Selina Delimini has always loved shea butter. Growing up in Ghana, shea butter was a staple in her family’s household. Both of her parents come from shea butter producing and processing communities. They used shea butter for almost everything including skincare, haircare, and first aid. The cosmetic benefits of shea butter are vast. In 2018, Delimini returned to Ghana working with a Canadian NGO which supports and invests in social enterprises on the continent. That experience solidified her interest in social entrepreneurship and its potential to address economic and social challenges on the continent. When she got back to Canada, she started researching the shea butter business.
The demand for natural ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products is high and continues to grow. This is due to consumer awareness and the “desire of cosmetic companies to replace synthetic ingredients with natural variants” (Centre for Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries, 2020). With this opportunity in mind, combined with her experience witnessing first-hand the potential for social enterprises to address economic and social problems on the continent, and her strong connections in both Canada and Ghana, Pogbanu Shea was born. Pogbanu means “women’s hands” in the Dagaare language of northern Ghana. In Ghana, shea butter is primarily a women’s business and a source of income for many women and their families in the region. Pogbanu Shea’s mission is to supply cosmetic businesses with high-quality, unadulterated, and pure shea butter while providing women in shea butter producing communities with decent income and employment opportunities. The business has a deep focus and commitment to responsible and ethical trading, quality, and community development. Delimini believes that when done right, businesses can be used to address pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges such as gender inequality, pay equity, unemployment, and environmental sustainability. The Women Entrepreneurship Centre (WEC) Start My Business Bootcamp Program gave her the necessary tools, knowledge, resources, and confidence to get Pogbanu Shea off the ground.
Although the pandemic impacted Pogbanu Shea’s launch date due to logistical and country-specific shipment barriers, it was a huge learning experience. They realized that they must reassess shipping and importing timelines.
After months of research and the decision to start Pogbanu Shea, Delimini decided to embark on a program that would give her all the tools, knowledge, information, and support to bring her idea to life. She chose the WEC program because it was targeted to women start-ups and welcomed social enterprises. In fact, there was a whole session on social enterprises. She says that she often refers to the resources given to her through the program. As someone passionate about gender advancement and women in business, it was the right program for her.
Glodeane Brown is the Founder and Editor of the Culture Fancier blog where she regularly writes about arts and culture events, and interviews creative professionals. She is an arts management professional living and working in Kitchener, Ontario.
The Women Entrepreneurship Centre (WEC), as part of the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, is dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs of every age, stage and culture to achieve their business dreams. We believe in fostering leadership. We believe that everyone deserves an equal shot at success. We believe in connecting you with the right people, skills and support to make it happen.
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