My name is Lina Sara Mathew Alonga. I was born in Torit Town, Eastern Equatoria State, South Sudan. I am the first born of six from a humble family of Mr Mathew Alonga Urbano and Mrs Dementila Abwo Mathew. God has blessed me with three children.
I attended my primary school from Bulluk “A” Primary School, Juba and St. Augustine Secondary School, Khartoum, Sudan. I Joined Bahr El Ghazal University where I obtained my BSc. in Chemistry and Biology and a Diploma in Education 2003. In 2013, I joined Juba University where I studied MSc in Biology (Botany) and graduated in 2016. I worked as Chemistry and a Biology teacher in Kinneti, St Augustine and Seventh Day Adventist School in Khartoum, later as data entry Clark with International Organization Migration (IOM) and Finance Officer with United Nation Mine Action Group (UNMAG). Back home, I lecture Biology at Bahr El Ghazal University. It was Bahr El Ghazal University where I developed a passion for natural products research and formulation, and I got motivated to pursue PhD studies in Pharmacognosy and Natural Medicine Science at Mbarara University of Science and Technology. I am an incubate at the PHARMBIOTRAC – Natural Products Business Incubator (PNPBI), supported by the RUFORUM Entrepreneurship Challenge Program (RECAP).
My mother has been an inspiration to me. She has always had good knowledge of medicinal products extracted from plants. Through her innovativeness, my mother has been able to create amazing culinary and skin care products for home use. Some of her creations have been effective so much so that I have relied on them for treating my skin rashes and smoothening my own skin.
It was from such an experience that I started the Lin-Rayon General Trading Company Ltd, which specializes in manufacture of skin and hair care natural products.
The business was motivated by testimonies from people who were facing skin challenges such as acne. Among the skin care products are: body cleanser known as Lirayon Carrot Face & Body Cleanser for rejuvenating dull looking skin, Lirayon Rosemarinus Hair Boosting Oil for hair growth and prevention of baldness and dandruff and LINJAM T Tree Face & Body Lotion for acne. LIN-RAYON GENERAL TRADING LTD aims at producing affordable and accessible high quality products using modern technologies while conserving the environment. Our business is targeting both male and female adolescents and adults who have skin issues such as acne. We aim to reach our clients through radio stations, social media, word of mouth, fliers & brochures, among others. The company is formally registered in Juba, South Sudan.
As a female running the Lin-Rayon General Trading Company Ltd, I have become a role model to many, my social network has expanded to both young and adults and I am able to cover for my living expenses and provide for some school requirements for my children and family members. My company has created opportunities for some of the community members who supply raw materials.
Our success story starts with the fact that we have been able to translate our ideas into products. Secondly, our products have successfully entered the skin care products’ market where they found a niche. Thirdly, our products have been receiving favourable reviews from our clients. Lastly, we have continued to experiment on different formulations while soliciting feedback from potential users for improving the final products. While Lin-Rayon General Trading Company Ltd has been successful in many respects, it has however faced several challenges including insufficient capital to expand its share capital, limited production space, limited marketing opportunities and follow-up.
In the next one year, we aim to finalise the formulation of the LINJAM T. Tree for acne management product with a possibility of having it on the market in Uganda and South Sudan and have it registered with the Q Mark from the Uganda National Bureau of Standards. For the improvement of the incubation program at MUST, I strongly recommend that the incubation center continues to fund and support the existing innovators with additional grants, until they can stand on their own and produce on a large scale and compete on the international market. Further, I suggest that RUFORUM increases the grant amount and number of beneficiaries so that more opportunities are provided to young innovators to pilot, test and grow their business ideas. To the African Development Bank, the Government of Uganda, and other African countries, I recommend an increase in funding entrepreneurship and business incubation while providing an enabling business environment.
“When you fail, it doesn’t mean that you should stop dreaming”. “All big things always start small”. I therefore encourage young people to start businesses, remain committed to them and always seek help. Foremost, they should always have mentors.
Authors contact details.
Dr. Lina Sara Mathew Alonga
WA: +211 920 236 850 (South Sudan)
WA: +256 761 692536 (Uganda)