We were inspired by Global Entrepreneurship Week (Nov. 8-14) and are excited to share the success of a youth entrepreneur in Guinea who has expanded her product line thanks to support received from Winrock’s Farmer-to-Farmer program. Enterprise Fatou et Kadija (EFK), a startup company in Guinea led by a young woman named Fatou Titine Cissoko, is gaining success by providing juice and jam products that meet market demand and quality standards.
Ms. Cissoko was trained in entrepreneurship topics by prior USAID-funded Associate Awards implemented by Winrock International and CNFA. As part of her participation in entrepreneurship
training, Ms. Cissoko created a business plan and received a grant of US$ 900 (8,134,500 GNF) to start her fruit drying business, EFK. Since starting the business in 2019, she has added the production of drinks and jams made from fruits such as ginger, pineapple, mango, etc.
Recognizing that she needed further technical and organizational capacity-building skills to grow her business, Ms. Cissoko reached out to the Guinea Farmer-to-Farmer program to receive
trainings in financial literacy and food processing and preservation to better produce tropical fruit drinks.
“During the financial literacy training, I learned how to approach financial institutions with my business plan. I admit that I was afraid because these institutions are very demanding, and as a young entrepreneur, I have no guarantees to offer. Nevertheless, following my meeting with them, two of the most important banks in the area came back to me and offered me credit opportunities…”, explains Ms. Cissoko. She plans to utilize a finance option soon to invest in expanding her production and feels that the banks’ willingness to offer her credit options offers an opportunity to prove that young entrepreneurs are solid investments.
The Farmer-to-Farmer technical training focused on processing techniques followed the financial literacy capacity building and has led to additional product offerings for EFK. Prior to receiving training, EFK was unable to produce quality ginger juice and jams. Since receiving training, EFK now produces and sells quality ginger juice, jams, and monkey bread juice, resulting in a 40 to 50% increase in profits. EFK has sold more than 300 bottles of monkey juice alone within the few months after learning of this new product from the Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer.
Ms. Cissoko and EFK’s goals are to continue to expand product offerings that meet quality standards and hope as the business grows that they are able to employ more young staff in the future.