With growers spreading their risks more often and with the idea of creating employment opportunities in Kenya, Samwel Orioki and his partner started a flower export company late last year, namely Progeny Ventures Ltd. Even though the new startup was received with open arms, it was the worst time to tap into the flower industry. Just before they were ready to really take off, COVID-19 hit the world. As the situation is improving, the first orders are coming in and they are looking forward to finally shipping the first flowers.
Experience in the floral industry
This new startup combines Samwel and his partners' experience in the industry. "I have experience in exporting, I used to export Kenyan
vegetables and my partner in the floral industry. She has worked for
over 7 years in the industry and gained a lot of knowledge regarding the quality of flowers and the demand for every market." Before starting up the business, they did a lot of research on what quality is required in different countries and tried to find farms who meet these quality standards. "We are now in touch with several flower farms supply all kind of flowers, like fillers, summer flowers, and rose. "
Spreading the risk
So, how to get the flowers to the market? Samwel explains that they saw the gap in the industry as the demand for fresh flowers grows
exponentially and they approached farms which have agreed to work
together to supply them with flowers. "Different markets require
different flowers and, in some cases, a farm does not have the required flowers or the right quality to deliver to their client, we, therefore, give our clients an option of picking different flower quality from a variety of farms. We have also created a good relationship with other supplies who have been in the industry for long, with this relationship it will enable us to learn and understand various markets with their needs. We, therefore, know what quality the client expects, and we will deliver it. In this way, we create a strategy that the farm does not have to disappoint their client and can still deliver. Also, this way, when we cannot supply our client, we will ask another farm to do so on our behalf. It is all about working together."
Then COVID-19 hit
Then, just before they really could take off, COVID-19 hit the world.
"Demand dropped drastically, there was a lack of air capacity and so on. All in all, the worst time to start a new business."
Reception Progeny Breeding
Things are improving - first clients in the pipeline
Fortunately, the situation is improving. "Demand is increasing, more
growers are increasing production - with some even increasing their
acreage - and more flowers can be shipped to their final destination. We are now in touch with some potential clients in the UK and the
Netherlands. It is quite a challenge to start up a business relationship
in such exceptional times, but I have high hopes. It will take a while
to create the relationship, but I'm confident, when they experience our
quality product as well as our trustworthiness, things may all have a
positive outcome for all of us"