Lufefe Nomjana construit un empire avec 3 Dollars

Cette histoire est parue, il y a quelques temps déjà chez nos amis anglophones de How we made it in Africa.

L’histoire cadre bien avec notre philosophie chez afripriz: “Rêver grand, et commencer même avec peu de moyens”. Et, comme l’ont déjà prouvé des jeunes, à l’instar de Eric Kitoni, Danson Muchemi, Ludwick Marishane,  James Panaito, découvrez ici Lufefe Nomjana, un sud-africain de 28 ans qui a réussi à créer un empire autour des épinards avec un capital de moins de 3 dollars. Oui, il est possible de créer une entreprise fructueuse avec des moyens limités. Il n’est donc point besoin d’attendre les grands moyens pour commencer… Allez-commencez avec le minimum que vous disposez!

Lufefe Nomjana et son entreprise

Lufefe Nomjana est le fondateur de Espinaca Innovations, une entreprise constituée de boulangeries installées dans de vieux conteneurs rénové. Et qui produit du pain et d’autres produits à base d’épinards comme des muffins et des sandwiches. Elle dispose également d’un service de livraison par vélos pour ravitailler les bureaux et les consommateurs locaux en repas sains.

L’entreprise vient de lancer un deuxième café et une boulangerie dans le centre commercial Khayelitsha, grâce à un parrainage de groupe Virgin Active. Elle compte  ouvrir, le mois prochain, une nouvelle usine qui aura pour mission d’augmenter la production de son pain aux épinards qui est devenu particulièrement populaire auprès des consommateurs de Cap Vert. Mais comment en est-il arrivé là?

Commencer avec ce dont on dispose.

Lufefe Nomjana se rappelle comment il a commencé en 2012 avec seulement 40 Rands ($2.60) dans sa poche. Il faisait du bénévolat dans un jardin communautaire quand il remarqua qu’une grande quantité d’épinards dans la communauté se retrouvait à la poubelle. C’est ainsi qu’il se mît à chercher, sur google, les recettes à base d’épinards, et trouva intéressante la recette du pain d’épinards, de par sa saveur et et ses nutriments. Il réussît à convaincre un voisin de lui laisser utiliser son four avec lequel il prépara son premier pain.

Lufefe Nomjana a toujours eu un esprit d’entreprise et a été impliqué dans plusieurs aventures entrepreneuriales depuis l’école. Il a donc rapidement pu voir une opportunité dans la production de pain d’épinards dans sa communauté. Malheureusement, il ne disposait pas des moyens pour passer à l’étape suivante de réalisation de ce projet. Il décida de se tourner vers des investisseurs.

Et, après des mois et des dizaines de tentatives pour intéresser les investisseurs de son idée (sans succès), il réalisa qu’il n’aurait à faire qu’avec les ressources dont il disposait.
“Mais, de quoi disposais-je? Mon cerveau, 40 Rands et un voisin qui avait un four et un tas d’épinards”, déclare-t-il.
Son voisin lui permît d’utiliser son four la nuit, en échange d’une contribution dans le règlement de la facture d’électricité et de quelques miches de pain d’épinards.

Satisfaire la demande

Il commença par produire quatre pains chaque nuit, qu’il vendait dans la journée. Il est ensuite passé à huit, et plus tard, à 16. Ce qui était le maximum qu’il pouvait produire par nuit. Le pain était vendu à 10 Rands (0,65$). Cependant, il n’y avait pas de profit en tant que tel. Mais il gagnait beaucoup en réputation; et très vite, ils devint impossible de remplir les commandes des consommateurs.

«À l’époque, je me contentais de construire la marque de l’entreprise, et effectivement éduquer les gens sur l’alimentation saine. Je regardais moins aux bénéfices», Lufefe Nomjana.

En 2013, il approcha un gestionnaire de chez Spar et demanda d’utiliser temporairement dans un centre commercial local, et approvisionner l’épicier du coin  en retour. Sa capacité augmenta immédiatement à 200 pains par jour, et Nomjana commença à fournir aussi d’autres produits d’épinards auprès des compagnies et  bureaux locaux.

Il embaucha des commerciaux pour une commission sur chaque vente. Mais il remarqua que les ventes étaient entravées par les retards de livraisons qui se faisaient  à pieds. Alors il commença une campagne de crowdsourcing en ligne et très vite, il réussît à  lever suffisamment de fonds pour acheter cinq vélos pour la livraison, ainsi que des T-shirts à la marque de son entreprise. À la fin de l’année Nomjana réussît à épargner 45,000 Rands (près de 3000$).

Créer une chaîne d’approvisionnement

En 2014 Nomjana remporta le Prix SAB Innovation et empocha 90.000 rands (près de 6.000$). Ces fonds, avec ses économies, furent utilisés pour acheter du matériel de cuisson et d’un conteneur d’expédition rénové qu’il transforma en une boulangerie. Cela avait été la vision de Nomjana pour l’entreprise depuis le jour où il cuit son premier pain d’épinards. Aujourd’hui, il produit environ 500 pains par jour, ainsi que d’autres produits patissiers, et approvisionne des épinards biologiques des agriculteurs locaux.

Cependant, il note qu’il ya possibilité d’étendre la production à 2.000 pains, et prévoit d’ouvrir une usine dans la ville voisine de Stellenbosch dans les prochains mois. De là, il espère fournir à l’échelle nationale et, éventuellement, à d’autres marchés limitrophes.

Sa deuxième boutique, récemment ouverte, est à la fois une boulangerie et un café où les consommateurs peuvent acheter des repas sains et abordables. Par exemple, deux tranches de pain d’épinards sans gluten et une tasse de soupe fraîche leur coûteront autour de 15 Rands (1$).
«Et 15 Rands, ce n’est pas grand chose dans le canton», souligne Lufefe Nomjana.

Le capital intellectuel bat le capital financier

Lufefe Nomjana dit que son histoire est la preuve que les entrepreneurs ne nécessitent pas d’énormes capitaux pour démarrer une entreprise. Il conseille aux entrepreneurs en herbe de d’abord identifier les ressources dont ils ont à leur disposition et de comprendre comment les utiliser ensuite.

“Il faut donner pour recevoir! C’est ainsi la vie… Et, vous, qu’avez-vous à donner? Vous avez le cerveau, le capital intellectuel et qui va effectivement ouvrir de nombreuses portes pour vous. Donc, le premier capital que vous avez besoin, plus que l’argent, est le capital intellectuel. “

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