“An idea is not enough, you need a plan”, Mujahid Emambokus
MORIVERT was founded by Mujahid Emambokus, a dynamic and creative eco-entrepreneur on a mission to give back to nature while providing employment opportunities to people. In Mauritius, there is a lot of waste paper that is either burnt or re-exported. MORIVERT collects this paper waste to create plantable pencils. Their goal? As Mujahid loves saying, “Instead of cutting down a tree to make a pencil, each time we use a pencil, we are planting one.”
Born out of a dream to build a greener tomorrow, MORIVERT was among the social enterprises selected to participate in Trampoline’s Impact Accelerator Programme in January 2022. This innovative social enterprise has developed environmentally friendly pencils that are made of recycled trash collected from companies, with zero wood in them, with seeds inside a biodegradable capsule. Once used, they can be planted and get a second life as a beautiful tree, plant, or flower. But the brand didn’t flourish overnight. After several months within the programme, it is now ready to reach the next level with improved, automated production. Discover all about this inspiring growth with the founder, Mujahid.
MORIVERT has undergone some big changes, starting from its production and packaging. Was your journey what you expected so far?
I started MORIVERT with an idea, but not really with a plan. I was only concentrating on how to produce my pencils, which I thought would be like climbing Everest. In fact, that was just a hill. I realized that getting your product made was just the beginning. The bigger mountain I had to climb was how to create an enterprise and make customers buy. You can have the most amazing product or service in the world, but if you don’t know how to market it, there’s a big problem. Customers just go on with their normal lives regardless of what new exciting enterprise pops up on the market. So, then, I was wondering how to grab their attention and get them to buy my product? I didn’t really know where to start, and this is when I decided to participate in Trampoline’s Impact Accelerator Programme.
How did the programme make a change for you?
It was (and still is) a total game changer. I understood that every great enterprise must be customer focused at its core. When I began to grasp who my ideal customer was, I could alter my plan of action, including my marketing strategy, my pricing, as well as my brand’s identity. I didn’t have packaging when I started. Now I am working on different packaging for each category of pencils I offer.
You are working closely with mentors and advisors during the programme. How are they helping you in the journey?
They have been a great support for me since day 1. I have learned how to improve my production, how to pitch, do forecasts, do a marketing plan, who is my client, and how to secure a sale. When I started, I had a great product, but I didn’t think of all these different aspects that are crucial to becoming sustainable.
I thought that my pencils were competing with the wooden pencils that are found everywhere on the market, but it was a mistake. Although the idea of targeting a niche market didn’t occur to me at first, Trampoline helped me to realize that in fact, it was vital to go into more depth to find these specific people who will think what I have to sell is special, unique, and with a great story behind it. First of all, my pencils are made from recycled paper, and they have been created to have a second life. They can be planted after use and will grow into a beautiful plant or flower. This is quite exceptional and has nothing to do with the traditional wood pencils we know. As a result, it should not be marketed in the same way.
What have you gained so far?
I can clearly say that the experience I gained over the past months made MORIVERT much more professional. Through the training I did, and with the help of my mentors, I found out that, in my case, the key is to find a very specific market that will rave about my product because I am trying to resolve the problem of paper waste and encourage the planting of trees, plants, and flowers.
This process doesn’t just stop there. Now that we have narrowed down the target markets, I have to continue evaluating and refining as I go along, with the help of my mentors, to make sure I am on the right path.
What would you say to young social entrepreneurs who also want to launch their enterprise?
Entrepreneurship, and social entrepreneurship, even more, are extremely difficult in Mauritius. I don’t think that you wake up one day as a successful entrepreneur. Nothing happens by chance. It is a lot of commitment and perseverance. But it is a continuous process that you will grow to enjoy. I have been blessed to have the support of my wife, my parents, fantastic friends, and now, of Trampoline. I would not have managed on my own. So, my advice would be, to get all the support you can, and give it all you have. If you truly believe in your idea, good planning is essential. Never lose hope, as when you start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, the feeling of satisfaction is worth all the sacrifices and the long hours. I am very grateful for my journey and cannot wait to present my new packaging and improved products to Mauritius!
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