Rosaline Ahine is a 42-year old parent of three who lives in Takoradi. She owns My Dream Plus, a hair-dressing salon in the Takoradi Metropolis. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Rosaline was making her own organic hair products, including pomades and liquid soaps.
In 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic began, Rosaline decided to mass-produce liquid soap for key institutions in the Western region of Ghana. To contribute to the fight against COVID-19, she also sought funding for the mass production of face masks.
‘I was home one day when a friend called me about a competition for entrepreneurs who are taking action against COVID-19. It sounded interesting, so I applied. I applied to similar competitions many times before but never received feedback on my applications, so my hopes were not high. However, this time I received a positive response and qualified for the competition.’
Rosaline was referring to her participation in the GrEEn COVID-19 Innovation Challenge. The challenge aimed to support innovative entrepreneurs with local solutions to tackle the pandemic in the Western and Ashanti regions of Ghana. The challenge was organised with i-CODE in Takoradi as part of SNV’s Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) project.
Rosaline was selected as one of the four winners of the challenge, granting her over GHS 13,000 (~ € 1,880) for her project. Rosaline’s accomplishment was mostly due to the existence of a solid business proposal and plan, as well as her proactive attitude – both in making and selling face masks at the local market in Takoradi
‘At the beginning, I was producing face masks in small quantities. Thanks to the grant, I hired a worker to produce on a large scale. The face masks were certified and approved by the Food and Drugs Authority. GrEEn also encouraged me to diversify my products. I used some of the money to buy equipment to produce sanitisers and liquid soaps, which also received approval from the Food and Drugs Authority.’
As one of the four winners of the GrEEn challenge, Rosaline benefitted from the project’s business advisory services. She also received support in conducting a market analysis for all three products.
‘GrEEn trained me in branding and how to market my products. The training activities increased my interest in marketing and encouraged me to enrol in an online marketing course at Takoradi Technical University to grow my business beyond the Western region.’
‘I was introduced to the Agona Nkwanta District Assembly for whom I produced 1,000 pieces of 200ml liquid soaps, 500 pieces of 500ml sanitisers, and 500 pieces of face masks. Now, I have a factory in Fijia where I produce sanitisers and face masks for pharmacies and businesses in the region.’
For Rosaline, GrEEn’s support went beyond business.
‘Doing something for myself and being successful at it made me feel strong and respected as a woman.’
Rosaline, eager to share her experience and raise the status of other women, is now supporting the GrEEn Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) internship programme. Today, her factory is offering internship opportunities and employment for young people.