they get to earn an income from businesses like hers.

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