Living in Benin Republic, Carine Bokovo was always worried about the nutritional diet of her the people in her immediate community. On approaching adulthood, after seeing firsthand what a deficiency in vitamins can do to the human body, she decided to take it upon herself to tackle this problem both for her family and her country at large. These concerns eventually led to the birth of Assiba Fée, a company strategically designed to provide solutions to this problem.
Carina Bokovo spoke to the Tony Elumelu Foundation team about her incredible entrepreneurial journey.
Q: Tell us about your business and the unique solutions you offer?
A: My company is characterized by the local solution that we bring to the problem of malnutrition. We do this by incorporating moringa, the most nutritious plant in the world, into daily meals without necessarily affecting their eating habits.
By creating products like moringa juice, pasta moringa food, syrup, cookies and cheese, we can fit in seamlessly with people’s usual dietary routines. Each product contains the Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and F, protein, calcium and magnesium. Our success lies in the specificity of our products to help create complete and balanced diet.
Q: What is your vision for the company and what impact have you made so far?
A: The vision of my company from the start was give my community access to five fruits and vegetables through moringa juice to help them live healthier lives. In my community, we provide garden boxes that are maintained by mothers and their children, especially in rural areas. I have a team of ten people, four men and six women including myself.
Q: What challenges have you encountered so far in the running of your business?
A: The major challenges at the beginning of the business were the lack of material adequate production, the lack of funding and the reluctance of customers to consume products made in Benin. Most of these challenges have become a thing of the past.
Q: What are your most precious achievements since you began your business?
A: I started my business with 3000 CFA francs and my family members as staff. Today by perseverance, I make a number business year of 14,000,000 CFA francs. Being accepted as 2017 Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneur and emerging the winner of the Get In The Ring Global Startup Competition in Cotonou for 2018 were major achievements for me.
Q: How has the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Programme benefitted your business?
A: The TEF entrepreneurship programme benefitted me in several ways. The training gave me an understanding of my business and my market. I also learned how to create viable business plan which was a real compass that helped me grow my business. Most importantly, the platform helped me build relationships with fellow entrepreneurs in other African countries and these new networks helped take my business to a new level.
Q: What are your plans to increase capacity in your business?
A: To develop and increase the capacity of my company, I plan to develop marketing plans on networks social services and to improve customer loyalty through home care and electronic payment options. I also plan to grow my customer base by improving on the quality of my foods, diversifying my product range and initiating qualitative mass production.
To reach Carine Bokovo or Assiba Fée, reach her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/Assibafee.agric/