What qualifies you as an entrepreneur is how much solutions you’re willing to deploy to the current existing problems in your immediate environment.
This is what Monica Musonda did with her food company, Java Foods. She realized that in Zambia, people do not eat right and feed well despite how big the agricultural sector of Zambia is. She set out to ensure that her people are able to access nutritional and healthy food through her innovation and processing of healthy plant-based foods.
Monica Musonda is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Java Foods, a Zambian based food processing company. It is committed to providing high quality and nutritious food from local products at affordable prices. Java Foods’ first product was “eeZee Instant Noodles”, which is Zambia’s leading instant noodle brand today. Monica is a dual qualified English solicitor and Zambian advocate. She has held senior positions in private practice with Clifford Chance & Edward Nathan.
She has also worked as in house corporate counsel at International Finance Corporation and for Dangote Group. Her experience working with Aliko Dangote, one of Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs, gave her the impetus to start Java Foods.
Monica founded Java Foods to provide affordable nutrition to the southern African market. Her company seeks to revolutionize the eating habits of the youth market by offering them affordable and nutritious food options made from local products.
Her food company was born out of the need to provide mothers of children under five years of age multiple options of nutritious foods to choose from. Not only that, she also works to make sure they are affordable and available for every one, regardless of their economic differences.
As part of the challenges she has faced as an entrepreneur, she explained in her words, “When you are an entrepreneur, another of the challenges is to keep going when you encounter hurdles and when the going gets tough – it is not easy. At these times, there is a human tendency to want to panic, and as an individual you question whether you can do this, whether you can see the business through to its full potential and to a level that people expect of you. Even when you are growing as a business, there is a fear and a doubt that remains, and you are almost afraid of your own success. In recent times when Zambia was going through its depreciation, I personally experienced doubt in such times, but I felt that despite the challenges, it was too soon to give up. I found great people I could speak with, both men and women, but I found that particularly other women were interesting to engage with in order to get feedback on how they manage to balance the pressures of expanding a business with maintaining their own personal and family lives. Often, I found it so worthwhile to engage with other women and get their insights and hear their own experiences in similar circumstances. The great thing was that I heard from other women entrepreneurs that the experiences I was going through were normal and that despite the challenges, the journey would be worth it and the challenges got over in time. So now as I move forward with the next phase of my own entrepreneurial journey, I am interested to speak to more women who are doing similar things in business, as their insight is really useful. In the past, I have had more male mentors, but now a combination of perspectives is refreshing. Today, I hear from so many other women entrepreneurs that they have gone through similar experiences on their business building journeys and have successfully come out the other side of many challenges – this is always reassuring to hear.”
Best advice?… “Firstly I would say, don’t be afraid to start. I think we find in Africa that women carry so many things, they have so many great ideas, but often are afraid of starting. The point is that you are not going to build a factory on day one, but you can start small with what you can manage – the idea is to just start.