Out of the desire to increase a longer shelf life for fruits, Lynette Akol started Krystal Ice Limited. Her vision was clear vision – to provide market for the fruit produce of small holder farmers by using them as raw materials for frozen fruit ice pops. The business owner understood that the linkages along the agricultural value chain would be instrumental for the growth of her Company but also play a role in cementing Uganda’s vision of Buy Uganda, Build Uganda.
For the past five years, dfcu Bank with partners) have run a program dubbed ‘Rising Woman’ which is aimed at recognizing, celebrating, and promoting a culture of mentorship among women in business in Uganda.
In 2018, Lynette Akol participated in the Rising Woman proposal writing competition and emerged the overall winner. In an interview, she shares her experience then and the current standing of her business.
Tell us about yourself and the business you do
My name is Lynette Akol, the Managing Director of Krystal Ice Limited, a food processing company. I am a woman entrepreneur and a mother. At Krystal Ice, we produce ice pops which are made from fruits sourced from small holder farmers.
Looking back to when you started, how did Rising Woman program/competition change you/impact on you?
Before became a part the Rising Woman program, I wasn’t quite sure that I was taking the right direction so the opportunity to test my will, determination and belief in my business came at the right time. It was also a learning and empowering journey; the program helped me to become more efficient and effective in the way I manage the business. Now I have more confidence in what I do. And thanks to the training we received in Nairobi, Kenya, interacting with the other businesswomen in Nairobi helped me to build my confidence in the way I was doing business. After listening to their stories, I was sure I too, could reach the summits of entrepreneurial success.
If you were to go back in time, what would you have done differently?
Honestly, I don’t think I would change anything, the whole process was transparent and well organized. I also believe that the different partners did well to have women involved at each step of the competition. Representation matters because there are unique challenges faced by women in entrepreneurship that can best be understood by other women.
What opportunities have you received because of your participation in the Rising Woman competition?
The exposure and visibility created by dfcu Bank, Daily Monitor and Uganda Investment Authority helped me position my business better. When customers have read your story and believe in it, you have to deliver well, consistently.
I was a recipient of the GroWe Award, the business received a business development service from Feed the Future who helped us design marketing and distribution strategies.
Where do you see your business heading?
It’s been tough, many businesses have been affected by Covid-19, but now we have started to see light at the end of the tunnel. I see my products being available everywhere and accessible in supermarkets throughout Uganda, East Africa and beyond. I would like to have a strong, socially responsible brand that is internationally recognized.