The founder, Mercy Mwende started Sweet N Dried in 2009. It was incorporated as a limited company in 2014. Faced with the prospect of searching for work after finishing high school, she brainstormed ideas to create jobs for herself and her friends. Mercy grew up in the eastern region of Mount Kenya where there is an abundance of food, but much of it is lost due to spoilage. Thus, traditional jobs of selling fresh produce presented little or no success. Challenges emanating from fruit loss due to perishability and poor prices led Mercy to ask, “How can we address our losses and fetch better prices in the market?”
Mercy took the initiative to visit the local Ministry of Agriculture office in Chuka, wherein passing, she heard about the process of food drying. Taking that snippet of information, she went out on the internet and researched the process together with her husband, Mageira. They then built a small food dryer, a mere 1 meter by 70cm, to test out their research. The idea of Sweet and Dried was born- the outcome of desiring a steady job transformed into a dream of creating jobs for the community.
SnD has since become a success story, building their own processing facility, leveraging innovations such as the creation of their own solar food drying equipment, to establish a strong foothold in the increasingly competitive dried food market in Kenya.
An enterprise that started with one employee now has 40 staff, mostly youth and women. Mercy, Mageria, and their staff have poured their sweat, tears, and most importantly their boundless ingenuity in building an enterprise that is prepared to compete in world markets.