Growing up, Victorine saw her mum energetically involve herself in lots of trades, buying and selling all kinds of goods. Even though her mum, like many industrious Ghanaian market women hadn’t gone through any formal training in managing a business, she was able to turn a profit from her trade and supported herself and family. Victorine often found herself wondering how their lives would have been if their innate business acumen was polished through a formal training.
After a trip to the Northern Region, she discovered that smocks commonly known as “fugu” was fast becoming a fashion trend, bringing traders from hundreds of kilometres who purchased the smocks from local craftsmen to sell in the urban areas in the south. On the cusp of completing her Physician Assistantship degree at the Presbyterian University College, Victorine realised the entrepreneurship genes in her were waiting to be activated, so she took some contacts from the craftsmen and bidded her time. Quite shortly after that, Camfed (a female empowerment association she was part of in school) advertised an opportunity to showcase and sell Ghanaian products in Rwanda. She called one of the craftsmen and struck a deal for 20 smocks. Victorine wasted no time at all in clearing out her savings account and borrowed from a friend to pay for the order. At the end of the 2-day programme, she had sold 16 out of the 20 smocks, which was enough to pay back her loans and had made a tidy profit. The entrepreneurship genes apparently had been passed down to her and Victorine started making plans to push further than where her mother ended. She was thinking beyond profits now and thinking about how she could contribute her quota to the development of the nation.
So, when she saw the application link for the Jobs for Youth Migration and Employment Project with its goal of supporting young Ghanaian enterprises to create jobs for youth, it merged neatly with her personal goals of creating a fashion empire, which would give back to community. After a successful application she joined the first phase also known as the bootcamp and she had this to say at the end of it. “It was unbelievable. Even though I had attended a bootcamp before, this was far detailed. I learnt about the business model canvas, budget finances and pitching. After the one week, I was able to spell out my business idea and concretely shape it out”
After the incubation, she had this to say, “This is priceless, a whole 4 months for a coach to sit with me and guide me! Coaches pushed me for targets outside my comfort zone and motivated me to become intentional about making sales, my personal record in that period was as high as 20 orders a month.”
During the SME trade festivals component of the project, she was able to receive 5 sales orders and 15 potential customers.
During the next stage (acceleration), she’s had the business registered with the registrar general’s department as Vonvic Enterprise. She’s also working with two seamstresses who sew the pre-woven fabrics. She intends to introduce customised designs very soon to accommodate personal tastes. But the biggest plan of them all is to open a fashion business training centre to empower women who have the entrepreneurship genes!