Starting a small business in Ghana is one of the difficult terrains to walk especially in times when seed capital is hard to come by. This remains a dream until it is backed by a strong passion to survive. A 59 year old Abena Serwa had dreams which spurred her during the difficult times.
Her business came into being years after she had given up on trying several businesses such as dress making. The former house help after several attempts of starting her own business, recounts how far she has come.
“I started life as a house help but had a dream of starting my own business one day. I later became a seamstress apprentice but things did not work out well and finally decided to follow my passion which is cooking.”
Abena started her business some 20 years ago in a small kitchen with only two cooking utensils and a coal port. Her passion drove her on till she was able to save enough money to expand the business to its current state.
She travels about 15 kilometers from her shop to the market where she buys food stuff for the business. “I used to travel to Nsawam market early in the morning to purchase food items like cassava, plantain and a palm fruit twice in a week but now, one of my employees is responsible for that”.
Abena’s food joint is one of the popular joints in Amasaman, a suburb of Accra. Her business is situated near a cluster of basic schools which served as a major market in the early days. She currently serves one of the rapidly growing communities with urban lifestyle. Customers come from all walks of life to buy food of Ghanaian origin.
Abena’s kitchen attracts customers with different taste and backgrounds such as students, bankers, petty traders and even travelers along the main Accra to Nsawam road.
“My business is small but has a big mane in a sense that people like bankers come here for their launch break”
Prior to joining VisionFund, Abena’s business had challenges with meeting customers demand as a result of lack of capital injection to boost operations.
“I used to buy 5 baskets of cassava and 4 goats per week for a “Fufu “meal which was not enough to serve my ever ready customers. The Small and Growing Business Loan (SGB Loan) from VisionFund Ghana has helped me a lot. I can now buy 10 bags of cassava and 10 live Goats per week.”
Abena is one of the innovative entrepreneurs in the community who uses machine to process the cooked cassava and plantain into ‘Fufu’. She explains why she is applying technology in her small business. “Apart from ensuring hygiene in the process, the machine reduces stress of pounding ‘Fufu’ with man power. It also helps in reducing the waiting period because I don’t want customer to be in long queues for food”.
The business has seen tremendous growth within just 3 months of doing business with VisionFund Ghana. “I have increased my staff numbers from 8 to 14 because I needed more hands to work and serve my cherished customers. My dream is to expand the business and have branches at some areas that I have already spotted within the same community and employ more people. I also want to buy a piece of land where I can build my own shop”.