Hermione Awounou wants to feed Senegal with local, healthy snacks

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Hermione’s enterprise ACASEN works with ITC’s Alliances for Motion to advertise ‘made in Senegal’ cashew merchandise. She’s a part of a development that’s shifting Africa away from exporting solely uncooked commodities.

A wave of completed merchandise touting the catch phrase ‘made in Africa’ is on the rise, because the world acknowledges that the continent has a lot extra to supply than uncooked commodities.

From roasted espresso and chocolate to style and inside design, African international locations are positioning themselves on the worldwide market with a brand new portfolio and mindset. In Senegal, entrepreneurs are exploring how one can add worth to cashews, for the native and worldwide markets.

ACASEN is one in all these corporations, led by co-founder Hermione Awounou, a lady with a imaginative and prescient that goes past turning a revenue. This Senegalese household enterprise seeks to rework native crops into high-quality and progressive merchandise.

By including worth to cereals, cashew nuts, peanuts and potatoes, Hermione hopes to open native markets for wholesome and genuine pure merchandise. ‘Our goal is to advertise “made in Africa” by providing wholesome and pure merchandise in collaboration with our helpful native suppliers,’ says Hermione.

By doing this, she desires to create wealth and employment for girls and youth within the nation. She additionally hopes to advertise rural growth by sourcing immediately from producers in Senegal and surrounding international locations.

With 20 years of expertise, ACASEN’s shoppers embrace large oil corporations Whole, Elton and Shell, who signify an enormous community for product distribution. Different prestigious shoppers embrace giant inns like Radisson Blu, and airline corporations together with Air Senegal.

From commodities to value-added merchandise

In Senegal, below the Netherlands Trust Fund V programmethe Alliances for Action sustainable agribusiness initiative on the Worldwide Commerce Centre (ITC) is working with cashew companies to develop their operations sustainably, enhance their competitiveness and attain new markets. ACASEN is without doubt one of the enterprises on this cohort.

‘Our market have to be the primary client of our personal manufacturing,’ says Hermione. ‘We need to feed Senegal and Africa our wholesome snack merchandise which can be domestically made and the results of direct relationships with Senegalese producers and intermediaries.’

Hermione explains that Africa’s giant inhabitants additionally has nice potential. Nonetheless, challenges stay for African entrepreneurs wanting so as to add worth in-country.

‘After we export merchandise in keeping with required requirements, premium merchandise take priority, and the “sorting deviations” stay to be consumed domestically,’ says Hermione. ‘It’s tragic. I need to see premium merchandise consumed by Africans who can afford them. The concepts are there, however the sources are missing.’

She underscores a scarcity of funding as the largest impediment, and the necessity for Africans to develop their very own tools applied sciences to develop sustainably.

Girl-led development

ACASEN is the embodiment of three generations of ladies. Based by Hermione’s mom and later taken over by Hermione herself, she is now educating her daughter the fundamentals of operating the enterprise. Extra importantly, she’s exhibiting her what the larger image is, and the way they will play a job within the growth of Senegal’s value-added sector.

‘I need to bequeath to my kids the enterprise and data I acquired from my very own mom. I additionally need them to have the arrogance to maneuver ahead and evolve in their very own route,’ she says.

WIC Capital is a neighborhood investor that seeks to unleash the expansion potential of women-led companies by offering sufficient capital, technical help and enterprise networks. They’ve performed an energetic function in ACASEN’s enterprise growth by investing within the firm whereas providing extra technical assist from the WIC Academy to make sure environment friendly use of the funding.

In response to Hermione, ladies will play a vital function within the growth of Africa’s enterprise panorama.

‘The African lady, for me, is the lady who manages every thing,’ she says.

‘She has an internal capability that permits her to take cost and succeed. Like my mom, I need to lead, pilot and succeed within the initiatives I undertake. For me, feminine entrepreneurship is the best way to develop our financial system and our industries. The African lady is visionary but additionally prudent, which is important for entrepreneurship.’

Hermione, with the assist of ITC and the NTFV programme, is taking a look at product diversification, packaging and tech options to scale up her model and enhance ACASEN’s market presence in-country and overseas. As a part of this system assist, the corporate has been supported for the structuring of its fundraising technique and ready for the funding utility.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Worldwide Commerce Centre.

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