Putting the B(ee) in Business

Deborah Mburu’s mother started selling honey to her friends for fun, but her daughter saw a way to turn this hobby into a thriving business.  After learning more about entrepreneurship through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women online course on Coursera, Deborah is driving towards becoming the leading supplier of high-quality natural products in Africa and beyond. In her own words, here is her story:

Hello, I am Deborah Mburu, CEO of Dees Natural Products Limited, based in Nairobi, Kenya. I have been running my business for over a year and I’m passionate about what I do. With the skills and knowledge I’ve learned through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women courseI have a clearer sense of how I can grow my business to reach more customers and expand our product lines.

My mother used to source natural honey from rural Kenya and sell it to family friends, church members, and neighbors. She had a lot of repeat customers, but always told me she was selling the honey as a hobby, not as a business. I saw so much potential for growth in what she was doing – and I knew that with proper structures, marketing, packaging, and planning we could make this a sustainable and viable business. 

I formally registered a company in order to sell honey in a more efficient and scalable way.  My next step was to enroll in the Grow Your Business with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women course. Thanks to the skills and networks I’ve gained from the course, I now have a vision for the future of my business.  

The 10,000 Women program really opened my eyes to the world of business. 

Thanks to modules like Assessing Your Business Growth Potential and Evaluating Your Opportunity, I am better able to critically assess opportunities and pursue the ones that generate value for my business.

In a little over a year, I have expanded my product range from natural honey to other product lines. I now employ ten staff members and distribute to 3 counties in Kenya, where my clients include 5-star hotels and major restaurants.

I’m also more open to ideas which I hadn’t thought were possible in the past, such as taking on loans to finance growth. With the confidence I’ve gained from these new insights, I’m better able to achieve long-term milestones––for example, I’ve pursued official organic certification for my products to further build the brand’s credibility.

I love being part of a global network of women entrepreneurs.  

I realized first-hand the benefits of global collaboration that the course encourages. For instance, through a connection with a Pakistani graphic designer, I was able to redesign my packaging and identify a supplier in China to manufacture the new packaging. I’m continuing to develop my business while staying in touch with other participants from Mexico, Vietnam, Nigeria and beyond through the course discussion forums. Sharing experiences and getting advice are crucial aspects of this invaluable support network which help me continue learning even after completing the program.

Working in collaboration with like-minded entrepreneurs across the globe reminds me every day of the power of a strong support network and the incredible things we can accomplish when we work together. 

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