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Brexit isn’t a worry for the LBS alumna and entrepreneur securing a UK foothold
London is the best place to seek investment and launch a venture, says London Business School (LBS) Executive MBA graduate Zipporah Gatiti.
The entrepreneur is launching a crowdfunding campaign to support her business, Taste of Kenya, which aims to build a marketplace connecting coffee growers in Kenya to roasters worldwide. The business is incorporated in Ireland today, but Zipporah plans to incorporate in the UK.
“The UK market is receptive to ideas and change. I don't think Brexit will ever change that,” she says.
Zipporah started her business as part of LBS’s Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Incubator in 2015. She is also part of Nestlé’s year-long incubator programme in Switzerland.
She says: “I could have stayed in Switzerland and managed the operations from there, but the UK market is so advanced and responsive. London is the best place to access real-time data and gauge market feedback.
“The city’s energy and vibrancy keeps me here.”
She adds: “The UK has already established itself as one of the leading cities for start-ups. Entrepreneurs receive incredible support, such as innovator awards, and it's one of the easiest places to set up a company.”
Taste of Kenya won two prizes at the MassChallenge Switzerland Awards in 2016, receiving a 50,000 CHF (£41,374) award. The crowdfunding campaign is the next financial step.
Zipporah’s venture seeks to simplify the fragmented supply chain by cutting out the middle people, such as marketing agents and traders, sourcing coffee directly from small farms, working with local co-operatives and shipping everything to roasters worldwide. It means farmers are paid a good price, promptly, and speciality roasters receive the premium coffee on demand.
Funds raised from the crowdfunding campaign will go towards purchasing coffee directly from farmers in Kenya.
“Kenyan farmers get 1% of the cost of every cup of their coffee drunk worldwide. The other 99% gets stuck in the supply chain,” says Zipporah.
“Farmers don't understand how valuable they are to the whole structure. They have no voice, because there are five people in the middle of the supply chain. I'm a farmer's daughter, with an IT degree and a really strong MBA from one of the best business schools in the world, so I have nothing to lose by helping them.”