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DRC : Bénédicte Mundele Kuvuna, the entrepreneur who promotes the consumption of local products

Bénédicte Mundele Kuvuna is a Congolese entrepreneur in the food industry. The young woman is the founder of the company, Surprise Tropicale, which aims to value the country’s fresh products and promote healthy eating.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Bénédicte Mundele Kuvuna has taken up the challenge of revolutionising the eating habits of the Congolese people, making them eat locally instead of sugary, imported food…

Graduated in hotel management from the Kimbondo technical and vocational high school in Kinshasa and in communications from the Catholic University of Congo, she started promoting and enhancing local fruits and vegetables in 2012, after joining the Kuvuna Foundation. An organisation that trains the leaders of tomorrow through leadership and entrepreneurship programs.

Beyond her ambition, she had to face the reluctance of consumers who rather valued imported products. “The major obstacle was to convince skeptical customers of the quality of our products,”she told Afropreneurship. With her team, she developed strategies to encourage local consumption.

In 2014, she won the Anzisha Prize awarded by the African Leadership Academy (ALA) and the Mastercard Foundation. She benefited from an entrepreneurship training program organized in South Africa by ALA. This success allowed her to be spotted by the managers of the Food innovation program at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, who proposed her to do a master’s degree. In 2015, she completed the master’s program in food innovation.

Back in Congo, she created the company Surprise Tropicale. Initially, the company focused on the sale of fruits and vegetables. But then she started processing local products, which allowed her to solve the problem of waste. Her company offers juices, salads, smoothies, etc. made from local products, seasonal fruits (pineapple, passion fruit, watermelon, etc.) from Central Kongo and Kwilu. In order to better sell her products, she also offered home delivery to her Kinshasa customers.

Bénédicte Mundele Kuvuna is also the executive director of the Kuvuna Foundation, which was created in 1998 and which introduces young people to entrepreneurship, leadership through various programs, competitions… In 2018, the foundation worked with 118 young people and targets 5 million young people directly and indirectly in 15 years.

In 2019, she was listed in the BBC’s 100 Women.