Founded in 2003 by Andrew Rugasira, Good African is a coffee manufacturer which has begun to penetrate the global business scene. Good African began its foray into international markets via Waitrose, a British supermarket chain, has expanded to other rival chains, and is now being sold in supermarkets across Britain. The company is also planning on expanding to the United States as well. What lessons might someone seeking to take their business global bring away from Mr. Rugasira and Good African?
One of the keys to Good African’s success is brand distinction. They take on many of the roles comprised in the supply-chain aspect of manufacturing themselves. Instead of merely shipping raw harvested coffee berries abroad to be processed at some other facility, Good African takes an active role in the roasting and packaging of its product. Such extra measures have added value to the brand as an authentic African product.
Another success point for Good African is persistence. Being a Ugandan firm, Mr. Rugasira found a prejudice among British retailers towards his product. All in all, it took 14 trips before he could get Good African coffee on the shelves of British supermarkets. Once it was there, he let the brand speak for itself, and soon had competitors stocking the product as well.
A final lesson to be learned from Good African is to explore available venture-capital funding. Mr. Rugasira initially struggled to find the venture capital to take his business global, but support funds are out there. For African entrepreneurs, one such fund has been backed by an African mobile phone billionaire. Speaking of mobile phones, take advantage of them! They are a great (and relatively cheap) means of communication, and are instrumental in gaining access to established markets.