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Viola Maina: Nation Media Employee Quits Job, Finds Success In Making Jam, Sauces From Gooseberries

Viola Maina is the founder and CEO of Gooseberry Delight Limited, a gooseberry value addition company.

Before venturing into business, the entrepreneur worked with the Nation Media Group, a leading media company in Kenya.

She resigned from her job in 2017, and went ahead to found her company.

Here is her story as told by WoK.

Background

Maina graduated from the University of Nairobi in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Political Science.

She worked as a freelance business executive at Nation Media Group’s advertising department for 11 years before she was appointed permanent senior business development executive.

Maina worked at her latest position for four years and called it quits to pursue an agriculture-related venture.

While admitting that quitting employment was difficult, she noted that it took her two years to make the decision.

She joined Smart Farm Africa as a commercial director, incharge of growing the company’s magazine sales and brand equity through  advertising both on print and online.

While working at the company, Maina got a chance to interact with farmers a better understand challenges that they were facing.

She purposely joined Smart Farm Africa so as to establish a relationship with farmers through field events.

In the course of her stint at the company, Maina recalls being introduced to farmers growing underutilised fruits, including gooseberries.

“KALRO informed me that there was a farmer growing gooseberries in Limuru, so I paid him a visit. The farmer, was very experienced and discussed the various aspects and benefits of growing gooseberries. I was truly intrigued,” said Maina.

It was then when she made the decision to venture into agri-business.

She held the position from January 2018 to April 2019 when she resigned to found her own company, Gooseberry Delight Limited.

With the help of Micro and Small Enterprise (MSEA) and the County Government of Uasin Gishu Ministry of Trade Department, the company was able to successfully launch and distribute a range of gooseberry products on the market.

Her company has focused on the production and processing of cape goooseberry fruits.

They add value to the popular fruit by making jams, sauces, juices and dried fruits, making it one of Kenya’s top producers of gooseberry products.

They also sell fresh fruits.

Gooseberry Delight’s hot and sweet sauce is their best-selling product.

The company sells at least 20 boxes, each containing twelve 250g units, as well as 10 five-litre bottles to hotels within Eldoret town.

Their products sell at Transmatt, New Yako Supermarket, Yako Household, Uzuri Supermarket and Tulin Supermarket.

They also sell at Eldomatt Hyper, Eldo Raiya Supermarket and Kenmart Supermarket.

The jam retails at Ksh 130 for a 250g container and Ksh 340 for 500g, while the hot sauce is priced at Ksh 172.25 and Ksh 212 per bottle.