In 2010, she moved a step further by adding plantation to her business. But all these were on a very small scale as she didn’t have the time to commit fully to it.
So, in 2016, she finally made the decision to leave her job and focus on her own business fulltime.
As it stands now, the company has expanded from nursing timber seedlings to planting cash crops using modern methods that do not harm the environment.
Today, Y&M Regeneration Ltd owns 480 hectares of timber plantation (teak, mahogany, ofram, gmelina, etc), 20 acres of cashew, and 10 acres of maize farm, and other vegetable farms.
The annual production for both the timber and cash crop nurseries is around 1 million seedlings. Again, she has provided direct employment for seven other people.
She also has implemented the Integrated Biomas Project— a sustainable means of producing and using charcoal. Then, she has initiated what she calls ‘Edu 4 SDG’ which facilitates the planting of trees in schools to promote sustainable development. Yes, that is how far a business that has its roots from the lecture hall has grown.
Working in a male-dominated field
For Yvonne, choosing a field that is largely male-dominated has rather been to her advantage. She says most men are awed to see the energy and commitment with which she does her work. Because of that, they are willing to provide her with the needed assistance.
Y&M Regeneration Ltd has big plans for the future. Yvonne says in the next five years she wants to move from planting cash crops to agro-processing. Again, she wants to use innovative technology to plant other species of timber that is rarely used.
The number one challenge she mentioned is lack of adequate capital to expand. With the vision outlined for the business, she has to invest so much into technology to achieve this. But with killer-interest rates, she dreads the idea of borrowing from the bank to finance her projects. She has to rely on the revenue she generates from the business to plough back as capital and that is not enough to drive the vision.