About Vinolia Emma Zigah
An industrious Ghanaian entrepreneur who operates within the agricultural value chain. She is into the processing of all varieties of breakfast foods, spices and cosmetics and dedicated to producing quality products that meet customers’ expectations and customer’s demand.
Currently, she is the Chief Executive Officer of Vinolia Wealth Enterprise, a food processing firm that capitalizes on training and skills development to create job opportunities for unemployed youth.
Tell us about yourself and the business you run
I am an astute entrepreneur who is into processing all varieties of breakfast foods, spices, and cosmetics and is dedicated to producing quality products that meet customers’ expectations and demands.
With over 10 years of experience in these areas, I have been able to impact communities through training and development. I am looking forward to impacting many young men and women who are willing to be coached and trained on acquiring hands-on practical training in processing cereals and cosmetics to meet the needs and demands of customers in Ghana and beyond.
What inspired you to start your business?
The desire for independence, taking control of my financial decisions, and becoming my own boss.
Unemployment played a key role in my entrepreneurial pursuit. I was unemployed for a while and could not find meaningful opportunities around me. After contemplating for a while, I resorted to what my family does best. Entrepreneurship runs in my family; I had the privilege of visiting the Northern Region with my mum to purchase grains directly from farmers as a young girl.
My actual journey began with a simple request from a friend. Her son suffered from malnutrition and my desperate friend having tried many varieties of food to no avail asked that I prepare her son tom brown. As a young girl, I was quite intentional about nutrition; my friend relied on that. Long story short, it became the boy’s favorite meal and he got better in no time. It was an absolute aha moment.
What challenge is your business solving?
Unemployment: Creating employment for the youth is a major part of the things we do as a business. Vinolia Wealth Enterprise has reached out to over 100 smallholder farmers in Ghana and trained over 200 females in cereal and cosmetic production.
Agricultural illiteracy: Through advocacy, my enterprise has embarked on several agricultural literacy projects. We do this to help smallholder farmers understand the essence of growing food in a healthy fashion.
Waste management: As a food processing company, we create a lot of waste. However, we have developed an environmentally friendly waste management method. Residual waste from processing is used as food for poultry, fertilizer, and other value-added product such as sacks, door mats, and shopping bags.
What has been your greatest obstacle as an entrepreneur and how did you surmount it?
Raising capital: Cash ultimately drives business growth and expansion. We need capital to buy equipment, pay workers, and develop & buy raw materials for production. Accessing funds has been my greatest obstacle.
I must say that my honed skill as a good saleswoman has lightened our financial burden. I also employed sales personnel to market our products to customers and applied for a few grants.
My greatest achievement: The visible impact of our training brings me much satisfaction and fulfilment.
What do you wish you knew before starting your business?
That getting a mentor is paramount to business success. It is impossible to do everything by yourself. I I wish I had been told that hard work will always outweigh talent.
Taking calculated risks: Taking risks without weighing your options is just unwise and reckless. But calculated risks tend to lead to the biggest rewards.
Who inspires you the most?
My inspiration comes from hard work and dedication to my business. I have mentally conditioned myself to stay open to new ideas, and opportunities that create change.
My mother remains my biggest mentor. She instilled in me the value of hard work and determination. Her unrelenting support and advice have been my guide since the inception of my business.
In the next 5 years, to what extent do you envisage your business growth?
- Be among the top 10 food processing companies in Ghana.
- Customers experience new exciting packages each time they visit.
- Communicate with our clients through personalized communication techniques.
- Retain clients to generate repeat purchases and initiate referrals.
- Lowering overall costs whilst increasing efficiency
What advice would you give to other emerging female entrepreneurs?
- Fight their fears: Embrace the courage to break boundaries to push beyond their comfort zone.
- Believe in what you can do: having self believe is one of the most important steps and the biggest challenge to achieving success.
- Help others up: When you make it to the top, you have a responsibility to turn around and help the next person up.
- Seek out support: Acknowledge that few entrepreneurs can make it entirely on their own and as such build support networks.
What does the WestlionCo Female Entrepreneurs Community mean to you?
I am a proud member and beneficiary of this community. WEFEC plays an essential role in my business journey. Their capacity-building training for entrepreneurs has been a reliable resource, and the community they provide helps you share your burdens with other female entrepreneurs. A must-have support system for female-led businesses and female entrepreneurs. I highly recommend WEFEC to you.
The UNVEIL is an entrepreneurial initiative designed to validate the respective stories and amplify the voices of active female participants in the labor market, engrossed in providing sustainable solutions to Africa’s diverse challenges through enterprising. An initiative powered by WESTLIONCO.