Wendy and Rick met with this participant who was definitely making progress in TechnoServe’s Upscaling program. Starting in 2003 in his home, Joseph Njer’s growth-oriented yoghurt processing business by 2007 was on a US$170,000 run-rate for annual turnover. The products are two size bottles of thick, creamy yoghurt drinks in vanilla, strawberry and banana. Joseph generally employed 6 people full-time and maintained his current job while supervising Aspen Orchards as needed. Mr. Njer has a business and accounting background, including a university degree.
The most significant barriers to Aspen’s growth were the limited size of the processing machinery, the demands for consistent high quality, and Joseph not having time to focus on his Aspen’s current infrastructure and future growth. From September
2006 through March 2007, TechnoServe assisted Joseph Njer in Aspen Orchard’s registration, bookkeeping, product quality, production capacity, and linkages to finance. TechnoServe also briefly contracted with consultants who provided quality expertise and machinery advice.
Even before TechnoServe interventions, Joseph left his main job in order to fully dedicate himself to Aspen Orchards & Dairies. He also had hired a bookkeeper to maintain his well-established financial records thereby freeing him to focus on growing Aspen. After the TechnoServe-hired consultants and activities intervened, Mr. Njer received a Ksh. 350,000 (US$50,000) loan from Kenya’s K-Rep Bank to improve capacity and product quality. His yoghurt production more than doubled; the quality is consistently high; his monthly turnover grew by 22% or US$3,820; 50% or US$1,910 which was attributable to TNS interventions; and he employed up to 25 people during peak production vs. a maximum of 15 prior to Upscaling intervention. Aspen products’ market demand continued to increase among his current and potential regional customers.
When interviewed at the closing of the Upscaling Program Pilot, Joseph stated, “With TechnoServe’s help my business is now seven times the size prior.” He was so excited about both TechnoServe and his progress that he has committed to mentoring a group from the top 300 candidates in Believe Begin Become.