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From Cameroon To Villanova, An Entrepreneur’s Journey To Develop A Healthful Tea

By Diane Mastrull
The Philadelphia Inquirer

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) If all goes according to Vanessa Zommi Kungne’s plan, she will graduate from Villanova next year with a master’s degree in chemical engineering and be accepted into an MBA program that would start in 2019. In between, her plan is to return to Cameroon and apply what she’s learned at Villanova to boost production of her tea company and begin exporting her product to other African countries and, ultimately, the United States.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

As a resident of Cameroon, in West Africa, Vanessa Zommi Kungne already was a rarity among Villanova University’s student body when she arrived last spring.

The resume she brought distinguished her even more:

Founder of a tea company at age 17.

Selected as one of Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 entrepreneurs and featured in a CNN story on Africa’s economic-
development boom.

One of 12 finalists for Africa’s premier award for young entrepreneurs, the Anzisha Prize.

Winner of a start-up pitch contest in Cameroon, netting $2,000 in prize money and another $2,000 from an impressed import/export company.

“To be the Lipton of Africa,” Kungne said of her aspirations for Afya Tea. “Right now, I’m dealing with chemical engineering.”

If all goes according to plan, the 21-year-old will graduate from Villanova next year with a master’s degree in chemical engineering and be accepted into an MBA program that would start in 2019.

In between, her plan is to return to Cameroon and apply what she’s learned at Villanova to boost production and begin exporting tea to other African countries and, ultimately, the United States.

Key is a crowd-funding campaign launching later this month on Indiegogo to raise $150,000 for equipment to automate what is now manual production. With grinders, electric dryers, and packaging machines in place, revenues could quickly reach $600,000 a year, Kungne said.

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