Our Ghanaian RISE Fellow, Stella Kudah, shares the progress that she has been able to achieve through her RISE fellowship. Stella has been working to empower local women in rural Ghana to make soap that can be sold to their local communities. Not only is Stella making 20 women financially independent, but she is improving access to hygiene during a critical time. Read more below to learn about Stella's progress so far as a RISE fellow.
"What steps did you take to start your entrepreneurial journey?"
I first held a meeting with all the stakeholder of the communities, (Chiefs, Queen Mothers, Elders, Beneficiaries Spouses/Partners, Religious Leaders, Teachers, Health Worker, Youth Leaders, Opinion Leaders and the Local Mayor) to explain what the SHE Project (Soap Hygiene Entrepreneurship Project) is about and how we work to benefit underserved women. Together, we selected 20 individuals, in Adaklu Tsrefe and Adaklu Abuadi (which are the first two communities where the SHE Project was implemented) to become staff members.
As a part of their role, the women were taught how to make liquid soap and participated in additional training such as marketing, communications and inventory recording in order to successfully run their small business.
"How did becoming a RISE fellow support you to achieve your goals as a female entrepreneur?"
Being a RISE fellow means a great deal to me because I have been able to train 20 women so far in liquid soap production, which I could not have achieved without their support. These women now have access to an additional income that they can use to support their families. The RISE fellowship has enabled me to bring hope to women who had a limited source of income, yet now they can produce a product that they boldly call their own.
By becoming a RISE fellow, I have been empowered to set myself the challenge of supporting 50 women, who will gain financial freedom, enabling them to better support their families. RISE by Sundara has built my confidence, and I have now set the ambitious goal of establishing the SHE Project in five rural communities within the Adaklu District of Ghana.
"What has the impact been on the community?"
As of May 31st, I have been able to inform over 500 individuals about the SHE Project. We also currently have 20 women who are direct beneficiaries of the project in two different communities. Additionally, not only are the women now financially independent, but two communities now have access to soap, which, due to the pandemic, has never been more important.
A community member, Mr Habel Segbe, has expressed his gratitude, exclaiming that he sees me as an asset to the community. Additionally, the Chief of Adaklu Tsrefe has seen the significance of empowering women through the work of the SHE Project. We have seen beneficiaries gain a new profound confidence after creating the products themselves and we have seen the communities rally around the women to support their new venture.
"What are you most proud of?"
I am so proud of how far our new staff members have come in such a short amount of time. The women have displayed dedication, enthusiasm and motivation to ensure that the project is a success and I have no doubt in my mind that this initiative will be both successful and sustainable. I am so proud of the women, and myself, for creating this initiative.
"From your experience, what advice would you give to other early-stage entrepreneurs?"
My advice to other female entrepreneurs is to research and read more about the business ideas they have. Write a business plan, search for grant and funding opportunities. Ask for help when you need it and share your challenges with people who can give support.
Self-reliance, accountability and passion for one’s business as well as being concerned about your employee’s wellbeing goes a long way. This will help the business to thrive as it achieves its objectives.