Esther Afua Ocloo was a pioneering Ghanaian businesswoman and entrepreneur who made a significant impact in the fields of food processing and small-scale enterprise development. She was born on April 18, 1919, in Peki Dzake, in what was then the Gold Coast, and passed away on February 8, 2002, in Accra, Ghana.
Ocloo’s entrepreneurial journey began in her teenage years when she started making and selling marmalade from her mother’s kitchen. She later founded her first business, Nkulenu Industries, which produced a range of food products including canned jams, canned fruit juices, and tomato paste. Her business became a huge success, and she was able to expand it to include a factory that employed over 300 people.
Ocloo was a champion for women’s economic empowerment and founded the Women’s World Banking organization, which provided microfinance services and business training to women entrepreneurs around the world. She also served as an adviser to the Ghanaian government on small-scale industry development and was a prominent advocate for sustainable economic development in Africa.
Ocloo’s pioneering work in entrepreneurship and women’s economic empowerment earned her many accolades and honors, including the International Alliance for Women World of Difference Award and the Order of the British Empire. Today, she is remembered as a trailblazer who inspired a generation of African women to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and create positive change in their communities.