Kenyan Innovations: Fish Skin into Leather


fish2Proper sanitation facilities in most developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa are rare.  In Kinsumu, Kenya, there is over pollution especially near lakes where you find mostly fish skin being littered in the area.

Concerned about the amount of pollution in the community and determined to create a cleaner environment, Kenyan entrepreneur Newton Owino, decided to do something with the littered fish skin by opening a start-up whose main function is to turn fish skin into leather products.

Owino’s start-up, Alisam Product Development and Design, employs local women in the community who are paid to collect fish skin which he then turns to leather and sells them at his store.  The entrepreneur admits that the beginning stages of his business were the hardest as he hardly made any profit, but through perseverance and a bit of online marketing- sales started picking up.

fish3More people started believing in his vision once they saw that fish skin could indeed be turned into leather.  The company soon expanded, making a wide variety of leather products and selling them locally and internationally.

Although going global is one of the company’s highlights, Owino being nominated to and shortlisted to participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi is an achievement that the young entrepreneur will always be proud of.  Alisam now makes an income turnover of $300 000.

Owino’s story is a classic example of how one can turn a challenge into a business opportunity that not only benefits the entrepreneur but the community at large. Innovation at its best!