Ivory Coast is the world’s leading producer of cocoa but it was virtually impossible to find an Ivorian produced chocolate made from cocoa beans from Ivory Coast. In recent times, the trend is changing with the emergence of entrepreneurs like Mroueh.
Mroueh sources her beans directly from farmers and then processes them by drying the beans on top of her factory roof in Abidjan. The beans are then taken to the factory where a grinding bike sits. The carefully sorted cocoa beans are then poured into a funnel and transformed into a paste by a grinder activated through pedaling.
“The bicycle grinder is an opportunity for us to practice our eco-friendly philosophy. We really want to have a minimal impact on the environment by using minimal electricity, and combine it with a short work out which also makes it a playful process,” Mroueh told Reuters.
MonChoco is praised for its unique flavor, and according to Mroueh, unique flavours lie in the fact that the beans are not roasted and have not added additives, which highlights the authentic taste of the raw bean.
“We are artisanal chocolatiers, so our process is manual, from the cocoa pods to the final product of packaging the chocolate tablets,” she told Reuters. “One of our trademarks is that we do not roast the cocoa pods, we use raw chocolate. That enables the cocoa pods to retain its flavors and nutritional values. It’s richer in protein, it’s richer in anti-oxidants, and the taste is really different.”
According to Mroueh, she was inspired by her grandfather, who was an outstanding entrepreneur, to produce chocolate. Lionesses of Africa reports that her team is mainly composed of dynamic women.
Although her grandfather was an outstanding entrepreneur, Mroueh did not have much to do with entrepreneurship until she completed university, where she studied management and economy. Since launching her business, the Ivorian has not looked back.
“The best part of being an entrepreneur is to know our work is benefiting not only the person who is eating the chocolate but also every single person along the value chain, from the farmer to the chocolatier,” she said.
“Also, I get great satisfaction seeing the team strongly espouse courage and persistence. My advice to other women looking to startup in business would be to keep in mind that perseverance and patience will be greatly needed.”