Amin Sulley is an entrepreneur from Ghana and he is the founder of Zaacoal, a Ghanaian enterprise that provides 100% vegetal, recycled and smokeless charcoal from city waste to offer poor households a clean, healthy and affordable cooking fuel. He has studied Community Development and after trying different jobs he has decided to start his own business. Zaacoal has immediately had great success, as it has grown very fast.
“Zaacoal was born in 2014, the production started in 2015 with 5 bags of fuel produced a day and moved to 500 bags a day in just 2 years; moreover, we moved from one vendor to over 50 vendors, one supermarket chain and a string of hotels and restaurants.” said Amin with a smile on his face “With Africa using about 30 million tons of charcoal annually, mostly as primary cooking fuel, Zaacoal provides the best alternative to a climate-conscious world.”
He has decided to enroll in the 3rd edition of Global MBA in Impact Entrepreneurship in Accra in order to improve his skills and develop new competences in the field of business.
“At Zaacoal the production started in 2015 with 5 bags of fuel produced a day
and moved to 500 bags a day in just 2 years”
1.How was your Business Idea born?
The business idea came about after I realized the rate of deforestation, pollution and the death associated with cooking fuels in Ghana. I have felt I could have done something and out of curiosity Zaacoal came about. A Ghana Audit report estimates that out of over 2000 tons of waste generated daily in Accra, only 500 tons is collected daily. Most of these are organic waste. Zaacoal makes charcoal (Energy) from these coconut and other organic wastes.
2.How can your business improve the life of the beneficiaries of your activities?
Our business is improving the lives of many people, especially women and children, who live close to the open fires; we are, moreover, creating both direct and indirect jobs through our vendors and waste collectors. We are increasing the income levels of our beneficiaries.
3.What has been the main challenge you had to overcome in your entrepreneurial experience?
My biggest challenge has been to validate my idea as a viable business venture. I had several doubts about the idea in the beginning and I would have never imagined that one day I would have had customers. But as we speak, Zaacoal sells out at all our sales points. It is never easy to change habits and minds of people who are used to certain products which are different from ours, but we are gradually succeeding in doing it.
4.In your opinion, what are the main qualities an entrepreneur should have?
I think the main qualities an entrepreneur should have are passion and the will to face and overcome every challenge he may run into. I believe passion is the steam that drives the train and once you lose it, you are done.
5.Is there a person you are inspired by, i.e. an entrepreneur or a particular mentor?
My biggest inspiration have been my grandmothers, who without any education were able to run their own businesses and keep the family together. Aside them, Steve Jobs has been a great inspiration for me.
6.What would you suggest to a new-born entrepreneur?
I would tell him to be consistent, committed to the course, to not burn bridges as they will turn out to be useful some day.
7.Could you tell us a particular satisfactory moment you had in your entrepreneurial activity?
One particular satisfactory moment has certainly been when I first saw my product stocked in a shop. I had always wanted to have my product in. In that moment I realized that everything can be possible if you really want it.
8.Could you tell us how the MBA has helped you and your business?
I’ve enrolled to gain a practical experience in entrepreneurship and business in general and the MBA provided a perfect curriculum. I jumped into and I have never regretted doing it. The MBA gave me confidence, I personally think it was made for me as I had every aspect of my business scrutinized for good. We solved several problems and the mentorship was great. This is very unusual for an MBA program. And I think only E4Impact does this.
Learn more on Zaacoal
Facebook page: @zaacoal