Google Honors Nkulenu Founder

Late Ester Ocloo

The largest internet search engine in the world, Google last Tuesday honoured the late Esther Afua Ocloo, founder of Nkulenu Industries, a leading food processing company in Ghana and West Africa.

A Google Doodle was rolled out last Tuesday to celebrate the industrious Ghanaian woman who was instrumental in helping millions of low-income women secure loans and other funding for their businesses.

The Google doodle which also celebrated the entrepreneurial and inspirational legacies of “Auntie Ocloo” as she was affectionately called was on display on the homepage of the search engine, to mark what would have been her 98th birthday, last Tuesday, 18th April, 2017.

Google said the Doodle depicts what Auntie Ocloo represents; “empowering the women of Ghana with the tools to improve their lives and communities.”

According to Google, “Auntie Ocloo” had just six shillings (less than one dollar), when she began making and selling marmalade and orange squash as a young woman in the 1930s.

After securing a loan, she further grew her business and eventually founded the Nkulenu Industries, the first food processing business in the then Gold Coast in 1942 after leaving Achimota College.

She then traveled to the U.K. to learn more about food processing. On her return, she shared with other Ghanaian women the technical knowledge and skills of how to start and run a business. Due to her success she was invited to the first U.N. World Conference on Women in 1975.

Throughout her life, Auntie Ocloo helped improve women’s lives in Ghana and advocated their success in business. She saw the importance of helping women with soft loans to achieve better health and prosperity, but poor black women were often ignored by the banks.

So she helped established Women’s World Banking, a global non-profit bank that provided low-income women with micro-loans to help start their own businesses.

Mrs. Ocloo who died in 2002, was also the first president of the Federation of Ghana Industries (now, Association of Ghana Industries).

The Nkulenu Industries Ltd is still in active business processing Ghanaian food products for export and for domestic consumption.

 

From Fred Duodu (freuoo@gmail.com)

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