Tafadzwa Chibukwa, Chronicle Reporter
INSPIRED to prove to society that schoolboys can also come up with great innovations that defy odds and motivate their peers, a group of Milton High School boys is making a breakfast cereal that has garnered national interest.
The six Form Five pupils – Arthur Dube, Mqondisi Moyo, Tavonga Mudhe, Knowledge Tshuma, Khumbulani Ncube and Mandisa Mlawuzi – recently came second in a national competition aimed at discovering entrepreneurial skills in pupils and walked away with US$5 000.
The Emergination Africa competition empowers learners to turn their passion for entrepreneurship into viable business ventures.
The competition organisers believe that with Africa having the youngest population in the world with an average 19 years of age, there is a need to urgently nurture young human potential because by the year 2035, Africa will be home to the world’s largest working age population surpassing both China and India.
The Lower Six Milton High School pupils have since proved that they embody that human potential.
From research, they gathered most cereals are produced using additives, but they decided to use honey and milk among other natural ingredients to manufacture their breakfast cereal.
After coming tops in Bulawayo, the six schoolboys went on to compete in Harare last month in the national finals.
Marist Brothers from Nyanga in Manicaland Province, whose team has embarked on making pig feed, came first. Milton High School boys came second and won US$5 000 to start their own company.
In an interview with Chronicle, Milton High School’s winning team captain, Mqondisi Moyo, said in June this year they were told about the competition at school, and they decided to make the breakfast cereal to enter the competition.
Mqondisi said they formed their group and the team members were friends which made things easier for them.
“We readily combined since we were friends, we thought it would make things easy for us in terms of communication and cooperation among each other. We tasked each other to come up with ideas and we would weigh them all and see which would be the most impressive among all. Our first main idea that prevailed was to launch our own lotion, after inquiries with local pharmacies and health experts, we realised that it was expensive and was going to give us a hard time when making it. We then opted for a second option which was to make our own breakfast cereal,” said Mqondisi.
The boys delved deeper into researching their product.
Mqondisi said from their research, they discovered that most cereals nowadays were being produced from additives, hence they opted for the less chosen path, which is to make the cereal from fruit.
This would also reduce costs in buying raw materials and all the ingredients for their end product.
Mqondisi said they used fruits like bananas, oranges, apples and the indigenous umbumbulu and masawa among others.
“We went and checked the ingredients on the boxes of existing cereal companies and discovered that there were certain materials that were being used that we were not familiar with. We thought of improvising and using what we know and are familiar with,” said Mqondisi.
“We also noted that nowadays, it is rare to find people who are keeping up with their health and consuming fruits from time to time, which is why we thought it would be wiser to bring back the natural and inorganic cereal that is made from fruits alone.”
He said they blend the fruits with cereal bases, corn starch, oats, cake flour, honey and milk among other ingredients they use to manufacture their breakfast cereal.
The schoolboys said they also make on-the-go cereal bars that can be consumed while one is on the move.
Mqondisi said they are looking forward to commercialising their product. He said they will soon register their company, Elevate, and their products, Healthy Eats.
“We are looking forward to getting our company registered so that we can commercialise our product. We also wish to get our product approved by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe so that it might be approved for public consumption and we start producing,” said Mqondisi.
A teacher at Milton High School who is one of the winning team’s patrons, Mr Bernard Moyo, said he was impressed with how the boys were doing regardless of their age.
He said when the competition started and the boys came up with their breakfast cereal, they never expected to make it to national level and come out second.
“We are very pleased to have students coming up with innovations at our school, it shows that they have much potential to do greater things in society. Also, when they finish school, they are guaranteed to be better people in society,” said Mr Moyo.
He said the school has sponsored the boys since the inception of their idea, until now as they have been using school resources to buy raw materials, to cook and to transport them.
Mr Moyo said the boys are setting an example for their peers who should learn from them.
Article Source: The Chronicle