Ghana: Businesswoman provides snapshot of her homegrown chocolate brand

DecoKraft’s Kabi chocolate bars.

DecoKraft is a Ghanaian company that produces handmade chocolates under the Kabi Chocolates brand. The business was started in 2013. Founder Akua Obenewaa Donkor (33) answers our questions.

1. Give us your elevator pitch.

DecoKraft specialises in the production of premium chocolate from Ghana’s cocoa beans. Over the years, local supermarkets have been filled with imported or foreign-branded chocolates and there was a definite need to produce premium chocolates locally, which is why DecoKraft decided to go into the business of chocolate making.

2. How did you finance your startup?

My dad gave me $1,000 to start this company.

3. If you were given $1 million to invest in your company now, where would it go?

I would use it towards the following machinery:

Chocolate enrober machine: This machine is a special piece of equipment for coating assorted chocolate.

Chocolate conche machine: Conching is a process used in the manufacturing of chocolate whereby a surface scraping mixer and agitator – known as a conche – evenly distributes cocoa butter within chocolate and acts as a “polisher” of the particles. It also promotes flavour development through frictional heat, the release of volatiles and acids as well as oxidation.

Chocolate moulding plant: This is advanced equipment with mechanical and electric control, specifically for chocolate moulding. The entire production line is automated, including mould heating, depositing, vibrating, cooling, demoulding and conveying. The pouring ration is also much more accurate.

A new production plant will enable Kabi Chocolates to increase production as well as the variety of products.

DecoKraft founder Akua Obenewaa Donkor

4. What risks does your business face?

The international cocoa price directly affects us. Even though we are based in a country that produces cocoa, the products are sold to us at international prices. The dollar rate also affects our business and increases production costs.

5. Tell us what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing so far.

Social media marketing has been one of our main forms of marketing as it focuses on providing users with content they find valuable and want to share across their social networks; this results in increased visibility and traffic. We use Facebook and Instagram to showcase our products and reach out to current and potential clients.

Kabi chocolate is made from locally-sourced cocoa.

6. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

My most exciting entrepreneurial moment was when I met Prince Charles when he visited Ghana. He is someone whom I’d only ever seen on TV or read about in books. Having the opportunity to meet him was incredible. Chocolates take me to places I never imagined I’d be and it’s exciting to meet dignitaries.

7. Tell us about your biggest mistake, and what you’ve learnt from it?

In the early days of the business, I received an order from a large corporation over the phone. I heard ‘three sizes and 50 of each’ but later when I delivered, they said they wanted only 50 of one particular size. I had to find a way of selling the other 100 units. I quickly learnt each transaction had to have supporting documentation; not necessarily a formal contract – it can be through WhatsApp or a text message – but each order has to include a point of reference.

DecoKraft founder contact information

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