Portrait: Catherine Krobo-Edusei, Founder of Eden Tree in GhanaSubmitted by Admin on Mon, 04/18/2016 - 11:15
Catherine Krobo-Edusei is the founder and managing director of Eden Tree, a Ghanaian company specialized in the production and marketing of fresh fruits and vegetables. She started the company in 1997, on her return to Ghana from the UK, where she worked in the banking sector for ten years after graduating in Business Administration at Camden College.
She is nationally recognized in Ghana as a strong promoter of women in business and received the 2013 national award from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in Ghana for “outstanding contribution towards nation-building”.
Photo: Catherine Krobo-Edusei, Jean-Michel Severino, Sébastien Boyé and Baafour Otu-Boateng. February 2015, inauguration of I&P office in Ghana
3 questions to Catherine Krobo-Edusei
Can you tell us more about Eden Tree? What are the main challenges your company is currently facing?
Eden Tree has been in the fore front in terms of fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs’ value chain innovation over the last 18 years with staff strength of 66. We sell a large variety of high-ends vegetable and fruit products directly to local supermarkets, institutional customers, and the hospitality industry and retail outlets.
Our challenges are lack of access to reasonably priced financial capital for SMEs and the lack of human capital expertise. On the financial capital side, our main option is to take bank loans. But, due to their high interest rates and unfavorable loan terms, banks look increasingly less likely to be a viable solution for SMEs like us.
How did you first meet I&P?
I was fortunate to meet I&P through Stanford SEED, a program of Stanford University that aims to reduce global poverty on a large scale by supporting the growth of SMEs in developing economies, providing them with training and business coaching. It is my business coach Ed Forman who introduced me to I&P.
What are your expectations from this partnership?
I know that in this part of the world, business owners are often reluctant to get into private equity agreements because they are afraid that they might lose control of their companies. I think there is some merit to this concern. But, the way I personally see it is this: when you take a loan at the bank, you often have to offer a high amount of collateral and when you are unable to payback your loan, you lose the collateral. On the other hand, when you get into a private equity agreement, you do not necessarily have to owe collateral and in addition to the financial capital you receive, you also get business expertise support which I believe is extremely valuable in our developing country. I have been working with I&P for a few months now and they have shown to me that they are here to be a true partner I can work with to build a better, more sustainable business, capable of generating genuine growth and creating meaningful jobs. I look forward to exploring all the great opportunities that lie ahead of us as well as taking the company to the next level.