From Fruit vendor to CEO: Maka's Inspiring Journey

June 5, 2024

Maka in her kitchen making fresh juice


In the bustling streets of Juba, South Sudan, Amaka's story shines as an example of resilience and determination. At 27, she embodies the spirit of youth empowerment through entrepreneurship, thanks to the Youth Enterprise Development and Capacity Building (YEDCB) project.

Amaka's entrepreneurial journey began 3 years ago with a humble fruit and juice business, where she rented a shop that had a sitting capacity of 10 customers. Despite her passion and hard work, she faced the familiar barriers that many young entrepreneurs encounter; limited access to capital, inflation, market challenges, and the constant struggle to balance business ambitions with household responsibilities.

Maka Scovia says “To the Youth focused, set goals, and strive to achieve them. Empowerment comes from within, and entrepreneurship offers a pathway to self-sufficiency and prosperity." 

The YEDCB project is a lifeline for aspiring youth entrepreneurs like Amaka, because it aims at enhancing employability and job creation for young women and men aged 18-35 years in South Sudan through strengthening the private sector, building entrepreneurship skills, and improving the enabling environment for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Through the project, Maka received a substantial interest-free loan of SSP 4,000,000 to expand her business. And with these newfound resources and unwavering determination, Amaka transformed her small fruit stand into a thriving enterprise that now has a sitting capacity of 30 customers and employs six individuals, including four young women and two boda boda riders for deliveries across Juba.

Speaking to one of Maka’s employees, Arich Faisal who also shares an inspiring story is a testament to the transformative power of opportunity. At 24, the single mother and an orphanage resident, Arich discovered a job opening at Amaka Fruits and Juice Shop. After successfully passing her interview, she secured employment that now enables her to independently support herself, her child and her sick brother. 

From her salary, she was able to start a shoes business in Yei. Her desire has always been to return to school and through her savings, she will be joining university to start a course in Human Resources.  Her story highlights not just personal triumph but also the positive impact of the project impact YEDCB.  of on society. 

Amaka's success extends beyond financial gains; it is a testament to the holistic support provided by the YEDCB project. Equipped with financial literacy training from UNDP, she learned essential skills in budgeting and bookkeeping, enabling her to manage her business finances effectively and repay her loan without difficulty within the stipulated loan period. The financial infrastructure of YEDCB is supported by Stanbic Bank and M-gurush.

Amaka's aspirations do not end with her current achievements. With a vision as vast as the African horizon, she dreams of expanding her business empire further. Plans for new branches in Juba and a local food restaurant are already in motion, with ambitious dreams of establishing a juice processing plant that will supply markets across East Africa.

Grateful for the support she received, Amaka extends her heartfelt appreciation to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) for believing in the potential of young entrepreneurs like herself. With their continued support, she envisions a future where the youth and women of South Sudan can thrive as active participants in the country's economic growth and development.

"I am proud to share that I have not only expanded my business but also contributed to my country by employing four young women aged between 21 and 23, along with two reliable boda boda riders who handle deliveries all across Juba, I also diligently pay my taxes." says Maka