Gideon Padi Konotey, a Graphic Designer and the CEO of the Goat Masters Ltd tells us about his agribusiness venture in an interview conducted by Kofi Kisiedu Acquaye , the YPARD Africa Program Officer. Enjoy reading the interview.
Kofi: One name making the headlines in the circles of Ghana’s agribusiness in recent times is Goat Masters. As the CEO, could you tell us what your business enterprise is about?
Gideon: Goat Masters is an agribusiness firm which focuses on value addition to goat with particular attention to the value chain: rearing, butchering, processing, packaging, and marketing, among others.
Kofi: What then informed the choice of the name Goat Masters?
Gideon: At the time we had to register this venture, my partners and I settled on the name Global Agribusiness Produce in line with the dream to make an impact across the globe. But after further discussions we decided to change the name to reflect the reality that we were exclusively working on goat at that time. We are known for our uniqueness in working along the goat value chain but we envision venturing into other livestock in the future.
Kofi: Let’s travel back in time. How did the story of Goat Masters begin?
Gideon: I’ll tell you the story behind this business. I grew up with my grandparents who reared goats subsistently. They started with just two goats. And a s the number increased through births we sometimes sold some of the goats. The proceeds were used to supplement my school fees. My grandparents later took ill, so I had to take care of the goats by myself. I however wanted to handle the venture differently, in a cooperate and more attractive way. I seized the opportunity.
Kofi: What do you do differently from the old practice you inherited from your grandparents?
Gideon: My grandparents focused on goat production. We at Goat Masters however are now into processing. We have transformed the backyard goat farm into a liability company. We have employed several young people. We have employed digital marketing. We offer catering and barbecue services as well. We do all these with the view of adding value to our production.
Kofi: How many people does your start-up employ? How many people are involved?
Gideon: I started this venture with a team of four friends – who are more like partners now. We have currently welcomed on board a fifth partner. When our workload increases, we employ several people, particularly for our grilling services.
Kofi: How wide is your scope of customers?
Gideon: We supply our products to some major restaurants, stores, and some private homes in the capital. Also among our customers are individuals in cooperate offices who may find it quite challenging to go searching for goat meat to buy in the market.
Kofi: How much more profit does your innovation attract?
Gideon: One goat of weight 15kg, which costs GHC 300.00 (approximately USD 67.77) can produce 250 sticks of khebab. – this excludes the head, the legs and the intestines of the goat, which can also be sold for extra. One stick of khebab goes for GHC3.00. So if one goat gives 250 sticks of khebab, the total sales made amounts to GHC750.00 (approximately USD 169.44), and the legs and intestines are sold at GHC25.00 per kilo.
Kofi: Where does your training as a Graphic Designer meet your business in agriculture?
Gideon: The new face of agriculture demands creativity. You would notice a lot of creativity with the Goat Masters if you paid attention to our social media pages. This creativity stems from my background as a Graphic Designer/ Artist. I develop the concept of our communications materials to guide the designer to help us sell our brand.
Kofi: What have been your challenges?
Gideon: Partnership has been a challenge as some partners who held the fort with me at the early stages gave up when the venture didn’t seem as profitable as we envisioned from the onset. The unavailability of start-up capital was also a challenge. But I believe that if government had a policy for all financial institutions to support SME’s, this would not have been too much of a challenge.
Kofi: How did you overcome this financial challenge?
Gideon: I believe it is God who connected me to a host of loved ones who readily supported me in setting this up. One thing I also do is that I reinvest my returns into the business.
Kofi: Are you ever tempted to eat your eggs before they are hatched?
Gideon: We don’t make a habit of spending money from the business, and we make sure all monies borrowed for the business are returned. With this keeping us in check, we just focus on reaching the end of the month, when we get our remuneration.
Kofi: How has Goat Masters benefited from your being a member of the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD)?
Gideon: YPARD is a big community of young professionals of diverse expertise in Agriculture. Being in YPARD has afforded us the opportunity to be connected with many other young professionals who usually refer us, The Goat Masters, to potential clients.
At the tail end of last year, Ghana’s chapter of YPARD held an Agribusiness Cocktail to promote the businesses of young professionals in agriculture. At this event we got the chance to publicize our products and services. Our business has seen an upsurge in our customer base. We now have more clients and exposure, thanks to YPARD.
KK: Where do you see Goat Masters in the next five years?
Gideon: In the next five years, we hope to invade every home, school, institution and supermarket with our products. We want to see the brand become a household name in Africa and beyond.
Kofi: What is your advice to young people who have dreams like yours?
Gideon: My advice is: You must be up and doing. It is not enough to dream or have a vision. No matter how small your dream may be, focus on it daily and build on it. It is not going to be easy but at the end of the day, when you fight hard, you are going to win.
Photo credit: Gideon Padi Konotey