Siny Samba is the Co-founder and CEO of Le Lionceau, in Dakar, Senegal, a company manufacturing the country’s first indigenous baby food.
Before Samba started her business, she had degree in agric food. she worked as an R&D engineer at Blédina, the baby food branch of French food multinational Danone because she had a passion for producing food. she was keen to know how to make jams and preserves.
While she was still working in France, she began to take interest in events in her native country, particularly in the baby food sector. She recalled taking a trip to Senegal and noticing that all the baby foods on the shelves of various supermarkets were imported.
This led her to conceive the idea of starting a local baby food-producing company in Senegal. With funding and support from Women Investment Club (WIC), Hub Impact Dakar, and more investors, she co-founded Le Lionceau in 2018 with a classmate from agricultural engineering school.
At first, Samba started Le Lionceau off small, really small in the kitchen. That is where she tested out the baby food recipes by gathering a group of more than 10 mothers and made them try out the recipes so they could give her feedback. She first started with one recipe, banana millet.
The feedback of the mothers inspired her to work on new recipes for infants after giving birth. Since then, she and her team have produced a variety of baby foods, including sweet potato, ditakh (a type of wild fruit), bouye (baobab fruit), solom (a type of tamarind), papaya, mango, and niebe (black-eyed pea).
Her baby food producing company now has some 20 excellent workers and offers 15 varieties of organic baby food, compotes, biscuits, and cereals. Since the company started in 2018, it has quadrupled its sales in the last four years.
Having found success in Senegal, Samba said the next phase of the company is to expand to the West African market, targeting Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, and Mali. The company is also targeting the diaspora market and is exploring a partnership with online retailers.