Our vision statement is to become a global nutrition, health and wellness company that achieves better health for the majority of Ghanaian population by 2030
Bright and Millicent’s vision for the next ten years is to become considerable contributors to public and global health development in Ghana. This started when in 2006, Millicent, was diagnosed with acute anemia at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Ghana. At the hospital, one of the doctors advised Millicent to consume a local food, called turkey berry. These hearty plants are rich in plant-based iron and therefore extremely favorable to cure or prevent anemia.
After only two weeks of taking the berries, her hemoglobin level had already increased by 100%. The proof of the pudding motivated Bright and Millicent to dive deeper into the health benefits of turkey berries and ushered the creation of their small food start-up, Achiever Foods Limited. AFL sells turkey berry-based food products, in cooperation with smallholder farmers harvesting the fruits in their community while hospitals use their organic products. OCHQ interviewed Bright to know more about their impactful and meaningful couple business.
When and how did you get into the Orange Corners Programme? To what extent did it help your business to improve/increase and to reach your business goals?
“In 2019, Millicent applied for the Orange Corners programme in Ghana with our business concept. She was chosen among the last 15 candidates for the first cohort of the programme. Quickly, we started attending meetings, trainings, and the mentorship courses. This not only helped us to get in touch with the Dutch community in Ghana, beneficial for business and social purposes, but also strengthened our relationship private partners such as Fidelity Bank. The programme has been very helpful for us because we have been able to learn how to set up a good governance structure, established our business foundations and strengthened the policies we had with our employees and farmers. We also improved our accountability basis which sustained our start-up to reach the position where it is today. We are very grateful for the Orange Corners opportunity, as it tremendously helped us to maximise our opportunities and to promote our products online, which will increase our visibility and further expand our business.”
Currently, our products are available in 11 supermarkets in Accra and 215 pharmacies and Health shops across Ghana. ”
Could you tell us a little bit more about your background and the status quo of your business?
“I hold a BSc. Chemistry from the University of Ghana and Millicent holds a BSc. Food Science and Nutrition from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. I have always been interested in pharmaceutical market development and in social entrepreneurship. Over the years, we have been featured in the media as guests for youth leadership and capacity building programmes to inspire the youth in achieving their goals. In July 2021, we moved our manufacturing factory to a larger facility as part of our organic growth strategies in order to meet the increasing demand for our products. In our facility, we process organic teas, juices and powders that can be added to food to improve flavour and increase iron, antioxidants, fibre and vitamins and thus the nutritional value of food. The benefits of turkey berries and the rest of our raw materials cannot be underemphasised. The berries help to stabilise blood sugar, boost energy and blood health, control blood pressure, improve immune systems and blood circulating in the vessels, all to reduce the risk of getting chronic diseases. Currently, our products are already available in 11 supermarkets in Accra and 215 pharmacies and Health shops across Ghana. ”
Our start-up targets what a balanced food consumption can truly achieve: Health in an Organic Way.”
How did you choose the name? What does it stand for?
“One of the reasons why we chose the name Achiever Foods Limited is because of it’s global attractive connotation. By the time we picked the name, I had some public health programmes running and Millicent was recovering from anemia. We sat down at that point and the name The Achieving Woman Consults (TAWC) came up, which is the same name as her NGO Achieving Woman Consults. Her non-governmental organisation empowers woman to be the leading voices in their communities and strengthens the capacity building of young ladies’ girls in high schools via training. It is something close to her heart and she’s pursuing that vision with all her energy. The aim of our a business in the food product development is to support people in similar situations she had to face when she was in her worst situation. Our start-up eventually targets what a balanced food consumption can truly achieve: Health in an Organic Way.”
What are in your opinion the company’s strengths in relation to other companies?
“Our sales outreach is very strong. We work directly with the health sectors that have tested the product and trust them for their potency rate. Not only are our products profitable for patients that are ill, but the product can also be used by everyone, for optimum health every day!
Currently, we are working on improving our product DALIHA, which means strength and pleasant Hebrew, Greek mixed with Ewe, our local language. We are working on increasing our products lines and projects. We are for example dealing with a lot of waste generating that results from destemming the fruit from the farm. With an eye to the future, we hope to convert some of our wastes into animal feed, that can be used again. Disposing waste properly adds up to the value chain of our company and our corporate social responsibility. We work together with six different farmers that sometimes even have more fruits than our current capacity can handle! We are looking for funding opportunities to migrate from a manual system to automation. Moreover, we allocate one percentage of our profit to support pregnant women’s health in Ghana. Our aim in this corporate social responsibility is to contribute towards the reduction of maternal mortality. “
What struggles did you encounter with starting your own business and how did you overcome it?
“We started our entire business with just 65 USD. We had a big vision with literally no funds at hand to begin. But that did not stop us from starting with what was available. We decided to quit our respective jobs which were not fetching enough income to run our home in order to fully pursue this vision. Interestingly, about 90% of our first products were rejected by customers because they didn’t trust the brand. But, we carried on, never gave up and kept pushing through until our products were largely on the market.
We encountered other difficult situations as we kept growing organically, including acquiring certification and business vehicles. Within three years of business, we have received three awards at Global, African and National levels. These awards equally motivate us to push more. ”
Where do you want to grow to in relation to current accomplishments?
“Our vision statement is to become a global nutrition, health and wellness company that achieves better health for the majority of Ghanaian population by 2030. We anticipate achieving this by ”providing innovative organic food solutions that aims at achieving the health and quality needs of consumers with organic and super food products in eco-friendly packages to contribute to the achievement of global food security and malnutrition reduction without side effects”. In the upcoming 5 years, we hope to start exporting our brand to 6 West African countries (Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kenya and South Africa), UK, US and Europe!”
Could you give other aspiring entrepreneurs advice for their own business?
“I would like to advise aspiring entrepreneurs to look at the following critical steps in starting a business; First, create a unique product or service; Second, read, read and keep reading on the products in your chosen industry to easily improve the quality of your products, the work environment and delivery services. Third, be ready to push through during the hard times, especially in the beginning. Fourth, make sure to stay focused on your business. Five, develop a resilient attitude towards building your brand no matter the reactions you may get from the market.”
The Orange Corners programme has been very helpful for us because we have been able to learn how to set up a good governance structure, established our business foundations and strengthened the policies with our employees and farmers.
What other advice would you give to aspiring or current entrepreneurs?
“There are three words that I would like to pass on to current and aspiring entrepreneurs: Adapt, Apply and Innovative. Even if your product line is already on the market, learn how to adapt to it, apply what your competitors are doing and add your own innovation to it frequently! This is the formula for eternal growth and long-term development in every business anywhere, any day and anytime! ”