Club Africa members share their business experiences with you! How did they get their start? What were their key learnings in setting up their business in Africa?
Suzanne Marie Belemtougri winner of Project Incubator 2011
Managing Director of Sophavet
Suzanne Marie Belemtougri was awarded the 2011 AfDB-EMRC Project Incubator Award during the AfDB-EMRC SME Forum held in conjunction with the Africa Finance & Investment Forum 2011 in Lisbon, Portugal on the 6th June 2011. Having studied veterinary science in university, Suzanne first started her career in a private company, before deciding to start her own company, raising guinea fowl. Her vision and her dynamism, in addition to her impassionate and honest presentation during the SME Forum, ensured her the much coveted first place for the Project Incubator Award. The below interview was conducted in 2011 after the prize was awarded.
EMRC: Could you please describe your feelings/emotions when you were named the 2011 AfDB-EMRC Project Incubator Award winner.
Suzanne Belemtougri: I was very emotional because this is a reward after a long and determined journey to make my dream become a reality: bringing my contribution to the improvement and the promotion of guinea fowl, otherwise known as ‘Burkina’s Grey Gold.’
EMRC: What are your short-term objectives (1 year) and long-term objectives (5-years) for your business?
SB: For the first year I want to install infrastructure and equipment and increase production from 102 400 to 150 000 guinea fowl. For my five-year plan I envision to increase the infrastructure and equipment and to focus on raising up to 409 600 guinea fowl per year and to produce unfertilized eggs from selected females. I also envision transforming the guinea fowl into eviscerated guinea, smoked guinea and capon guinea. My ambition is to also offer 120 000 guinea fowl to 2000 farmers and 2000 female guinea fowl to 20 young people in addition to infrastructure and equipment. I will also look to give 30 000 guinea fowl to other farmers but without the infrastructure or the equipment. In addition, I aim to create 57 to 67 jobs during the 5-year project. The overall goal is to ensure an interior and exterior market for Burkina’s guinea fowl.
EMRC: Why is the Project Incubator Award important for you?
SB: This award will allow me to receive enormous support from society and on a practical level it allows us to equip ourselves with 2 new incubators, 15 000 eggs and help farmers in 2012.
EMRC: What does this award signify for the women of Burkina Faso and the women of Africa?
SB: This prize honors the women of Africa and in particular the women of Burkina Faso. It will incite the future competitiveness of women entrepreneurs and even male entrepreneurs because my presentation set a tone and even generated enthusiasm from a large number of EMRC participants to be even more focused and to invest better in their businesses and projects. This will also put a spotlight on women entrepreneurs due to the numerous congratulatory messages and contacts that this award has created for me.
EMRC: What message do you want to pass on to those in the same position as yourself or those who aspire to be recognized for the projects they have set up?
SB: I want to encourage all entrepreneurs to fight for their projects. I also encourage everyone with a business plan or project to continuously contact EMRC (www.emrc.be) and join the forums which they organize in various countries where they will be able to meet investors from across the world. Thanks to EMRC, I went to Uganda and twice to Lisbon to meet investors and other promoters and share our respective knowledge through plenary sessions and personalized business meetings. On this note, I am calling out to all our African brothers and sisters to create development projects which will allow our dear Africa to get out of poverty and will allow us to stop reaching out our hand towards the North.
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