Jeneba Konneh’s Experience: Inventiveness Enhances Business Success


A large proportion of community women in Kenema and elsewhere in the country take up a line of business based on unverified external influences. Oftentimes one can hear sad stories of businesses not lasting beyond a month or two, and the victims will lament about choosing that business because they felt it was profitable once other community members were into it.

Mrs Jeneba Konneh came close to that fate until the BTCA-Kenema trainings carried her through the rudiments of business management, entrepreneurship and start-up funds. Plying her usual route to fetch palm oil from the far eastern fringes of the province, she could have hardly better comprehended the threat posed by competitors tapping into that same supply source. In derision of her past ignorance and incapacity, Mrs Jeneba Kallon was full of gratitude at her newly gained business management and entrepreneurship competencies.

She has this to say:

More than ever, my market research lesson has allowed me to see through the potential threat posed by competitors exploring supply opportunities from my suppliers at that remote location. I needed to be inventive to out-perform them, and that formed the basis of my strategy and early success in my newly established business.

After identifying the needs of my suppliers, I had to provide them with five-gallon empty containers which they desperately needed to hold their processed palm product in exchange for a negotiated six gallons of palm oil product per container. Ingeniously enough, it was a done deal that explored mutual benefit. I readily carted off more palm oil product at comparatively lesser cost in return for the negotiated empty five-gallon containers – a marked 20% added increase in profit.

My suppliers were equally satisfied for sparing them the ordeal of travelling over 80 miles to obtain those containers, while at the same time, it reinforced their loyalty to me against my potential competitors. Definitely, I give credit to the BTCA trainings which taught me competitive advantage as a contributing factor to increase one’s market share.

Contributed by Hinga Demby, BTCA-Kenema Co-Director.

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