31 Jul. 2019

Ghanaian shea brand expands into the middle east


Solution Oasis is a socially-conscious Ghanaian agro-processing company that manufactures high-quality natural skincare products from African butters, oils, and herbs for the domestic and international markets.

Besides offering premium value for money, the company stays true to its social enterprise origins by maximising social impact throughout its supply chain. For instance, Solution Oasis sources its shea butter from women from Tamale and its environs. The beauty brand also initiated a financing system for youths attending junior high school: young men are paid wages in return for assisting the company with packaging tasks during their holidays. A portion of their salaries will be saved and returned to them as allowance when school reopens.

As a member of the UK Department for International Development-funded (DFID-funded) SheTrades in the Commonwealth programme, Solution Oasis participated in a business training workshop in October 2018 delivered by SheTrades partner, the Global Shea Alliance, a shea product packaging working and coaching sessions in April 2019, and a shea formulation workshop in June 2019. In November 2018, Solution Oasis attended the Middle Eastern Organic Expo (MENOPE) in Dubai with the goal of meeting new clients for contract manufacturing. It was at MENOPE that Solution Oasis engaged an Emirati buyer who later confi rmed an order of 14,400 pieces of soap.

The shea brand was the buyer’s first supplier from Africa. Ms. Aseye Bakah, Head of Production for the company, remarked: “This is our first client for contract manufacturing in Dubai and we are grateful to SheTrades for the pre-exhibition and participation preparation. These helped optimise our engagements with buyers. We look forward to more contracts from Dubai.”

Speaking to SheTrades consultants Caroline Kemunto and Edison Yap during her visit to ITC in late June, Founder and CEO of Solution Oasis Francesca Opoku recounted how much her product packaging has been transformed since she attended the April workshop delivered by ITC’s in-house expert, Mr. Frederic Couty. “I briefly met Frederic today and showed him my new packaging. He provided very constructive feedback. I am going to get these changes made once I am back home.”Mrs. Opoku is excited for what is to come. With business prospects rosy and her products now being sold in supermarkets and the airport in Ghana, she plans to expand her sourcing of shea butter from women in the most impoverished part of Northern Ghana and to explore possibilities of producing organic shea butter and using more sustainable product packaging in her new line of products.

About SheTrades in the Commonwealth Project:
The SheTrades in the Commonwealth project aims to facilitate the participation of women-owned businesses in international trade and increase job creation in Commonwealth countries.

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