Mrs. Joana Konotey became a client of the Business Advisory Center (BAC) when the Rural Enterprises Programme started in the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal in 2006. Her desire to become a successful multiple business owner and make more money drove her in 2008 to seek training from the BAC to improve her existing sewing business and diversify into grasscutter/rabbit rearing. Today, Mrs. Konotey’s life and that of her family has seen significant improvement as she makes enough money from her two businesses to supplement her husband’s income.
Mrs. Konotey has been a dressmaker since 1983 and operates her dressmaking shop from her house in Odumase. With fluctuating income from the dressmaking business, she struggled to support her husband to take care of two of her children in school and support the whole family. However, due to the fluctuation in the dressmaking business, Mrs. Konotey always sought other sources of income to supplement what she was earning from the dressmaking business. She tried ice water and ice cream, but that was not enough to raise the desired income she was looking for.
Mrs. Konotey got to know of REP through an invitation to participate in a Business Opportunity Identification Survey (BOIS) as part of community entry strategies of REP II into the Lower Manya Krobo District in 2006. She did attend the event and subsequently develop an interest to establish long lasting relationship with the Project. She subsequently participated in a number of trainings organized by the Lower Manya Krobo BAC, which was established in the district following the start of REP II. The training included small business management; occupational safety, health and environmental management and quality finishing in dressmaking. However, the one training that has made the most significant impact in her business life has been the Grasscutter Rearing training. When the news got to her that the BAC was going to organize a training in grasscutter rearing in the district, curiosity and desire to make in an area dominated by men drove her to participate.
With part of her savings from the dressmaking business, Mrs. Konotey hit the ground running right after the training. She started her grasscutter rearing business with just two animal, a male and female. Three years into the grasscutter business, Mrs. Konotey realized that there was more markets for rabbit in his district and surrounding area than grasscutters. Also, she realized that rabbits produced more offsprings than grasscutter, thus it was going to be easier to expand a rabbit farm than what she was doing. With the same training she received in grasscutter rearing, she diversified into the production of rabbit. As of end of 2014, Mrs. Konotey has over 300 rabbits in her farm. She sells an average size dressed rabbit meat for about GH¢35 to GH¢40. Her customers are from neighboring districts to Accra.
The dream of Joana Konotey is to use her farm to teach to youth of Kroboland on how to rear the animals since she has the experience gained from the workshop she attended. She has employed parttime workers who have been working for her in case of overload of work. She is a strong advocate of REP in her district, and ceases the opportunity to advise the youth in church and community seek support from REP to improve their livelihoods. She herself visits the office of BAC at least once a month to seek for advice on her business.