Discovering Valorigo, Congolese startup that develops the brand of sanitary napkins in local bamboo
Founded in 2018 during the Business Plan competition organized by Amani Festival, Valorigo startup, co-founded by Birindwa Makombe, Ghislaine Neema and Esther Masirika started its activities with the production of biodegradable packaging, before initiating 2 years later its current main activity “production of disposable sanitary napkins”. An idea that we owe to one of the co-founders of the startup who has long studied the needs of Congolese and African women in terms of menstrual hygiene.
For those who do not know you, tell us who is Ghislaine Neema?
I am Ghislaine Neema, a young Congolese woman with a degree in business management and social values. I am co-founder of Valorigo and an activist for the rights of young Congolese women.
Who are your target customers, and what problem are you solving?
The main problem that Valorigo tackles is menstrual insecurity. Indeed, today 6 million women in Congo do not have access to safe menstrual products because of their prohibitive cost. Most of them turn to dangerous alternatives such as the use of used clothes and/or rags to manage their menstrual flow. With our products we target all Congolese women of reproductive age.
What is your vision and how do you define success?
We want to give every African girl and woman a positive menstrual experience. For us, success means putting an end to the phenomenon of menstrual insecurity on the continent and thus offering better health to African girls and women.
Why did you apply for NHA?
There are several acceleration programs in existence today, but most of them are not designed to meet the needs of African startups offering SRH solutions. We therefore saw the NHA program as a unique opportunity to quickly and safely develop our SRH solution.
What were your expectations from the program?
Our expectations through this program were to accelerate the development of our business by improving the quality of our offer and thus move from the MVP phase to an official commercialization phase of our product on the local market.
How was your experience with the program so far? What significant progress have you made in your business since joining NHA?
Being part of this first cohort of the NHA program has been a very rewarding experience. NHA has allowed us to increase our entrepreneurial spirit, meet important new people and get closer to funding opportunities. In addition, we have improved the quality of our product, and the quality of our business plan.
Have you met someone who inspires you since participating in NHA?
We had the great pleasure to meet and exchange with experts from “Noru Capital”, especially Naofal Ali who inspired us deeply by his professional qualities and his expertise in the analysis of business projects.
Do you have any last comment or advice you would like to share with your fellow entrepreneurs?
African entrepreneurs developing SRH solutions, join the NHA program to increase your chances of success!