The greatest revolutions in history often started with the smallest decisions. Growing up with a desire to improve the standard of living in Somaliland, Jama Yassin defied the norms by choosing a business path that was unconventional in his community.
He talked to the Tony Elumelu Foundation team about his inspiration, his business growth and his future projects.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the start of your business?
A: I started my business at a time when most young people were migrating from Somaliland to other parts of the world, mostly Europe. This created a gap in the job market and many industries that needed to be filled.
Also, being a nation filled mostly with nomadic people, farming was not a popular area of business and most people were into raring livestock. However, there came an urgent need for things to be different as the increase in climate change led to drought and sporadic rainfall.
Putting all these factors into consideration, I decided to go into farming in hopes to spark a change and to inspire the younger generation to do the same.
Q: Tell us about your business and the unique services and solutions it offers?
A: My business, Hadi Enterprise, locally grows and supplies organic vegetables and fruits to the local population in Hargeisa—the capital of Somaliland. To the rest of the world, this might not be a major milestone, but in Somaliland where 95% of our food is imported from other countries, this is a unique business establishment.
Q: What is the vision for your business?
A: The vision of this business is to change the way of life in Somaliland. To do that, I want to shift the focus from livestock rearing to agriculture by being a pioneer in the agricultural sector. I also plan to train youths in my immediate environment and to encourage them with my story.
Q: What is the current scale of your business what impact has your business had on your immediate community?
A: Currently we have four full-time workers and we intend to employ more people in future. This year, we are taking more time in the preparation stage because we have had a shortage of rainfall which affected rainfall. As a result, our focus is on building a larger water storage facility to help with production.
Q: What major benefits did you gain from the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme?
A: The Tony Elumelu Foundation programme helped me build a very strong foundation for my business. It taught me to be more organised, methodical and active in getting things done. Additionally, the seed capital and the knowledge I gained from mentorship were very vital for the success of my business.
Q: What are your future plans for Hadi Enterprise?
A: We plan to start a school to train other farmers to be more productive in their businesses. The school will be geared towards improving the growth of organically grown products and diversifying the types of crops farmers produce. This will help ensure that farmers grow a variety of products that will eventually improve our economy.