Botswana has a great agriculture heritage, but the exciting opportunities for young entrepreneurs in country are to be found in taking that heritage and creating innovative value-add businesses. For one young woman entrepreneur in Maun, Nonny Penelope Wright, founder of the Sereledi dairy brand, this was the inspiration for the creation of her agri business, Lopey Inc.
LoA met with the inspirational Nonny Penelope Wright recently at the Lioness Lean In event in Maun.
What does your company do?
At Lopey Inc, we run a dairy producing and processing company where we produce raw milk and further process it into fresh milk, drinking yogurt and madila. Our brand is known as Sereledi.
“Lopey Inc is currently the youngest female run dairy in Botswana and we run a complete dairy value chain from raw milk right through to products for the consumer which are local and fresh.”
What inspired you to start your company?
I was raised in a farming family and have always been passionate about farming. When I came back home in 2013, I decided to start farming and I fell in love with the dairy business.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Lopey Inc is currently the youngest female run dairy in Botswana and we run a complete dairy value chain from raw milk right through to products for the consumer which are local and fresh.
Tell us a little about your team
I run a team that consists only of millennials from Maun. It is an energetic, timely and passionate team that I try encourage to work ‘hand in hand’ to ensure they have work in our community.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My entrepreneurial journey has so far been exciting but rocky. There have been many low moments in the business, but I have always found a solution around the challenges. As a young woman, I find that many people at first undermine my capabilities or don’t take me seriously, but I have learnt to prove myself and work to my best potential. I also had to learn that compliance is very important, something that a lot of youth complain about - but I never took that as a challenge, instead as a goal. It has allowed me to gain access to opportunities that some find difficult and choose to call them closed doors.
“We aspire for our Sereledi range of products to be of international standard and for our brand to be a leading dairy product in Botswana.”
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We are working towards increasing our raw milk production in the North West and to getting our Sereledi branded products into National stores. We aspire for our Sereledi range of products to be of international standard and for our brand to be a leading dairy product in Botswana.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Knowing that something I have nurtured is blossoming and becoming a reality. Watching it all grow even in tough situations makes my everyday life worthwhile.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Business all starts with its birth. If you can’t stomach it, love it, and gracefully deliver it, it will be meaningless.
Contact or follow Lopey Inc.
Why LoA loves it….
Africa needs successful local agribusinesses to grow and thrive in the communities they support, and especially for a new generation of ambitious, innovative young agripreneurs to emerge. Nonny Penelope Wright is a wonderful example of what can happen when you see visionary, hard working, young people rise to the socio-economic challenges in their communities and countries and find the solutions needed. This is one young agripreneur to watch over the coming months and years as she makes a much-needed contribution to Botswana’s agribusiness value chain. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa