It is often said that the best way to make money is to solve a problem. Many young individuals enter into entrepreneurship with the sole aim of making money. When their venture fails to make money in the shortest possible time they quit and hop from one project to the other.
Being an entrepreneur requires perseverance, determination, drive, and most of all patience. Having the passion to solve a problem, and the drive and determination to succeed will eventually bring in the money. Meet Akua Obenewaa Donkor, a social entrepreneur and a magnate in the chocolate industry who established one of Ghana’s most delectable handcrafted chocolates, cakes, and pastries company known as DecoKraft.
“Go in for something you want, go for something you have a passion for… these days the trend is: everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, entrepreneurship is not just about making money. It’s about solving a problem in society. Look for a problem in society to solve and you might make money doing it,” said Akua Obenewaa Donkor said in an interview.
Who is Akua Obenewaa Donkor
Born to Mr. Lawrence Donkor and Madam Sethlina Boakye-Yiadom, Akua Obenewaa Donkor began her cruise to the profound status of “The chocolate Lady” with a passion. A passion for the cocoa industry and the desire to see Ghana transform cocoa beans into delicious confectionaries.
The Chocolate lady had her secondary education at St Monica’s Secondary School in Mampong Ashanti and graduated from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Design, a program that will prove useful in packaging, crafting, designing and branding her unique line of chocolate confectionaries.
It is just as she said “As a professional designer, branding, finishing, and packaging is key to me. I try to use 3D stuff by carving shoes, bags, cartoon characters for children, candies bearing celebrants’ pictures, among others.”
After graduating from KNUST, Akua Obenewaa Donkor studied the art of baking and designing cakes. She later went on to train as a chocolatier at the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) in a five (5) day course and built on the skill by reading books and researching on the internet. Her knowledge in graphic design & branding, cake baking & design, and chocolate making & crafting makes her a triple threat in the industry. It is no wonder she gained so much ground in the industry and still breaking ground. Her confectionaries are enjoyed both locally and internationally.
The Chocolate lady has represented Ghana in Abidjan, Togo, and France with her chocolates. She was also selected to showcase her chocolates to Boris Johnson, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, daughter of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales during their visit to Ghana.
The path to becoming a successful entrepreneur can be a long and arduous journey. It is a journey where only the strong succeed. The Chocolate lady has proven her strength by facing and breaking through her challenges as they come.
During an interview with Ghana Talks Business, she stated that the unfavourable exchange rate of the cedi to the USD is a major concern especially during periods of inflation.
She also stated the difficulty in penetrating the mass market.
“Those who have already taken the market have got a lower price because they are much of bigger companies and their cost of raw materials is definitely lower. And also, the raw material that we use, we have to pay import duty on it because we are buying from Freezone companies. So in that case, our cost of raw materials becomes very high, because it is like you are selling it to someone outside the country,” Akua Obenewaa Donkor said.
Akua Obenewaa Donkor disclosed to Ghana Talks Business in an interview that one of her biggest achievements was knowing that she carved a niche for herself that shifted away from the traditional way of making chocolate.
“When it comes to achievements, I believe I startd something that was new and I created my niche so to me it is a plus because we don’t just make normal boiring chocolate bars, we make choclate shoes, chocolate bouquets, chocolate sculptures. So, we kind of added a creative touch to the chocolate we all know to be like a bar. We kind of raise the level a bit,” she said.
She also stated that she had trained over 100 people in chocolate making which has made a positive impact in their lives.
“I believe that I impacted young peoples lives. I have trained more than 100 people in chocolate making. So, I kind of transferred my knowledge unto others as well,” she further said.
The Chocolate lady isn’t classified as a social entrepreneur for glorification but lives up to the honour and status. Akua Obenewaa Donkor has a project called ‘I Love to read’ where she and her team build chocolate sculptures to raise funds for children in a cocoa growing village. The funds gained are used to purchase storybooks for these children. In her last project, the funds went towards the completion of a classroom block for the school.
Five years ago, during the Christmas festivities, a reporter chanced on her at the Marina Mall in Accra where she had displayed a 75-inch Christmas tree filled with her handmade chocolates.
Akua Obenewaa Donkor has gained several awards some of which include: British High Commissioner’s Special Recognition for Best ENGINE Graduate, 2017 and the Honorary Award, Excellence in Social Enterprise, 2018.