All healthy food means money and life

JUST as the renowned social podcast Facebook with an estimated value of US$70,7 billion was hatched by peer students at Cambridge University, so was Gyltime Foods.

Higher learning institutions can be a fertile ground for everything good and bad!

Talk of all vices of peer pressure such as unwanted pregnancies, drug addiction and unsafe health practices that have long-term life consequences, due to the abuse of generous freedom associated with university life.

The only difference between Glytime Foods and Facebook?

The latter is an internet-based techno-entrepreneurial project by information technology specialists that has rocked the word .

The former is a healthy lifestyle-oriented start-up, established by two “food technologists” lovebirds, tapping into the growing demand for healthy lifestyles and foods while supporting rural farming communities and spearheading agriculture value addition.

Sourcing inputs from local farmers in Mutoko, Murehwa and Chipinge, the company has a nationwide supply chain of pure honey, split nuts, corn and cereals and they are confident that their products will help manage non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

“Glytime Foods was founded and incorporated in February 2018. It is an initiative by a very young couple who wedded in October 2017, Lesly and Talent Marange, who have been blessed with a beautiful girl Kelsey Matidaishe Marange,” reads the company profile.

“The two directors are young professionals coming both from a Food Science background. Lesly has significant experience in food manufacturing from process management, production management, operations management and product development management, and Talent has vast experience as a nutritionist in non-governmental organisations.

“Two directors are both pursuing postgraduate studies, MBA in Strategic Management and MSc in Nutrition respectively.”

From the pangs and thorns of rising from a backyard company reliant on personal pocket money savings and the goodwill of friends, the Maranges now employ 31 workers with a clear bias towards women while some of them are living with disabilities in line with the quest for an inclusive society.

Unlike in the first world where government and private incubations funds are abundant for promising start-ups, the opposite is true for the determined couple who still face some bureaucratic challenges in accessing financial support.,

Regardless of the young company’s feat with monthly product demand soaring from five tonnes to 40 tonnes within two years, the bubbling CEO is concerned with the bureaucratic hurdley in access funding by youth entrepreneurs.

Glytech Foods has growing export demand and is now registered in Botswana, seeking to tap into the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana.

Lesly, a Seventh-Day Adventist appreciates his humble background and the loving, but strict guidance of parents whose mother was a teacher while the father was a prison officer.

His stint at the peri-urban Khami Prison, Bulawayo, where his father was once posted, exposed him to the essence of farming, igniting the passion in him.

Talent’s leadership star was apparent from school and college days where she was headgirl at Jason Ziyapapa High School in West Nicholson and residence sub-warden at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT).

To whet her entrepreneurial appetite in the face of no job opportunities for graduates, she became a street snacks vendor in Harare and was in a partial comfort zone given the poor remuneration in most companies as well.

But through advice from one of her mentors she underwent formal employment to broaden her entrepreneurial and leadership skills, landing posts such as factory manager for big food processing companies, at a very young age.

Lesly says he is grateful for the support rendered by the Zimbabwe Trade Association under its export development programme.

In line with his “look after a brother policy”, he has engaged in mentoring two upcoming food processing start-ups .

He pays tribute to the company’s finance and administration manager Jabulani A Mashawashe, also a former CUT colleague.

“Something very big is coming from our motherland. Look at the milestones we have achieved in the last two years, give us five to 10 more years,” Lesly said.

“The brand will have good global coverage. We are not threatened by globalisation and liberalisation of markets, we will adapt and compete. Venturing into new markets is also helping us in cross-market subsidation and improving our learning curve.”