Creating wine markets in Africa
Natasha Boks building networks for wine export
Owner at NBW Consulting
With more than a decade of winemaking experience behind her, Stellenbosch entrepreneur and wine ambassador Natasha Boks is using her extensive network and skills to create markets for some of the Cape’s finest wines in Africa.
With her sights sets on Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Zambia, Natasha started her wine export consultancy – NBW Consulting – in 2017 after working for more than ten years as a winemaker on some of Distell’s top wines. To prepare her for her entrepreneurial journey, Natasha upskilled herself with a Wine Business Management short course at the University of Cape Town’s Business school last year.
Although wine is relatively new to African markets, Natasha knew from the start she had to ensure solid relationships with the countries she is targeting for her clients’ wine products. She engages with the various governments and built her contacts from there, keep up to date with politics and makes sure she communicates regularly with each wine ambassador and contacts.
“Infrastructure and technology are probably the biggest challenges one has to deal with in creating African wine markets,” says Natasha. She had to make sure she understands each country’s distribution channels to have more than one option for delivery. “My government contacts help a lot in situations where I need interventions in case something goes wrong in the distribution channels.”
Natasha says a further challenge is about regulations for wine which is a relatively new commodity in Africa.
An emerging trend is the number of Africans who studied abroad and are now returning to their countries of birth. “There are a lot of young graduates who are currently returning to Africa and want to build their countries’ economies. They bring a lot of money and skills back into their countries and become valuable contacts for doing business with,” says Natasha.
Giving back to her community
Born and raised in Cloetesville, Stellenbosch, Natasha studied at Stellenbosch University after school and obtained her BSc (Agriculture) Oenology and Viticulture. Being an entrepreneur from an early age and encouraged by her dad, she opened a shop at Coetzenburg stadium which she managed during her varsity years for extra money.
From University she started working at Distell and was the head white wine maker at Nederburg from 2013 to 2017, having received a lot of awards for wines within the portfolio she worked.
“We want to establish a culture of “each one, teach one”
Agriculture is her life, says Natasha, and to give back to her community. Inspired by her mother’s side of the family, who had an extensive vegetable garden. Natasha soon will embark on food security projects such as producing vegetables for soup kitchens and assist to empower the youth in the community where she was raised in Cloetesville. “We want to establish a culture of “each one, teach one” where we will empower unemployed youth with the right skills in Plant Production and assist to build a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem for Urban Gardening and Hydroponic farming. We want these young entrepreneurs to also teach one by setting up small projects running in schools and their immediate communities. If you have soil, you have food; my mother used to say.”
By instilling a sense of pride in the youth, Natasha believes she is planting seeds in children to become entrepreneurs in future.
If you want to read more about Natasha and her latest ventures, visit her website at www.nbwconsulting.com