Regina “Rena” Nakayenga, a Ugandan entrepreneur is motivating women to dive into the formal business sector as well as encouraging them to become financially independent.
She founded Rena Beverage Solutions. The business name is named after her with the omission of the second syllable in “Regina”. The Rena Hibiscus Drink made from hibiscus plant is one of her most successful products in high demand.
“When I gave it a try, it worked out and I have never looked back…As I interacted with consumers during exhibitions, my products were always bought in huge volumes. This gave me strength to continue expanding my business in order to serve my clients,” she says.
Rena’s Starting Point
She was formerly a university lecturer in entrepreneurship. When she clocked 50, she gave birth to Rena Beverage Solutions as her retirement plan.
The company organically grows hibiscus plant, palms, and rosemary in producing nutritious beverages.
Beyond serving as inspiration for women
Regina Nakayenga is a woman that understands inclusion. Her company has so far built good relationships with more than 400 hibiscus farmers including men and women respectively. Her company has overtime created employment and internship opportunities for people regardless of age, nationality, race, qualification, and gender.
Others will tell you that she started with just less than US$20 to get fruit drinks on countless tables after gaining approval from the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering, Makerere University Kampala. But it took way more than US$20. It took a priceless passion, personal savings, financial support from family and directors to get the company flying — including a grant from the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU).
“This company is lucky to be one of the few certified in the beverage industry. Now that we have such marks, we have made more market surveys of hibiscus in Uganda; the results indicate once well handled, the skies shall be a limit for our expansion programs.
“The future of Rena is brighter because we have tried to minimize all other key hiccups. Ever since I ventured into this business, I have got more exposed and this is a strong factor that has seen us move places.
“I advise all intending entrepreneurs to avoid fear and huge capital investments. One is only mandated to be passionate at their work,” she says.
By Elijah Christopher