We are the Co-founders of ‘57 Chocolate, a luxury bean to bar chocolate manufacturer in Ghana (West Africa), producing chocolate that celebrates Ghanaian art and culture. We started ‘57 Chocolate with the intention of adding value to the cocoa bean—right here at home in Ghana. We are on a mission to revive Ghana’s cocoa industry by creating and building a uniquely African, global chocolate brand. We would like Ghana to be known not only for its cocoa beans, but for its high-quality chocolate.
I stay motivated by… Kim: prayer, reading books, learning and researching new topics, hearing inspiring stories and meeting interesting people. Priscilla: exercising between 3-4 times a week, reading words of wisdom by Maya Angelou, finding the fun in things, and listening to energetic music!
Three adjectives that describe me are… Kim: loyal, curious, learner Priscilla: creative, ambitious, reliable
If I could have dinner with one person it would be… Kim: Fydor Dosteovesky. I always loved the book “The Brothers Karamazov”, and heard there was suppose to be a sequel, but Doseteovesky died before he could write it. I’d like to meet him to discuss what the sequel to the book would have been and possibly give him some ideas! Priscilla: Michael B. Jordan. But I don’t want it to just be dinner. Can it be dinner and a movie?
The most exciting innovation to me is… Kim & Priscilla: Starting ‘57 Chocolate together!
How did you come up with your business idea? What inspired you?
Having lived in Geneva, Switzerland, we thought it was strange that Switzerland is known for its chocolate, yet doesn’t grow cocoa, the core ingredient in chocolate. Meanwhile, Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa but produces very little chocolate itself. We saw a vast need for manufacturing chocolate in Ghana and we were determined to use Ghanaian cocoa to create a high quality African chocolate brand that is reputable locally, internationally, and can compete on the world market. We are one of the very few bean to bar chocolate manufacturers in Ghana.
What were you doing before this? How did it prepare you for the entrepreneurial life?
We were both working in the field of international development in Geneva, Switzerland. Ironically, neither of us have a background in chocolate. We learned how to make chocolate from bean-to-bar through research, training and mentors. We learned administration and project planning skills in our previous jobs, and these skills have helped us to put systems in place in the area of production and product development. In all honesty, nothing can fully prepare you for the entrepreneurial life. It takes grit, trial and error and determination.
What are your short/long term goals?
Short-term: We are working towards having our chocolate sold across the continent of Africa and around the globe. We want to maintain a brand that continues to reflect and build upon the unique traditions and culture of Ghanaians and Africans at large. We hope that ‘57 Chocolate inspires people from Ghana, and across the continent especially the youth, to create, develop, and consume made in Africa products.
Long-term goal: To build a well-known African luxury brand that will surpass our lifetime!
Was it difficult get capital/investors? Has anyone underestimated you as a female entrepreneur? If yes, how did you handle it?
Yes, initially when we first started it was difficult, so we financed this dream using our savings and some contributions from family and friends. Of course, being two young women of color, we have had many encounters where others failed to take us seriously and said we would never be able to produce bean to bar chocolate in Ghana. The way we handle it is by simply proving them wrong and showing them it can be done.