An estimated 16 million women across 21 African nations work in the production of shea, a natural product that is in high demand in U.S. food and cosmetic markets. Eugenia Akuete wanted to break into the American market but needed help strengthening her business’s operations, meeting product quality standards, and getting ready to export.
Our Solution & Impact
Since the 1990s, Eugenia has used U.S. Government support to build her business from the ground up. She participated in multiple training programs through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), received a grant from the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), took on a leadership role at the USAID-supported Global Shea Alliance, and began exporting bulk shea butter to the United States. Her daughter Naa-Sakle joined the business in 2015, creating a line of shea moisturizers. With a follow-on grant from USADF, Mother’s Shea moisturizer is now available in Target Stores across the United States.
“In the early years, the biggest obstacles I faced were lack of knowledge in planning, running a business, marketing, and so on… I participated in every training program I could through USAID’s West Africa Trade Hub. Every workshop and conference they organized was another chance for me to learn more about the product, quality standards, export readiness, and more.”
Eugenia Akuete Naasakle International