Meet Queentah, founder of Ressa Organics, empowering GBV survivors through pumpkin value addition.
2022 Governors Startup Challenge Finalist, Queentah Wambulwa is empowering survivors of gender based violence through her business, Ressa Organics, an agro processing social enterprise that adds value on Pumpkin into gluten free flour, roasted seeds, seed oil and animal feeds.
What is the story behind starting your business /ideas?
Ressa Organics is an agro processing social Enterprise that adds value on Pumpkin into Gluten Free Flour, roasted seeds (different flavours) Seed oil and Animal Feeds .This idea came after realising that a lot of gender based violence survivors still went back to their abusers because of high dependency. The idea was to provide these women with seedlings and pesticide and also offer them a ready market after harvesting. As of now, we are on our pilot farm with existing pumpkins that will mature in the next 4 months.
What is unique about your business and what service or solution does it offer
What’s unique about my business is the fact that we address social impact through providing descent jobs to survivors of gender-based violence and at the same time pumpkin is highly nutritious and has profits. The pumpkin flour health benefits are; gluten free, helps in losing weight, better immunity, blood pressure, lowers risk of cancer. The pumpkin seeds can be used in treatment of depression and anxiety because they have tryptophan an amino acid that helps in production of serotonin hormone that is responsible for the feelings of wellbeing and mood stabilisation.
How does your business help the community around you?
Ressa Organics provides sustainable income to survivors of gender based violence by offering them a ready market for their pumpkins while also offering them jobs to work on the pumpkin processing plant.
The women working on the farm have become great climate change activists by planting pumpkins to enhance the green environment.
What challenges have you experienced since you started your business?
Lack of sufficient funds to expand the business and produce other products like the pumpkin seed oil and animal feeds due to high cost of purchasing the processing equipment’s
Climate change has also affected the planting season of the pumpkins and this requires drip irrigation to be able to plant through the year.
How did you feel when you were selected to participate in GSC2022?
I was excited and proud of myself for the milestones. I know with this opportunity I will be able to learn more on product development and launch into the market and I will also get a chance to network with other entrepreneurs. this will boost Ressa Organics in its performance and delivery in the market
Please share any transforming story you’ve experienced so far
Regarding our Israelite giant pumpkins, we will be having our first harvest in October and will process the first pumpkin flour, roasted seeds, seed oil and animal feeds. We have trained 20 survivors of gender based violence and young mothers on pumpkin farming and its value addition.
What plans do you have to expand your business?
We are sending out proposals to funders and pitching to investors to attract more funds to be able to fully automate our production from processing, packaging, marketing and selling. We are planning to train 200 survivors on pumpkin farming and provide them with seedlings and organic pesticide.
We are planning to partner with organisations that have feeding programs so we can provide them with pumpkin flour which is highly nutritious to make porridge for the kids.
How should people reach out to you if they want your products or services?
Twitter @ RESSA ORGANICS, Instagram @RessaOrganics
What is your message to young people out there?
I would like to tell young people to pay attention to their curiosity and continue creating safe spaces for their ideas .