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She had to buy refrigerators for some retailers to be able to stock her products – CEO of Kitchen Hut Foods tells it all

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Barbara Mantey, CEO of Kitchen Hut Foods, has come a long way with her business, which started as a conversation in a living room and an experiment in her kitchen space.

She walks us through her journey from the corporate world and how she veered into the food manufacturing industry, the gains, lessons and thrilling moments all on Q&A with William this week.

Tell me about yourself and how Kitchen Hut fully started?

A: My name is Barbara Mantey, a product of Saint Roses and the University of Ghana, Legon, where I studied Sociology and Economics. After school, I went into the corporate world, I did a bit of corporate banking, and also worked with the telecommunications sector. After a while, I was out of the corporate system. I did a bit of beauty before I went into food manufacturing in 2016 when I had my son.

How did Kitchen Hut really start?

A: In 2016 when I had my son, I happened to have moved to my mom’s place as a young mother to receive some care before I move back home. When I was ready to go back home with my husband, my mom said “If you want to go back early to your own home, then make sure you eat well”. Palm nut is one of the dishes you’re ascribed to eat as a breastfeeding mother. Making palm nut soup is so tedious and I didn’t like the taste of the ones on the market. So I decided to let my mom prepare it freshly for me, and store in the fridge till when I need it.  That’s how it started. The idea was to take away the stress people go through just to make one meal. We tried it also on a few friends at church and they all loved it.

When did the business fully start?

A: We had the discussion in 2016 and within a few months we had registered the business, Kitchen Hut Foods, and the following year, we decided to get our FDA certification. So within a year, Ez Palm-nut was on the market and sales began to move at a faster rate so it sort of encouraged us to do more, looking at the quality of product and feedback we got from people. Amazingly, people would take a picture, post it on social media, and tag me or give a review about it. So you preorder, pay, and have it delivered to you.

How difficult was it getting FDA’s certification?

A: Well, I’d say half and half. If you know what to do and you are really determined to do the right thing, you wouldn’t have any difficulties with the Ghana Standard Board and FDA.

At what point did you decide to fully take the business a notch higher?

A: For me, I always say that once I put my name on something it has to be good. So from the very onset taking it to friends at church, I was very critical about it. It is just some type of credibility that i always attach to anything that has my name on it.

How did you come by the name?

I woke up one morning and I said I think Kitchen Hut, will do. That is the name I’m going to use. I am really good at playing with words so I didn’t find any difficulty in getting the name.

What was the reaction like when you first made your product?

A: One of the things that have made this product very successful is that it’s from our raw material and we do not compromise on that. So the palm kennel that we source has to be fresh. So from the farmers straight to our production facility, which gives you a great taste and quality that will eventually give you that authentic Ghana, palm nut soup.

As a small business, where were you sourcing your products from when you started?

A: Initially, in the first few months it was in the market so I have a few ‘customers’ I regularly buy from but within a few months when the demand started growing, I had to start looking outside of the open market because they weren’t able to meet the demand.

How were you able to reach out to the farmers in order to meet demands?

A: If it must be done, it must be done well. I didn’t know anybody; we set out region by region based on recommendations looking at where they cultivate a lot of palm fruits. Even that in itself wasn’t easy but we had to, just because we wanted the best for ourselves and also our customers.

What kind of products do you have?

A: We have EZ Palmnut Extract, Ez Palm Oil, Mixed Spice, Suya Spice, BBQ Spice, Peanut butter, and Green chili sauce. Also, we have the Kelewele mix, Ginger paste, Crunchy Treats (Chin chin, Flour Chips, Coated peanuts & Roasted peanut) neatly packaged.

There’s a perception out there that made in Ghana products are of inferior quality. Is that the case?

A: That perception is totally false, I know that there are few people that have made this statement somewhat true because of some products on the market but currently, there are a lot of young entrepreneurs producing amazing made in Ghana products… from food to cosmetics to footwear… just name it and we’re meeting all standards. Except for those that are not certified, but if the Food and Drugs Authority certify you, you have no business going mess because there are regular checks that are done on you. I think it behooves the public to check if the product they’re buying is certified.

What inspires you to do what you do?

A: For me, I can’t do anything and just put out there. I don’t know what I’ll probably produce tomorrow but if I add on to my product line, it will still be of good quality and healthy.

How difficult or easy was it having your product penetrate the market as a startup?

A: It was quite difficult in the sense that when we wanted to look into the retail space, they will tell you there’s no storage for you. Yet this is a fresh product we were producing in every two (2) weeks. That was a challenge because there were actually certain places I had to buy my own freezers if the shop had space in order to have my product in there… so that’s how we started and now we’re in over 20 retail shops.

How important is packaging for your business?

A: Uuhh, the packaging is everything and for the customer, it is one of the things they would even look at before they buy the product. So great packaging is everything and for me, it has really helped my business but for startups, it is all about money… But on a whole, the 21st-century entrepreneurs have taken packaging and branding a notch higher than it used to be. And I’m proud to say that all across the world, Ghanaians have found a way to have EZ palm nut even if it is just once. From Dubai to Germany, Canada, the US, UK, Islands you name it. People have managed to find ways to travel with our products. It is surprising.

How do you react to the overwhelming comments about your products?

A: You sit back and think about it, how a conversation that started from the living room, experimenting in the kitchen, and knowing FDA wouldn’t certify you in your kitchen therefore you have to clear your backroom to make way for production.  To receive great reviews is encouraging. We’re always humbled by such reviews and comments because it is not easy but God has been faithful and also we on our side have tried our maximum best to give out the best of quality. So we are humbled when we hear such reviews.

How did pricing affect your business?

A: Pricing is everything but you have to narrow it down to who your customer is. Sometimes the difficulty is, can we serve everybody? You’d want to bring it at a point where the product is accessible to everybody based on prices but what really goes into it makes it simply impossible. But in all, we try to make it affordable for everybody.

How much did you need as capital to start your business?

A: In the beginning, we started with 10, 000 cedis. And everything was so manual and although at the end we sort of wanted to take away the stress from the consumer, it was tedious. So after a few months, we had to look out for a few types of equipment and it cost us a bit, which obviously caused our productivity level to increase a bit.

With all this money, was it from your own pocket?

A: Everything we have done up to this point is from our personal savings. As a parent, it has taken quite a toll on us because there are kids involved, schooling, maintenance feeding, and all that but one day at a time, and God has been faithful.

How many people did you start with?  

A: I started with my mom and my cousin but later when it was becoming tedious I brought in two more workers but because of their engagements, my mom and cousin had to leave to continue their activities so currently, we are 5 in all

Do you believe that opportunities do exist in Ghana?   

A: Many! Many opportunities do exist but I find that people want others to come to “their rescue” too quickly. Whatever the idea is, you need to start. I’m bursting with so many ideas but I need to take it one at a time and make sure our growth is steady. So there are a lot of opportunities here in Ghana, but if you don’t start, how then do you move forward? Obviously, the Government can’t do it all, so in the absence of the Government’s intervention, you try something. I believe there are millions of ideas but how do we see these ideas and make them profitable? That becomes the problem.

What advice would you give to young people looking forward to starting a business

A: Right, I can’t emphasize this enough, start. The idea is in your mind, the next person doesn’t know. Write it on paper. As time goes on you will cancel out a few of them and you will see that what is left is what you are really passionate about and would want to do. Put some form of professionalism on it and keep doing it, and once you keep on, you will be noticed.

With all that you do, where do these ideas come from, and how do you put them together to produce what you do?

A: Well I must say that I am a very creative person. I don’t know where it came from but I’m a very creative person. From sewing to hair, makeup artistry, you know, I’m a very creative person and I say that if you have your quiet time, have some time and listen to the voice of God. Usually, we’ll keep asking God for stuff meanwhile we barely wait for God to speak to us when we speak to him therefore end up getting little responses than we should. Spend time with God and he will drop ideas to you… All you have to do is to write them in your diary.

You are a mother, a wife, and a businesswoman. How do you strike a perfect balance for all these?

A: Well, I would say it’s not a perfect balance, but there’s balance. We try to do our best each day at a time. Take each day at a time. Although those around me will not agree that I take each day at a time… hahaha because my mind is constantly running. But my family and husband have been very supportive of all of this.

Q: What should every starter, or entrepreneur start-up to know?

A: I think you must always believe we can make it and can also fail but failure shouldn’t be the end. Keep trying and always make sure to better yourself. When you fail at an attempt, re-strategize, and make sure you learn from these mistakes. That is the only way to grow stronger. When the cash is not flowing as expected, it shouldn’t demoralize you. Just keep up and it will pay off.

Q: What have been your tactics in marketing your business.

A: Errm I think social media is very good yet quite tricky especially for a platform like Instagram. But generally, social media and word of mouth have been helpful.

 

Thank you so much.

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People & Lifestyle

New Reality TV Show, The Residence Afrika Premieres March 2022, Announces $500,000 Grand Prize

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Nigerian company, Africa Network Entertainment Limited (ANEL) has announced plans for the premiere of its much-awaited reality TV Show; The Residence Afrika. The first season of the Show tagged The Quest Edition will debut in March 2022 with 24 contestants from Anglophone countries in Africa competing for the grand prize of $500,000.

 

Chairman of Africa Network Entertainment Limited (ANEL) and Executive Producer of The Residence Afrika; Mr Kelechi Freeman Ukadike speaking to guests and pressmen at the launch party of the Reality TV Show in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

 

Chairman of ANEL and Executive Producer of The Residence Afrika; Mr Kelechi Freeman Ukadike made this known at the launch party of the reality TV Show held on Saturday in Lagos, Nigeria. He stated that,

 

“There is a possibility for the contestants to win more than $500,000 because they will all have the opportunity to showcase their knowledge, talents and business skills throughout the Show especially during brand tasks”.

 

L-R: Vice-Chairman and Director, The Residence Afrika; Jim Iyke, Chairman of Africa Network Entertainment Limited (ANEL) and Executive Producer of The Residence Afrika; Mr Kelechi Freeman Ukadike, Project Director, ANEL and The Residence Afrika; Melvin Oduah, Project Manager, The Residence Afrika; Mr Chuks Anyaduba and Business Man, Mr Fidelis Ofili on the red carpet at the launch party of the Reality TV Show in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

While presenting the vision of the Show to pressmen and special guests, the Project Manager of the Reality TV Show; Mr Chuks Anyaduba, said that the goal is to curb political upheavals and misunderstandings created by cultural diversity. This will be achieved by showcasing and harmonizing the value systems of different ethnic groups in Africa on the Show.

 

 

Also representing ANEL as a Vice-Chairman and Director of the Show, Popular Movie Producer; Jim Iyke said,

 

“After two years of planning and preparation, the Show’s first season will be aired in Africa and around the world including the United States and the United Kingdom.”

 

 

According to the group, preparations are being made to drive engagement and publicity via digital platforms globally. Organisers are also working on ensuring viewers can vote for their favourite contestants by purchasing credits via digital solutions like Paypal, Flutterwave and Bitcoin.”

 

 

Viewers will be able to watch the Show on The Residence Afrika app which will be available on Google Playstore and the App Store. They can also have direct conversations with the contestants and choose their Star contestant of the week, every week of the Show.

 

Auditions will be open to Africans irrespective of status, gender and background. All contestants will apply online through a transparent audition process. Visit https://theresidenceafrika.com/ for more information on the Show.

 

The Residence Afrika which will have 2 Mansions in an undisclosed location, is a much-anticipated reality TV Show for Africans aimed at empowering talents from the continent with more business opportunities.

 

 

Hosted by Cee Classic, the Launch Party had in attendance notable personalities, celebrities, comedians and tastemakers like Solomon Oyekunle, Uti Nwachukwu, Melvin Oduah, DJinee, Jay One, Wilma, Hero Daniels, Moses Inwang, and a host of others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guinness Ghana choosing me as a culture maker has been the biggest highlight of my dance career – Incredible Zigi

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Celebrated dance artist and choreographer Incredible Zigi, has expressed his gratitude to Guinness Ghana for the opportunity to champion its new campaign, ‘Black Shines Brightest’. (more…)

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WorldRemit launches “Teacher Appreciation Month” campaign this month to celebrate and pay tribute to Ghanaian teachers, through social media stories

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In recognition of World Teacher’s Day in October, the global money transfer company, WorldRemit has launched the ‘Teacher Appreciation Month” campaign this month” to honor and pay tribute to Ghanaian teachers through the stories of their students.

 

According to the organizers of the campaign, the initiative will allow participants in Ghana and abroad to pay homage to the teacher who has made the most lasting impact in their lives, by sharing their story about the teacher on social media, for the opportunity to win a cash prize gift for the teacher.

 

Each participant of the campaign will have the opportunity to nominate and win the grand gift prize of GHC 10,000 for their favorite teacher, courtesy of WorldRemit.

 

In addition to the grand prize winner, the first eighty participants with the most interesting and engaging videos, will be selected to win GHC 500 for their favorite educator throughout October.”

 

The organizer’s also emphasized that, the campaign is a social media tribute, hence participants must submit their nomination stories on their personal social media pages with the campaign cash tags “#TeacherAppreciationMonth” and “#TeacherMo” in order to qualify.

 

They added that we all have a lasting connection and have an appreciation for that one special teacher”. WorldRemit is only creating the opportunity for us to honor & celebrate them publicly during the teacher appreciation month.

 

For more details and instructions on how to participate in the campaign and submit a video, go to TeacherAppreciationMonth.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Pandemic Essentials You Should Pack While Travelling

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Traveling around the world provides people with unrivaled experiences. Traveling the world, on the other hand, sometimes necessitates caution.

 

A new disease has just swept across the globe, making travel extremely difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic, commonly known as the Coronavirus pandemic, has swept the globe, prompting travel bans in many countries. Reduced flights as a result of the epidemic will produce a major economic imbalance in every country.

 

However, if you’re stuck elsewhere in the world and need to get back to your own country, or if you need to travel for work, there are some things you should be aware of — basics to take. It’s perilous to travel during a pandemic. You can only avoid potential health concerns if you thoroughly prepare yourself.

 

Here are some of the most important items to bring with you if you’re traveling during a pandemic:

 

Hand Sanitizers with Alcohol, Masks, and Gloves

Handwashing is one of the most efficient strategies to prevent Coronavirus illness from spreading. Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds with soap and water to remove dirt and bacteria. You may not always have access to soap and water while traveling. As a result, carrying a hand sanitizer is an excellent idea. To clean your hands, global health agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recommend using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

 

Also, have extra face masks and gloves in your vacation pack in case you don’t have access to running water. Make sure it’s in the front pocket of your bag so you can get to it quickly when you need it. Without your gloves and masks on, avoid contacting surfaces and dealing with people. 

A First-aid Kit, as well as a Few Basic Medicines

 

Medications, rapid covid 19 diagnostic tests made through plastic injection molding( learn how to make custom injection mold), and first-aid kits may not be readily available throughout your vacation. Injuries and minor health difficulties can be avoided with the correct medicines and safety equipment. Infections of the stomach, coughs, colds, cuts, and wounds are all frequent health issues that might arise at any point during your journey. As a result, it is preferable to be prepared than to be sorry afterward.

 

Prescription medicines (if any), cough/eye drops, oral rehydration salts, antiseptic wound cleaning, antifungal/antibacterial ointments, digital thermometer, bandages, and cotton swabs are all goods that can be included in a first aid kit. We cannot emphasize enough how robotics has played an important role in the manufacture of medical supplies and the speedy processing of medicine, diagnostic kits, etc. It really helps us get repid supply of medicine and medical supplies.

Disinfecting Wipes and Spray

 

It might be difficult to avoid touching surfaces while traveling, which is where a box of disinfecting wipes or spray can help. Wipe surfaces (such as a doorknob in your hotel room, chairs, and armrests of your plane seat in case of air travel) with disinfecting wipes or spray before touching them. According to a preliminary study, the Coronavirus can persist on surfaces for up to 72 hours, hence surface cleaning is recommended.

 

If you’re flying, wipe down any high-touch surfaces in the vicinity of your seat. Disinfectant wipes are great for cleaning objects of any shape quickly and easily.

Charging Cords

 

On our post-lockdown journeys, we’ll be traveling in a “contactless” environment, with contactless payments and check-ins becoming the norm. Because your credit cards, ID, tickets, and critical documents are all stored on your devices, you’ll need to bring portable chargers, backup chargers, and the appropriate adaptors for your location to stay charged. 

 

You’ll want to charge your gadget before your vacation, so don’t forget to bring it with you on the day of your trip. In most airports, cell phone chargers are provided (at an excessive price). Laptop cords will be more difficult to replace. Remember to bring a charging cord for any other devices that need to be charged, such as Bluetooth speakers or your camera.

 

Remember to bring this item with you when you return home from your vacation. Hostels might establish a side business selling the power cords that are left behind when guests check out.

 

Travel Snacks

 

High-risk environments for Coronavirus include crowded restaurants and public water and coffee taps. In addition, to reduce the danger of infection, most airlines have restricted food and beverage service during flights. Before you leave, experts advised that you fill up your reusable bottles with coffee and water and bring some munchies from home.

 

Bringing your snacks is set to become your new travel essential if you’ve previously relied on airport stores or the airline for your on-the-go meals. Because many airlines have stopped serving in-flight meals and many airport restaurants have closed, you’ll need to bring enough food to last the duration of your voyage. It’s advisable to eat before boarding the plane so that you can keep your mask on for as long as possible.

 

Conclusion

It would be preferable if you could put your travel plans on hold for the time being. If you must go, make sure to take all required precautions and include the aforementioned travel essentials to avoid contracting the Coronavirus. It may be preferable to drive one’s car rather than using public transportation. Also, stay informed about the newest government recommendations on air, train, and bus travel during this time.

 

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Gospel Musician Efua Black Celebrates Birthday With Father’s Home

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Takoradi-based gospel artiste, Mrs. Ellen Tsibuah also known in the music circles as Efua Black has donated assorted food items to the Father’s Home Care Ministry at Anto Aboso in the Shama District as part of the celebrations marking her birthday.

Although Efua Black’s birthday fell on Tuesday, 12 October, for the purpose of convenience, she chose to celebrate the occasion on Saturday, 16th of October to extend love to the orphans at the children’s home.

She donated numerous food items including fresh tomatoes, tomatoes pastes, pepper, frozen chicken, fish, onions biscuits, and drinks among others.

The children of the Home were engaged in numerous fun and exciting activities to put smiles on their faces and to give them a sense of belonging.

According to Efua, orphans also yearn for the presence of their parents when they see other kids in society with theirs and this phenomenon could affect their self-esteem when they don’t get similar care and love.

She added that spending her birthday through the extension of the love of Christ to the children was timely and a step in the right direction for her ministry.

“As a gospel artiste, my main purpose is to preach Christ through my music and extend the love of God to these children. I am here, to make them feel part of a bigger society. These children may feel some sense of loneliness when they see other children with their parents, this could affect their self-esteem, therefore, it’s our responsibility as a society to enhance their sense of belonging and continue to show them, love  “.

Efua expressed her heart warm gratitude to the caretakers of the Home for their services and advised them to continue doing more towards uplifting the plight of every child at the Home as there are more blessings in such work but could equally turn out to be a curse when the children are not managed well.

“The Bible says love to orphans and widows is one of the greatest blessings, if they are not well managed, it could be a curse for the caretakers, so it behooves on us to do our maximum best to secure the happiness of the children for God to also bless us”, she stated.

Efua black called on well-meaning Ghanaians, benevolent organizations, and the Government to extend helping hands to the Home.
She hinted at the   release  of  her second  single, title ”Reign”, a contemporary worship song  come Monday 18th October 2021.

Receiving the items on behalf of Father’s Home Ministry, Janet Anderson, a parent at the children’s home expressed gratitude and for the love and kind gesture of Efua Black and friends in considering to celebrate her birthday in the home since she could have chosen to mark it at any place of her choice.

 

She thanked the team and prayed for God to replenish anything that had been lost through the sacrifice to put smiles on the faces of the children.

The Father’s Home Care Ministry currently has 100 children who are being catered for with some in primary, Junior, and Senior High school as well as others in numerous Tertiary Institutions across the country.

Story by Kwame Offei

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Guinness and 3 Music Network hold Master Class for young creatives in Kumasi

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Guinness and 3 Music Network held an engaging Creative Master Class for over 50 young and budding creatives in Kumasi with the aim of spurring them to growth.

 

The 2-hour session held at the Golden Bean Hotel in Kumasi featured Incredible Zigi, a celebrated Dance Artist and choreographer, Oheneba Yaw Boamah, a multiple award-winning Fashion Designer/Creative Director of Abrantie the Gentleman, Baba Sadiq Abdulai Abu, Founder / Managing Director of 3 Music Networks (Organizers of 3 Music Awards) and George Britton, Talent Manager / CEO of GB Records, moderated by NYDJ. The facilitators shared their success stories, challenges, and tactics of excelling in their various crafts.

The Guinness Creative Master Class follows the successful outdooring of the Pan-African Guinness campaign, Black Shines Brightest. The campaign celebrates creativity, ingenuity, and the energy that resonates when individuals come together, fizzing with optimism, creativity and potential.

 

Speaking at the Creative Master Class, Head of Beers (Heineken Portfolio and Guinness Trademark) at Guinness Ghana, Roland Kwasi Larbi Ofori emphasized that Guinness, through the Bright House Experience platform and the Creative Master Class, aims to drivee thought leadership and conversations about the creative arts.

 

“In Ghana, there have been concerns within the creative arts industry on discussing specific topics and this stifles growth.We partnered with 3 Music Network today to debunk these myths and encourage creative arts enthusiasts to believe in themselves and overcome any fears they have because indeed, Black Shines Brightest.”

 

The Creative Masterclass, which consists of a series of panel discussions, will move to Tamale then Takoradi and finally in the capital city, Accra. Guinness will continue to inspire creatives to be proud and confident, to look to each other for inspiration, bring their ideas to life and take on opportunities.

 

Speaking to the young and aspiring creatives from Kumasi, Incredible Zigi said he had worked extremely hard for several years before making waves and eventually being recognized by Guinness to headline a campaign. He encouraged the young creatives to carve a niche for themselves by nurturing their creative skills and talents.

 

After the Master Class, The Bright House Experience, a fundamental part of the Guinness Black Shines Brightest campaign was unveiled in Kumasi. This is a model bar which serves as a cultural space and a hub for people to connect and energize each other with creativity, inspiration and, of course, a cold bottle of Guinness.

 

On his part, Baba Sadiq Abdulai Abu, Chief Executive Officer of 3 Music Network said, “Platforms like Black Shines Brightest by Guinness is one that the creative industry needs at this time of our industry growth. We are grateful to Guinness for this opportunity as this helps Ghanaian creatives showcase our potential, flair and imagination to the rest of the world unique way’’.

 

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