KENYA – Mars Wrigley, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of chocolate and chewing gum, has unveiled plans of recruiting an additional 1,000 entrepreneurs in Kenya before the end of the year in its entrepreneurship model known as the Maua program.
The Maua program has been running since 2013 and seeks to support micro and small enterprises to create jobs and sustainable livelihoods in Kenya.
The firm looks to scale up its distribution model targeting the low-income consumer market in the region. The company will roll out the initiative in Tanzania in 2024 and Rwanda in 2025.
Through Maua, the Confectionary maker partners with independent micro-entrepreneurs and micro-distributors to sell the company’s products in informal settlements and rural communities.
As an innovative route-to-market strategy, Maua targets consumers who are hard to reach through traditional product distribution channels.
According to Mars Wrigley General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Ismael Bello, the new edition will bring the total number of Kenyans in the program to 2,600.
“Maua has been a success in driving our quest to reach the under-served consumer market, hence, the plan to expand the program in Kenya and the region,” Bello explained.
“With Maua, we seek to not only grow our business but also create a platform to build both financial and social capital, working with individuals who are passionate about business and improving lives. We look forward to the next 10 years of Maua’s transformative impact.”
He added that the program has been highly successful with a high retention rate of 85 percent.
In the program, the company recruits and trains small-scale entrepreneurs whom it then supplies with its fast-moving products including such iconic brands as Juicy Fruit, Orbit, PK, Doublemint, Big G, and Skittles.
Mars Wrigley also provides the tools of trade like backpacks, bicycles, and motorbikes to facilitate the traders in their activities.
Machakos County Governor, Wavinya Ndeti, the chief guest at the launch of the Maua program, lauded the program as an inspiring model of how private companies can use innovative strategies to create employment and sustainable livelihoods, especially for women and youth, while supporting the growth of micro- and small-scale enterprises
“I am particularly delighted to note that 4 out of 10 beneficiaries of this noble initiative are women. I urge more companies to emulate Wrigley so that together, we can create meaningful livelihood and business opportunities for our people,” she said.
In 2018, Mars Wrigley committed to increasing the number of women entrepreneurs in the program. By empowering women with opportunities to earn a decent livelihood, Maua indirectly contributes to the realization of an inclusive and prosperous society.