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Meet Sembuya, the Man Behind Uganda’s First Chocolate Factory

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Stephen Sembuya Displaying choclate and beans used in its processing
Stephen Sembuya Displaying choclate and beans used in its processing

    By: Michael Ntezza

  • Jan 5,2017
  • 1761 Viewed

It’s been no picnic convincing a certain section of the population that Uganda can produce a remarkable quality finished products from Agricultural products that can compete on the world market.

But this is no hindrance to two young entrepreneurs Stephen Sembuya and Felix Okuye, the brains behind Pink Foods Industries, which is the first company in Uganda to produce Chocolate
bars and other cocoa products.

In an Exclusive interview with Chimpreports, Stephen Sembuya the Chief Executive Director of Pink Industries took us through the ups and downs which they have faced in the business.

Who is Stephen Sembuya?
Stephen Sembuya is a 31 year old man born from the family of Mr. Christopher Sembuya popularly known as Sembule, the man who became popular in the country after establishing one of the first steel rolling mills in the country on top of which he added the assembling plant of electronics that included radios and Television sets.

Did Stephen Sembuya go to school?
Yes, I went to St Savio Junior School Kisubi for the whole of my Primary. After I joined Namilyango College for my O level, Kyambogo College for My A level and lastly I enrolled at Makerere University Business school where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management.

Did you engage in any job search after compass?
No, I didn’t, for the reason that the whole of our family was full of entrepreneurs and I grew up with an ambition to become one. On several occasions our dad advised us to ensure that we turn into
entrepreneurs like him.

What prompted you to join the Chocolate manufacturing business?

The main reason I decided to engage in cocoa growing and processing was that our family has one of the largest Cocoa plantations of 640 acres located in Buikwe district which was planted by my grandfather Yafeesi Mugalu.

As I was growing up I saw that Cocoa seeds were on demand worldwide, so I was joined by my longtime friend Okuye to do research on cocoa products which we did successfully.

How did Pink food industries start?
We started this company with our little savings that both of us had in 2014 and on my side I had raised some money from selling my books I had written. These were; The other side Idi Amin Dada which I
authored with my father Mr. Christopher Sembuya; YK Museveni’s Quotes, and Museveni’s Greatest Quotes which I authored myself.

A part from that, my Dad offered me a loan of 1 million shillings, My brother Francis Sembuya a Manager at Sembule also gave me a loan of 1.5 million shillings as well as my sister Rebecca Wamono which I used to start this business.

Where is Pink Industries located?
Pink Industries is located in Nakwero Gayaza employing 15 staffs and 63 others working on the cocoa farm located in Nkokonjeru Buikwe District.

Sebunya's Uganda Chocolate brand

Sebunya’s Uganda Chocolate brand

What products do you produce at Pink Industries?
We currently produce Chocolate bars, Cocoa Butter, Drinking chocolate, cocoa beans and chocolate used in production of confectionaries. We have chocolate bars branded under names like Nile, Pearl and Uganda

What makes your chocolate and other products unique?
First of all our chocolate contains more cocoa than any other type on the market because we have our own raw materials therefore we don’t incur much costs in looking for them.
Secondly, our chocolate is cheaper than other brands on the market because the other brands involve freight charges and exportation costs which is not on our side since ours is locally
manufactured.

Where can somebody find your products?
We have been making products on orders but very soon they are going to be available in 16 leading supermarkets in Kampala and in our outlets which are going to open up very soon. Currently we are producing 10,000 choc bars on a monthly basis but our target is to produce one
tone monthly.

What challenges have encountered so far?

Our major problem has been inadequate capital whereby the demand for our products within the country is high but our capital is not enough yet most commercial banks are not willing to offer starting industries loans.

We hope after satisfying our local market that we shall embark on exporting some chocolate to outside countries.

How have you managed to promote your products yet?

Currently we have been promoting our commodities via social media platform mainly Facebook and this has enabled us to tap in the virgin market both in Uganda and outside countries.

What benefits have you gained in this business so far?
Through this business we have been able to attract a number of international media outlets like CNN, AFP TV, CCTV, BBC, Daily mail and Forbes to appreciate our entrepreneurial skills.

I was honored by Forbes Africa as a man of Honorary in the category of under 30.

I call upon all the youth to join the Agriculture sector because it is among the sectors that are untapped yet it has supported a number of tycoons both in Uganda and abroad.

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