“A starterkit to start a small scale production in Uganda

Starting up business is difficult, especially in a developing nation in Africa. With procurement, production, sales and marketing, the first year of business really is demanding—even for anyone.Today, micro credits are becoming widely available to entrepreneurs throughout Africa, and institutions offer them general business courses.

But what is lacking is practical assistance in how to get a business off the ground. For my graduation project and in cooperation with Pim van Baarsen, we developed a ‘business in a box’ for the victims of the civil war in North Uganda, who don’t have the opportunity to provide for themselves.

 RESEARCH War in North Uganda

From 1986 until today countless men and women living in Northern Uganda have been mutilated and traumatized by the civil war led by Joseph Kony. In order to get better understand their situation we traveled through North Uganda. Through many interviews with groups of victims and customer journeys we got a clear view on the current situation.

Many traumatised men and women visit each other and sometimes live separated from the rest of the community. Due to their painful scars, heavy physical labour is not possible. Many of them stay at home, without any prospects of work or income. Throughout our research we found that most of the people wanted to participate in society and team up with other victims.

Bringing together different parties for brainstorming sessions led to the idea of setting up a small-scale local production. By doing market research, we discovered that there is a big demand for natural ointment. A salve that could not only ease pain in the scars of the victims. but also spark an economic impulse.  

What we designed
A physical starters kit with all the needed tools, know-how and instructions to start local, small scale production of ointment

The kit comes fully equipped and provides the entrepreneurs with a rocket stove, oil press, pots and pans and a packaging set. 

Besides the equipment, the kit comes with a production manual, instruction video, business plan and marketing tools. The starter box provides the new entrepreneurs with an overview of everything they should be aware of during year one, and assists them in every aspect of their nascent entrepreneurial endeavour.


We focused our business box sales efforts on NGOs and companies on a relatively large scale. This is because NGOs can purchase, for example, 40 starter boxes at the same time, and provide on-the-ground training to entrepreneurs in their area.

The production of the ointment proved to be too complex for the target group in Uganda to start businesses. However, Single Spark promised to be a good concept to apply to other products and business plans with a simpler production process, and NGO’s were interested in investing in the project. The concept has grown into a successful business and is active in different parts of Africa. The business, called Single Spark, is now being conducted by Peter Meijer and Sam van Veluw. Over the past years they have helped setting up businesses in beekeeping, soap making and poultry.”

Luc van Hoeckel and Pim van Baarsen

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