After she had the opportunity to participate in the September Jobs for Youth SME Trade festivals, a key component of the Jobs for Youth Migration and Employment Project, Justina had this to say about her experience, “The SME trade festival was very successful. As a participant I got the opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs and learn from them. I also generated a new idea for my business during the presentation by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, on how to make my product exportable. I also learnt that I don’t need to be a big company to get registered by the FDA and GSA. In addition to this I learnt that the doors of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre are open to entrepreneurs and there are similar bodies that are willing to help build young budding entrepreneurs such as myself. Furthermore, as an exhibitor my products were well patronized. I exhibited “ofam”, crunchy peanut butter, frozen spring rolls and samosas. The peanut butter and “ofam” got sold out. The exhibition was more than worth it. I will recommend the SME Trade festival to any upcoming entrepreneur. I want to express my gratitude to British Council and GIZ for organizing the trade festival. It was highly impactful.”
Justina, 32, had a relatively successful life managing a branch of one of the country’s leading banks when one day after buying a snack from the coffeeshop next door to the office, she felt nostalgic about the indigenous snacks her childhood was so full of. A lightbulb went on in her head and she started to think about creating a business around the production and marketing of indigenous snacks. Even though her first degree was in Sociology and Social Work and she is currently an MBA candidate, in this she was combining another passion of hers, her long held desire to work for herself.
She was still at the idea stage when a friend told her about the Jobs for Youth programme. After an initial check she found out that she had heard about the news a little too late. Applications had already been received and successful applicants had been moved into the entrepreneurship training bootcamp. Justina, upon realizing there were no more slots in the Accra side of the program, requested a leave of absence from her banking job and travelled from her residence in Accra to Kumasi each weekend (a 5-hour journey!) for 2 weeks so she could be part of the program. She feels the sacrifice was worth it because she was able to transform her entrepreneurial ideas up to the start-up stage.
When asked about her progress at the end of training she answered “I am now at the start up stage. I have an Instagram page called Bites4933 with 66 followers, I have delivered my first order of caramel toffee and I have orders to deliver next week.” “The videos I watched during the training taught me to start small. If I had not started small, Bites would not be a reality today.” Justina has had about 20 orders from the page since then and going strong.
Justina also learnt in her training that “No idea is bad, it needs to be crafted well to meet a need. I must look for a market niche that would appreciate the product. I must be consistent in producing quality”.
Buoyed up by these newfound skills which made her dreams closer to reality, it wasn’t long before she resigned from her work to focus on her new enterprise. Justina has so far had 10 returning customers with two major clients lined up. She is currently working on her product packaging as well as acquiring a physical location to sell her products.