Entrepreneur’s Corner

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Dr. Kwabena Adjei:

The Master Entrepreneur Award winner

By Richmond Keelson

Dr. Kwabena Adjei is the Founder and Chairman of the Kasapreko Group. He was the proud recipient of the 2016 Master Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the West African edition of Ernst & Young (EY) World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

The prestigious event was held at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos, Nigeria.

The Kasapreko Company Limited produces the authentic Alomo Bitters – the brand that has received international recognition and acclamation. Leading global Television Network, CNN described Alomo Bitters as one of the top five emerging drink brands.

The World Entrepreneur of the Year Award program was created by Ernst & Young to recognize the accomplishments of entrepreneurs with Award programmes in more than 60 countries around the globe.

Members of this elite community are exceptional leaders who disrupt the status quo, drive innovation, create jobs and transform economies. Past winners of the Master Entrepreneur of the Year category include Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, former Group Managing Director of Access Bank (2011); Alhaji Aliko Dangote (2012); Mr. Austin Avuru, Managing Director of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc (2013); Jubril Adewale Tinubu, Group Chief Executive of Oando Plc (2014).

Dr. Kwabena Adjei, recently launched a $70m state of the art bottling plant that will produce hundreds of thousands of bottles a day in Ghana. The bottles will serve the purpose of storing the variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that have been introduced to the stables of Kasapareko. Some of the new drinks include the Kalahari Bitters and Carnival Strawberry drinks.

Alomo Bitters has been a standout drink brand that has broken barriers into becoming the leading drink brand in West Africa and beyond. Significantly, it started with modest production in Dr. Adjei’s native country—Ghana.

Kasapreko is a herbal drink manufacturer. It offers alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The company operates a quality control and product development laboratory. It provides bitters, whiskey, gin, liqueur, brandy and wine.

Who is Dr. Kwabena Adjei?

Dr. Kwabena Adjei, is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Kasapreko Company Limited. The story of Kasapreko Company is so synonymous with many successful Ghanaian businesses. Dr. Adjei started Kasapreko in his personal garage in 1989, at Nungua, a suburb of Accra.

From that humble beginning, the company has progressed steadily into a giant multinational company with the state-of-the-art automated factory. Patrons of Kasapreko products are simply thrilled about its efficacy and how it has sustained success as the best alcoholic and non- alcoholic beverage in Ghana.

Dr. Kwabena Adjei is over sixty years ago and easily fit the description or the tag-Self-Made-Man and was raised by a single parent.

The parental challenge, indeed affected his education; but nonetheless, it brought him face-to-face with life changing realities at his early formative ages and that helped that young Adjei to build up street-grits to overcome his earlier adversity as he moved on in life.

He completed middle form 4 alright, but had not one to help him continue with further education. Yet he will fight on, all by himself to at least earn a respectable O-Level education. He thus pursued some courses on his own at the GCE O’ Levels, after which he progressed to the Institute of Adult Education, where he combined with his first job, at the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO).

But his inner instinct will direct Dr. Kwabena Adjei to commence his own business, although he still felt short of having the requisite skills and capabilities to effectively manage his company.

He thus upgraded his education by taking on three different courses in a year, with another course being a three-year course at Harvard Business School on Owner, President, Management (OPM) programme.

Dr Kwabena Adjei during the initial stage of his business acknowledged that it was pure experimentation for him by merchandizing a wide range of products in the country including alcoholic beverages.

Dr. Adjei disclosed that the first five years of his Kaspreko production was more of a hobby, until he received a life changing news for his fledgling company after its first sale of 25 cartons of beverage. It was indeed not only a thrilling day for him, it changed his entire perception about the business.

It dawned on him he could produce millions of cartons to satisfy both internal and overseas markets.

“Like all other business folks then, he jumped on the bandwagon of alcohol craze by cashing in on it. As growing an empire wasn’t initially part of his plan, even though he evidentially saw the potential in the beverage industry, he abandoned all other things and focused on its prospects”, a write up on his biography say.

Dr Kwabena Adjei and Kasapreko’s first “Love child”, Alomo Bitters, is a household beverage particularly, in Ghana and Nigeria.

With its increased brand and the need to retain its originality, Dr. Kwabena Adjei went to Germany where he had his customized bottles for his Alomo drink and other alcoholic and beverages drinks from his Kasapreko stable. He will also go to London to acquire some additional flavourings for his products.

Having experienced a lot of turbulence in the business, some of which were accessing funds and market penetration, loan acquisition thus became a huge challenge as many banks turned him down. But he wouldn’t give up. He once attended a course organized by EMPRETEC, a United Nations programme established by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development where he encountered Hon. Alan Kyerematen, who advised him to refrain from securing loans from foreign banks, but rather indigenous banks. Another hurdle was how to manoeuvre his ways around market penetration. With this, he walked the streets of Accra with samples of his product to retail shops but were rejected. This, empowered him to strategize on how to penetrate the market. Coming from a background that is premised on key foundations such as Quality Materials, Quality Manpower and Quality Machinery, the company buys its machines from Germany and it’s credited to being one of the fastest alcoholic beverage manufacturing lines in Africa doing about 40,000 bottles per hour. Currently, the Kasapreko company has added more products to its product line spanning alcoholic beverages to soft drinks to mineral water. Innovation and continuous investment in technology keeps the brand ahead of its competitors.

Dr. Kwabena Adjei has also established the Royal Crown Packaging Company Ltd. and Capemay Properties Ghana and recently launched the Kasapreko multi-million-dollar Water, Juice and Soft Drinks factory at Tanoso in the Ashanti Region. The new factory as part of the government’s flagship 1-District-1-Factory initiative.

The multipurpose factory which is set up on a 10,000-square metre property has the capacity to produce 35,000 bottles per hour of juices and non-alcoholic drinks, and 15,000 bottles per hour of water, working at full capacity. The factory will employ 300 people directly, and also generate some 3,000 indirect jobs through the supply chain.

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