Meet Vera White, the entrepreneur who overcame adversity to build a food and spice startup
Vera White, the founder of Maya Enterprise, a startup that is adding value to local spices and food crops, is one of the few emerging entrepreneurs with lot braveries.
Mid 2017, she quit her job at the University of Liberia (UL) to start Maya Enterprise. With limited finance, the entrepreneur went on to manually produce snacks and spices including, honey ginger chips, coconut chips, ginger chips, ginger powder, garlic powder and more.
Almost two years down since she began her startup, Ms. White enjoys some moments that could not have come her way if she had not dared to be different. She has managed to increase her production capacity from 50 bottles of snacks and spices to an average of 200 bottles per month.
Also, the entrepreneur enjoys sale partnerships with popular supermarket including Monoprix, Era, Exclusive and the Falama Minimart, a Liberian owned business that is selling food products that are made in Liberia. Ms. White products have also appeared on trade fairs including, the AgroUp Trade Fair, a monthly event that GROW-Liberia has organized.
How it all started
Despite her startup present achievements, it has been her resilience that has led her into such a business venture.
Once in her life, she faced a financial situation that almost caused her to drop from college but she found a way to keep herself in college.
“I had to do more than one job just to settle this financial problem,” says Ms. White, remembering some of her difficult moments.
One of her jobs was a student registrar job at the Business and Finance Office of the University of Liberia (UL).
Finding a solution The job kept Ms. White in school but not for a long time. Her hope was ruined after the university decided to lay off staffs.
“I could not afford to be at the department because of the responsibilities that I had. So I used the money that I have saved to start something new,” she says.
Even though the authority of the university forbids student selling on the campus premises. Ms. White secretly sold snacks as her new business venture. She sold a small number of ginger chips, coconut chips and benne seed (Sesamum indicum) candies to students.
Demand drove Maya Enterprise establishment
Her products appealing taste gave rise in demand which moved Vera to start Maya Enterprise. Mid 2017, she tightens her belt and started production manually.