The macadamia production is becoming more and more important on the Kenyan market because of its multiple usages: food, cosmetics, healthcare… But a major production means also a lot of waste and the need to manage it properly.

In response to this need, the #E4ImpactEntrepreneur Moses Wachira founded The Big Thunder Mining Company Limited in 2018, with the purpose of reducing the waste of the macadamia supply chain in Kenya. He does so through 3 main activities: the recycling of macadamia processing waste into oil as a cosmetic ingredient, the recycling of macadamia shells to produce biomass and the waste used to produce chicken feed targeting indigenous chicken farmers in Kenya.

To convert his idea into a concrete business, scale it up and improve his strategy, the entrepreneur joined the E4Impact Accelerator program in Nairobi (Kenya) in 2018, which is funded by Agenzia Italiana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo.

“Thanks to the E4Impact Accelerator, I was able to take bold steps to hire my first employees. I appreciated the services that the Foundation offered me as E4Impact Entrepreneur and the results of the training: the perfect example is the international exposure I received through the 2023 Sustainable Economic Forum. Along the year I’ve also understood the importance to delink myself from the business: it has its own life and so do I.” he stated.

But let’s learn more about him and The Big Thunder Mining Company.

1. How was your business idea born?

Before becoming an entrepreneur, I was working for a bank and a client of ours couldn’t meet the bank acceptance criteria to get financing. While analyzing the company I was introduced to macadamia. One year later, we reinitiated the conversation and I started to do some research on the industry during my weekends.

As a result, in 2018 I started targeting by-products from the macadamia industry, a niche that was disorganized and needed order and streamlining. There, my adventure with The Big Thunder Mining Company Limited began.

2. What has surprised you the most about the Acceleration experience?

To be honest I must say that before joining the E4Impact Accelerator, my plan was to trade macadamia products (mainly quality macadamia and macadamia shells), then the program unveiled the potential of the by-products. I had a lack of clarity on my strategy, I didn’t know what exactly my business was geared towards, and the program helped me in this. So, what surprised me was to see small and micro-businesses have access to support to define and align their businesses.

A part from that, I must say that the most important elements of the Accelerator program are the trainings on Financial Modeling, the occasion we have to pitch our business to investors and the peer review mechanisms that assist the entrepreneurs in evaluating the business strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to reflect on their business model and value proposition.

3. Who are the main beneficiaries of your business? 

First of all the existing macadamia processors, and small scale farmers that now know how to dispose their off grade kernels. We consider also our employees as beneficiaries, since we mainly hire them from the local community to guarantee new job positions.

4. What has been the main challenge you had to overcome in your entrepreneurial experience? 

For sure the cost of living crisis in 2022/2023, which brought a lack of orders for our main products for 9 months, hitting on all business fronts. It was tough and it’s still difficult, we hope to navigate through it soon.

5. In your opinion, what are the main qualities an entrepreneur should have?

Firstly resilience, adaptability and eye for opportunities. But also analytical and communication skills, as well as a capacity in planning, negotiation and financial management.

6. Is there a person you are inspired by, i.e. an entrepreneur or a particular mentor?

My maternal grandmother, that despite operating a vegetable stall in the rural part of Africa, still manages to achieve personal financial freedom and being an inspiration to many people.

7. What would you suggest to a new-born entrepreneur?

Start at the lowest part of the value chain and learn everything about the business.

8. What are your plans for the future?

Our vision is to be the leading macadamia by-products in Kenya, reducing farm gate losses and contributing to climate resilient activities. Today we employ over 70 people from the local community (90% of which are women) and in 2022 we set up our own macadamia processing facility at Thika (50Kms west of Nairobi), worth Euro 250,000, with a capacity to process 20 food containers of macadamia annually. We’d like to supply 7 millions kilos annually and become a reliable supplier to multinational corporations. We’d also love to entrench our capacity to measure our contribution to climate change.

Learn more about The Big Thunder Mining Company Limited:

Website: The Big Thunder Mining Company Limited