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How A Ghanaian Medical Student Built Business Dealing In Argan Oil, The ‘Liquid Gold’ And Cosmetic Must-Have

Photo credit: Argana NG Enterprise

 

Meet Tawfiq Abu. He is the co-founder of ARGANA NG Enterprise, wholesale and retail dealers in pure Moroccan Argan oil. Argan oil is an organic product extracted from the kernels of the argan tree, which is native to the south of Morocco. It is used as a dietary supplement, to nourish the skin and hair, and to heal wounds. It is rich with vitamins A, C and E as well as antioxidants, linoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acids, making it priceless.

Abu got the idea to start his company while studying as a medical student in Morocco. He got to experience first-hand the many benefits of the oil as well as observed how large corporations come from the west to gain access to this oil. His independent research in Ghana showed that many knew little about the oil.

“My checks revealed that, though not a foreign term to many, little was known about the oil and its effects,” Abu told CediTalk. “Only a select few knew of it and used it. Then came the decision to tap into an untapped area and distribute argan oil.”

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Launching ARGANA NG Enterprise in 2016 did not come easy for Abu. He had been away from Ghana for a long while and did not have a fair appreciation of the business climate and the bureaucratic hurdles he had to cross.

“Having to go through the bureaucracy and tediousness of getting certifications and documentations as well as the costs of getting these things done,” he told CediTalk. “Another challenge had to do with capital. Knowing how difficult it was to gain access to loan facilities in the country, I had to struggle to make do with my savings, which weren’t much, and rely on family and a few friends as well. The high cost of importation and duties at ports was a problem. Distribution was also another challenge.”

Staying competitive was also a challenge, particularly with pricing. He also faced difficulties dealing with debtors and cash flow, fake products on the market and the instability of forex rates.

Nonetheless, Abu employed social media to reach out to the consuming public that had access to the internet. He also arranged meetings with heads of organizations, companies and shops.

His team also used print media as well, by printing flyers and brochures and distributing them to major points across the city. “We also go on the ground, conducting one-on-one marketing to individuals,” he said recently.

Abu started operating the business from Accra while doing deliveries nationwide and partnering with shops in other areas in the country like Koforidua, Wa and Tamale.

“Empowered by our closest friends and family through crowdfunding, support through social media, we grew far beyond our Accra home. We have become a global community that raises beauty standards by partnering with a family-run Argan oil producer in Morocco,” the company says on its website.

Abu’s advice to other entrepreneurs is that they should always be prepared, be properly educated and to seek mentorship.

“Having someone in the field who can teach you and guide you through the needs and responsibilities of the industry is incredibly important. So, do not be afraid to join various networking events, or to pursue employment in the field first, before venturing out on your own,” he advised.

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Written by PH

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