Starshea social business solution Ghana

Project: Country: 

"This is an important project. If this social business comes out successful, it will pave the way for many such social businesses in agriculture” (Muhammad Yunus)

Northern rural Ghana is the least developed part of the country, and particularly women hardly have any chance to generate income. For approximately 600,000 women, the collection and processing of the shea nut (a wild growing nut that is processed into fats for use in confectionary and cosmetics industry) is one of the few options to make a living. As in many other agricultural value chains, the women are the weakest part of the value chain. The value chain is very long, and the women lack negotiation power, market information and technical skills, resulting in very low margins for them. 

Social business solution:
The German Software provider SAP teamed up with Grameen Creative Lab (GCL) to design a possible transformation of a donation-based shea value chain project into an economically sustainable social business. The project aims to improve shea producers’ share in the value chain by connecting the rural women who harvest and process shea to international markets. This is accomplished by providing women’s groups with an innovative blend of technical and business training, microcredit, software solutions, and mobile phone technology. 

The shea producers benefit from higher income due to better quality, higher prices, increased production volumes and higher demand for their product. The program empowers the women to run and manage their own business entities while benefiting from better bargaining power. As a result of GCL’s review, a comprehensive social business model was developed and the feasibility of a transformation was confirmed

Picture: Saskia Bruysten

Connecting rural women with international markets will improve shea producers’ bargaining power

Picture: Saskia Bruysten

The program empowers women to run and manage their own business