Case Studies

Jessica, Enterprise Challenge

26th January 2023

Jessica’s prize-winning company, ReCoHusk, makes jewellery and accessories from coconut husk waste. Earrings and bags are among their most popular products.

Despite their entrepreneurial activities, Jessica and her three colleagues are all still at secondary school. They set up their company as part of our first ever Green Enterprise Challenge programme in Ghana.

‘I felt it was my own little way of solving some of the problems in our environment,’ Jessica explains. ‘Our business idea is basically the collection and recycling of coconut waste into profitable artifacts.’

Upskilling young eco-entrepreneurs

Over half of Ghana’s population is under 25. Jobseekers vastly outnumber formal jobs, so many young people work for themselves. Entrepreneurial skills are vital – but are not commonly taught in schools. And with climate change already affecting Ghana, especially in the north, new businesses need to be green businesses wherever possible.

The Green Enterprise Challenge programme launched in Ghana in 2021. It sees school students learn sustainable business skills through coaching, mentoring and our online business simulation game. Environmental awareness is embedded in the programme.

A prize-winning pitch

The simulation game takes teams of students through the stages of launching and running a business, giving them the chance to explore and practise concepts ranging from stock and storage to marketing and pricing.

Teams are also invited to design and pitch their own green business idea. Those who reach the finals of the competition receive support from a professional business mentor to refine their concept and develop their pitch.

Jessica explains that coconut is widely used in Ghana, but that the husks are often burned or dumped, causing pollution. She and her team transform that waste into profit, creating artisan products aimed at two main markets: tourists and local youth.

After pitching their concept to a panel of judges at the finals, ReCoHusk were named Ghana’s first ever Enterprise Challenge winners, securing 20,000 Ghanaian Cedis (£2,000) in prize money to help them progress their idea.

‘It was the biggest achievement in my life so far,’ Jessica recalls. ‘My team and I are grateful for this opportunity and will try our best to make good use of the money and opportunity we’ve been given.’

The ReCoHusk team plan to spend their winnings on machinery to scale up production.

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