Somaliland herbal cosmetics firm shows the way for entrepreneurs
Riyan Organic Cosmetics is doing a roaring business in natural skin and hair care products, made from local plants and herbs in Somaliland.
The business’s owner and founder, Muna Magan, graduated in science and nutrition from Westminster University in UK in 2014 and returned to Hargeisa to set up her dream company in 2016.
Muna grows her own organic plants and herbs, such as aloe vera and Moringa trees, at her farm in Haro-hadley village, 50 km north of Hargeisa. She has a workforce of 19 people, including 13 women, with jobs ranging from planting to manufacturing to sales and marketing. The jobs pay between $60 and $200.
One of her aims in setting up business was to provide opportunity for local women.
“My main aim is not making a profit but showing women that they can make an independent living,” Muno said.
“I hope to export these Somali products abroad so we can compete with the rest of the world.”
She makes around 50 products a week that sell locally in a very short time.
Dr Nuh Botan, who works in Hargeisa hospital, is involved in researching and testing the products to ensure they do not harm the skin or general health of people. He said they are much safer than imported products, and they have found that some have healing and health promoting properties.
Young people form the largest consumer base for Riyan Organic products. Ahmed Abdirahman has been using oil made from the local Moringa tree for five months. He told Radio Ergo his hair had become much healthier.
The ministry of commerce in Somaliland encourages young entrepreneurs to come up with business ideas, and offer support for business start ups. Osman Ahmed Ali, a ministry official, said agri-business holds a lot of economic potential.