Learn Dutch (in 6 months!) when you are 23 and then, in your new homeland, go on to successfully complete a university degree in sociology, set up a catering company making Kenyan snacks and open an agency for training, coaching, counselling and empowerment. Meet Elizabeth Njeru, founder and creator of the brand Mama Kenia.
What’s remarkable about Elizabeth is that she doesn’t just help others give meaning to their lives. She is herself also living proof that everyone can start a new chapter in their life and be successful. What’s more, according to Elizabeth, it’s easier than you think. People are actually able to do much more than they themselves believe they are capable of. “You just have to look at your talents or capabilities differently. Take me, for example. When I was nine, I actually already had the skills to run a catering company.”
There, I’ve got it
“I grew up on a farm in Kenya, with lots of fruit trees and animals,” says Elizabeth. “I was cooking for eleven people from a young age already. Nowadays we call it ‘organising a menu’, but for me it was normal to be thinking up different meals, getting all the ingredients together, not forgetting in the evening to shut the chicken away that you wanted to eat the following day, making sure that the different meals were ready on time and setting the table. It was only when I came to live in the Netherlands that it occurred to me I could make a business out of it.” That business became the catering company Mama Kenia, specialising in samosas – triangular-shaped, crispy, filled snacks.
Dare to ask
Elizabeth quickly found that her samosas and other Kenyan snacks were going down well and fitted perfectly with Dutch drinking and social culture. She also realised that her name, Mama Kenia, was ‘super-unique’, and that there was a high possibility it might be copied. So, via Google, she finished up at a Dare-to-ask meeting organised by the Chamber of Commerce and BOIP about protecting your ideas.
Nice and quick
“BOIP’s Jan Hart explained everything to me and answered all my questions. After that, I registered my trademark myself. I was able to do that nice and quickly, which gave me - and still does - a great deal of peace of mind. You never know what will happen in the future and I want to have my affairs in good order.” In the meantime, Elizabeth has further expanded her coaching and training activities, still under the name Mama Kenia – which is a conscious choice. “I might soon have to find a new name for my new activities though. I’m thinking about it.”
Register your trademark in four steps
Registration protects the value of your brand. Be aware: There is a lot to consider when applying for trademark registration. And there are costs involved. Use these four steps to check what opportunities and possibilities are open to you.
Start the four steps