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Founder Feature: Naa-Sakle Akuete

Women’s gold. That’s the name for shea butter in several African countries. Naa-Sakle Akuete thinks it’s fitting.

You might say Naa-Sakle, founder of Eu’genia Shea, was born to the shea business, but that’s not exactly what happened. Even though Naa-Sakle’s mother, Eugenia, founded a shea butter wholesale business named Naasakle International, Naa-Sakle didn’t see her own destiny as following in her mother’s footsteps.

Instead, Naa-Sakle went to Wellesley and Harvard and worked in several high-profile positions with Barclays and J.P. Morgan after graduation.

But when Eugenia became ill in 2013, Naa-Sakle stepped in to help run her mother’s business. Eventually, she took over the reins. At that point, she decided to launch Eu’genia Shea, a line of shea butters derived from Naasakle International’s raw shea.

Part of Eugenia’s mission when she started her shea business was providing opportunities for employment with fair wages to Ghanaian women. Her daughter, Naa-Sakle, has followed Eugenia’s lead. Eu’genia Shea donates 15% of its profits back to an education fund to benefit the 7500 female shea nut pickers who work to harvest and produce the shea butter it uses.

Katelyn Murphy-McCarthy

Katelyn is a writer and editor specializing in creative nonfiction. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, and loves hearing and sharing the stories of women who are making a difference.
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