Sometimes, it is not about seeking to make new inventions, it works sometimes to find an age long thing, add a modern twist and showcase it to the world, it has also proved over the years to be one of the fastest ways to scale a business. This was exactly what Mutoba Ngoma A Zambia-based trained aircraft engineer and one of Africa’s brightest entrepreneurs did.
Soon after Mutoba Ngoma finished studying aeronautical engineering in the UK, he decided to return to his home country Zambia to start manufacturing biodiesel in his backyard. He founded Tapera Industries in 2009, and they basically turn used vegetable oils into biodiesel fuel for cars and natural soaps for laundry and personal use.
Almost 10 years later his company, Tapera Industries, has grown into a diversified eco-friendly business supplying biofuel and organic soap.
Currently, Tapera industries Limited offers a waste vegetable oils and fat waste disposal service to local restaurants and hotels under license from ZEMA, and through his innovative disposal methods, the used cooking oils and fats are cleaned and processed into biodiesel fuel and soap products.
In 2014, the company started to procure jatropha curcas seed from small-scale farmers to produce vegetable oils due to limited quantities of the waste vegetable fats, the seeds are then being processed into biofuels and natural soaps. And for this, Tapera has signed about 2000 small scale farmers on their out-grower program and are able to procure an average of 40 metric tons of seed per month during the harvest season.
The company currently employs 7 permanent staff and 30 seasonal buyers who live in the communities where the small-scale farmers are based.
Mutoba is one of Africa’s young entrepreneurs that made it into the 2016 Forbes list of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs under the age of 35, but one may want to ask, but why did a young aeronautical engineer decide to return to Zambia to try his hand at entrepreneurship and biodiesel production?
For Mutoba, the potential for growth in youth participation in the economy is one thing that Africa should not ignore, He is doing this, hoping that through his works and recognitions from around the globe, the society can begin to perceive Zambian youths as a more proactive population that can help address global challenges.