Awards 2001 The Crown Agents Foundation Award for Small Businesses

The Crown Agents Foundation Award for Small Businesses

This award is given to a small company for commercial activity which has contributed to viable economic development in a community.

The Winner: Nyaya Industries

Nyaya Industries

Running a shop in the populous Highfield district of Harare, Zimbabwe, Emelda Nyamupingidza and her sister got complaints about the quality of the shoe and floor polishes they were selling. "This to me was a challenge," she says. She had a chemistry degree, had worked in research and believed she could do better. So she began experiments with polish blends in her laundry room after work.

In 1991, she launched Nyaya (it translates as 'story' into English and combines Nya from Nyamupingidza with ya from Jaya, her maiden name). For the first two years, she delivered her polishes herself. In 1995 she began making candles, in high demand in a country where imported paraffin for lamps is scarce while electricity is expensive and, in the rainy season, unreliable.

Mrs Nyamupingidza was one of several people who saw the opening for polish and candle making. She did better than her rivals by producing better products. She says that the blend of waxes in her candles ensures that they are drip-free and emit little smoke in normal circumstances. Moreover, while established multinational makers concentrated on urban customers, she produced a smaller and cheaper 47.5 gramme candle for the four-fifths of Zimbabweans who live in rural areas.

In UK money, the candle wholesales at 15p for a packet of six and lasts seven hours. Mrs Nyamupingidza remarks: "A lot of women entrepreneurs come to me for advice."

Nyaya Industries is a family firm in which her partners are her three children and her husband, Misheck, who also runs his own company, Mimosa Foods. She plans to distribute shares among employees, when this is possible.

In 1998 she added a new line - decorative candles, some painted by artists. These are aimed at more prosperous customers and include a tourist range with an African theme.

Doubling its candlemaking capacity in 2001, Nyaya is now the largest candle maker and second largest polish maker in Zimbabwe, producing up to three million candles a month. It employs 150 people and has a fleet of six trucks to deliver its products to wholesalers and supermarkets, for which it packs inhouse brands. It exports up to 56 tonnes of candles a month to Malawi, which helps it obtain foreign currency to buy wax from Iran and South Africa. It plans to start making candles in Malawi in June 2002.

Nyaya provides medical benefits to staff and it refunds half the cost of any college training. It has sponsored 12 rural O-level students and two A-level. It has launched its own football team. It supports five residential homes for children and elderly people, an important service in a country where many parents have contracted Aids.

The Judges say

Emelda Nyamupingidza must be congratulated on her tremendous success in the candle and polish market, having adapted well to the current harsh economic climate of Zimbabwe. We were particularly impressed by the socially responsible activities of Nyaya and its assistance to the young and underprivileged in the realms of education, training and beyond. Nyaya's efforts to contribute toward the economic development of Zimbabwe are highly commendable. By providing alternative sources of lighting in a chaotic environment of prolonged power cuts and paraffin shortages, and by exporting to other countries to earn badly needed foreign currency, the company has combined commercial success with wider community gain. We are convinced that this well-designed business, using indigenous development and with well integrated CSR policies, should serve as a beacon for others to follow.

Nyaya Industries (Pvt) Ltd, PO Box AY 293, Amby, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 4 774780/83/86 Fax: +263 4 771563