In Africa, many parents often hope their children will grow up to be doctors, engineers, lawyers or bankers. Only a few parents support their children’s entrepreneurial skills or their desire to work in the creatives.

Sulley Amin Abubakar, now the owner of the “biggest charcoal producing company in Ghana and probably West Africa,” started off as a law student. The promising Ghanaian entrepreneur was in his final year of law school when he quit and started his own business, Zaacoal, a company that produces quality and affordable environmentally friendly charcoal for households and industries.

On his commute to school, Abubakar saw many coconut vendors and wondered how they dispose of their waste. Usually, there are no proper channels to dispose of coconut husks, despite many coconut vendors on every street corner. He took a trip to the beaches one day and saw how there were many coconut husks littered all over the place.

His desire to venture into mass charcoal production was ignited, however, when he saw a kenkey street vendor make fire with coconut husk instead of the usual charcoal or firewood.

His curiosity was at its all-time peak about this time and he traveled to the northern parts of Ghana to learn more about charcoal production. With his newly acquired knowledge, Amin began experimenting with the idea of making charcoal from coconut waste in his home.

With his final year of school hanging in the balance, Abubakar used his school fees to fund his new venture. He tried making charcoal from the husk using a tomato tin and now he owns his own factory producing stainless environmentally friendly charcoal.

His family at this point did not know he had dropped out of school, only finding out after he had set up his factory. Since then, they have been his greatest supporters and he now works with almost 12 people at the factory.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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