A flourishing financial future awaits the entrepreneur who ventures into the paper bag production business.
I mentioned paper bag production as one of the business ideas to take center stage in 2017, with several good reasons: the environment has become a serious talking point (as it should be), plastics and synthetic bags are gradually going out of use (here is a list of countries that have imposed a total or partial ban on plastic bags), and paper bags are very good for the environment.
In fact, one African entrepreneur started his own paper bag production empire with just $14. Ugandan Mupuya Andrew has been featured on CNN where he was hailed as the Paper Bag King.
His fortunes began when the Ugandan government made a move to stop the use of plastic bags. Taking advantage of this situation, the young Mupuya (a teenager at the time) started a small-scale paper bag production to replace plastic bags.
Recalling the event, Mupuya had said,” I conducted a feasibility study, and market research around retail shops, kiosk, and supermarkets around Kampala, and discovered that there is a need and a potential market for paper bags”. Today Mupuya is 21 years old and employs 16 staffs, producing 20,000 paper bags per week.
Mupuya’s story is a clear signal that there is so much profit to be made in paper bag production business, whether it is on a small-scale or a large-scale.
WHY PAPER BAGS?
Plastic bags pose a grave threat to the health of the environment. This growing awareness has opened up a wide market for paper bag producers. Some countries have even placed a total ban on the use of plastic bag – most notable is India.
Smart entrepreneurs like Bilikiss are making a name from clearing the environment of plastic waste. Other smart entrepreneurs like Mupuya are making a fortune from replacing plastic bags with paper bags. Whichever route you choose, it pays to take care of the environment.
Plastic bags are not bio-degradable. They have been estimated to have a shelf-life of about 250 years. In other words, bags made of plastic will not bio-degrade in time, remaining in the soil for centuries and resulting in a major environmental pollution problem.
Paper bags, on the other hand, are very eco-friendly. Been made of wood they do everything a paper bag does without all the downsides. They can be produced in the same strength as plastic bags and used for packaging all type of materials. The era of plastic bag is slowly but surely giving way to paper bags, and very soon those who dominate the production of paper bags will be smiling to the bank.
REQUIREMENTS FOR STARTING UP PAPER BAG PRODUCTION
Starting a business requires tremendous effort on the part of the entrepreneur to ensure success in the long run. Most business men who have succeeded in turning a business idea into a business empire will agree that the major requirements for a successful business are: a detailed feasibility study, an excellent business plan and finance.
When these primary requirements are in place, the entrepreneur can start putting raw materials and equipment in place to begin production.
1. CONDUCT A FEASIBILITY STUDY
A feasibility study is vital for ensuring success in paper bag production. it involves a detailed and comprehensive research on the market size, customer preference, presence of other competitors, specification of any risk that might be associated with the business, etc.
A feasibility study will determine if the business is worth venturing into, or if it will turn out to be a total waste of time.
You need to know who needs paper bags and how you can reach them. Mupuya started by supplying his paper bags to restaurants and supermarkets. Who is your customer?
Your feasibility study should show the cost effectiveness of paper bags against plastic bags. If paper bags turn out to be costlier, it would be an uphill battle trying to sell people on going for paper bags unless there’s a plastic bag ban in place.
Cost is a serious factor in business so you should find the cost of starting a paper bag production business. Mupuya started with $14 but he was a pioneer in Uganda and he had time to perfect his business. Decide if you need machines and find out how to get them. These are some of the factors that determine the feasibility of a business.
Don’t let the size or the cost of the machines fool you. You can always get locally fabricated machines at a cheaper price and upscale when profits start rolling in.
Having determined if the business is feasible, the entrepreneur should then write a business plan.
2. WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN
Just like any other business, starting up paper bag production requires a business plan. The business plan should contain all the plans put together to ensure the success of the business. All the results and findings obtained from the feasibility study should be well captured in the business plan. This helps not only to keep the business in focus of its present and future goals, but also to serve as a document for obtaining loans.
3. FINANCING THE BUSINESS
Every business requires capital. The amount of fund available will determine the scale of the business. You should have enough funds to cover materials and equipment, cost of machinery (if you are going big scale), labor, rent, etc.
It is always better to start any business with your personal funds, but here are other practical ways you can generate capital for paper bag production. You can also seek out angel investors or go into a Joint Venture or partnership with other people. Don’t let the cost discourage you. You can start small and grow. The main point is to start.
To begin a small-scale paper bag production business, the basic raw materials required include:
- Paper in rolls,
- Printing ink,
- Eyelet and
Equipment required for a large-scale production include:
- Cutting machine
- Automatic paper bag making machine
- Creasing machine
- Misc. tools and equipment.
4. PRODUCTION PROCESS
The bag manufacturing process is remarkably simple. It involves cutting the paper roll into required sizes using a cutting machine, after which the paper is folded, gummed, and sheared. In large-scale production, an automatic paper making machine is used to fold the paper into bag forms which you can done manually in a smaller setting.
Eyeleting and lacing the paper bags can also be done manually or with the aid of a machine. Eyeleting involves perforating a hole in the bag where a lace (serves as a handle) can pass through. Using machines for production depends on the quantity of bags to be produced, the weight of paper used, and also the available budget.
Watch these 2 YouTube videos. The first, a video by AV Visuals, shows the manual process of paper bag production while the second shows an automated process of production courtesy of Mondi Industrial Bags.
Don’t let the size or the cost of the machines fool you. You can always get locally fabricated machines at a cheaper cost and upscale when profits start rolling in. What matters most is for you to start something. You can try making a paper bag yourself and see if you can get a hang on the procedure.
Paper bag production is on the increase. Very soon there will be a total replacement of plastic bags with paper bags worldwide. You could start a small-scale paper bag production today, and expand as time goes on.
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