Traders and office workers in the town of Burao are enjoying chilled fruit juices delivered to their workplace on a hot day, thanks to a new enterprise by a local university graduate.
Abdiaziz Mohamud Jama’a and his team of 10 young employees deliver glasses of fresh mango, lemon, watermelon, pawpaw and guava juice during the hottest part of the day for just 30 cents (3,000 Somaliland shillings) – a fraction of the cost of canned juices on the market.
“This idea came to my mind after seeing that people in Burao such as traders and civil servants have nobody serving them in their places of work,” said Abdiaziz, who graduated in information technology from a local university in 2017.
Unable to find a job, Abdiaziz saved up some money doing casual work. He managed to raise $5,000 over time and decided to invest in a small fruit shop.
“I bought a blender and a second-hand fridge to start the shop,” he said. “I buy most of the fruit locally from Burao fresh produce market and get some others from Mogadishu. My juices are organic. I now employ 10 people so my business has also created jobs for other youth,” he told Radio Ergo proudly.
One of Abdiaziz’s regular customers is Abdi Khalif, who owns a vehicle spare parts shop in town. Every day, Abdi buys four glasses of juice from the delivery team.
“We appreciate the initiative. Especially during this hot season, we don’t have to go out because these boys bring the juice right to our place,” said Khalif.
After a slow start, hawking juices in the market places, Abdiaziz managed to attract enough customers wanting delivery to turn the business around. He is now making a healthy $2,700 profit a month.
Ali Abdi Hassan, who finished secondary school but could not afford university, says he is happy to earn $100 a month as part of the delivery team. Every morning he carries an icebox full of a variety of juices and 20 glasses.
“This is a good job, I’m happy with it. Now we have worked out the market I am doing five trips a day carrying 20 glasses of juices per trip,” Ali said.
Unemployment levels are high across Somaliland and many young people, frustrated by the lack of opportunity, choose to take a chance on risky migration journeys to Europe and elsewhere.
Abdiaziz therefore commands the respect of many of his local customers for staying in Somaliland and making things work.
Fardus Ahmed Ali, who enjoys a glass of juice most days, encouragesother young people to invest in their own business.
“This is a productive idea by these youth! Their juice is different from what we have had available before and the team maintains a high standard of hygiene,” she said.