School project ends up in a $120m per year business

School project ends up in a $120m per year business
Source: Odelia Ntiamoah | JoyBusiness
Date: 07-07-2017 Time: 09:07:10:am
Niche Cocoa

An MBA project work at the Columbian business school has landed Edmond Poku a 120 million dollars a year cocoa processing company since 2007. Niche cocoa is the leading Ghanaian company that exports semi-finished products from Ghana.

Nich cocoa is a hundred percent Ghanaian company with all staff from Ghana. With equity financing and using his family assets as collateral, Edmond Poku said he left his investment banking job after university to pursue the cocoa processing business.

Mr. Poku said, “after school I got a job as an investment banker, my professor kept calling me to pick up my thesis and start my cocoa processing company. He actually convinced me to come back to Ghana. At 12 million dollars initial capital I could not afford it.”

He said, “So I came to Ghana to raise some money. Out of the 12 million dollars, I got 4 million dollars to start. Two million out of that was from the trust bank and the other two million was equity.”

The company started as Commodity Processing Industries with three partners all with different specialties two years after the company was set up, Edmond Poku bought out the rest of the partners making it a solely Ghanaian owned company.

In 2011 the company was then transformed into Niche Cocoa.

Niche cocoa does 100 percent exportation of semi-finished cocoa products including butter, cake and liquor. The company in 2015 started processing cocoa into chocolate which forms 3-5 percent of the company’s revenue.

Edmond Poku told the JoyBusiness team “The initial plan for producing chocolate was to produce for farmers who hardly come into contact with finished products especially from the confectionary market.

As its name connotes (Niche Cocoa) the company sends its products to priority companies in Asia, the United States of America and Europe. By the close of the year Niche Cocoa is expected to start producing cocoa powder and drinks.

Managing director of Niche Cocoa, Edmond Poku said as a free zones company, the challenges have not been many “during the power crises for example we were hardly off the national grid.”

There is however issues with production as cocoa production dip. A skimmed milk market could take advantage of the confectionary section of cocoa processing companies but this is none existent and the few available are more expensive than the imports we make bemoaned the Plant manager, Lloyd Ashiley

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