Meet Stephen Sembuya, Founder of Uganda’s First Chocolate Factory

Stephen Sembuya is the founder and CEO of Pink Food Industries, one of the fastest growing convenience foods manufactured in Uganda.

The PINK FOODS IND which Sembuya started in 2011 is one of the region’s pre-eminent branded food businesses. They produce some of the best known and loved sweets and snacks, with products ranging from biscuits, non-dairy creamers, chocolate, cornflakes and cocoa powder.

Sembuya went to St Savio Junior School Kisubi for his primary school education. He then proceeded to Namilyango College for his O level, Kyambogo College for his A level and lastly he enrolled at Makerere University Business school where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management.

After he completed his education, Sembuya had no plan to venture into job search, considering that he is from a line of entrepreneurs and he grew up with the ambition to become one.

In 2009, Sembuya’s plan was to have a biscuit and sweet processing line. Unfortunately, his company lost about Shs4000m due to poor communication and the team’s unpreparedness to meet the machine’s cost. “I was dreaming of doing something that has never been done before even when I did not have resources. It is like setting high targets when you’re still nowhere” he said.

He also had strongly on his mind to have the biggest chocolate factory in the East African region in terms of size and capacity. He had no team, land, labour or machines that could make 50 kilograms of chocolate a day, which cost almost 400,000 euros (Shs1.6 billion) as at that time, money that the company could not afford.

Fortunately for him, his father’s 64 acres of cocoa farm was about 45 kilometers from Kampala, in Buikwe District. Slowly, he started rehabilitating the farm and was getting resources from there and started to make profitable money from the business.

The demand for cocoa products continues to drive the business and Sembuya hopes that in the nearest future, his company alongside the government will put an end to the exporting of raw cocoa beans from other countries.

Their portfolio of brands remains unrivalled and has continued meeting consumer needs and includes such favourites as Aby aby’s, Chela’s, etc. Pink Food Industries has been able to convince a certain section of the population that Uganda can produce a remarkable quality finished products from Agricultural products that can compete on the world market.

“PFI holds leading or strong position in its core markets in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, and Congo. Moreover, our brands and products have global appeal. We have a rapidly growing international business unit serving consumers from within the region and beyond”, Sembuya said.

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