– Organization will expand beauty product line and increase economic development projects in sub-Saharan Africa
NEW YORK, Nov. 12, 2013 / PRNewswire – Shea Yeleen Health and Beauty, LLC (SY) announced today that it is undertaking new initiatives with funding from the PanAfrican Investment Company, LLC (PIC). Funds from PIC will be used to invest in expansion and distribution of the Shea Yeleen product line, staff development, and capacity-building for shea producers.
Shea Yeleen Founder and CEO Rahama Wright shared, “We are very grateful to the PanAfrican Investment Company for its commitment to Shea Yeleen and the Ghanaian farming cooperatives that employ over 800 women. Now we can dramatically increase access to training, business consultations, equipment, and funding. These resources help each local farming cooperative to become a more effective, independent, and sustainable business.”
New projects at SY are expected to create a significantly wider distribution of shea butter products. Products are currently sold in 30+ Whole Foods Stores and with PIC’s investment, SY will be able to increase its presence in Whole Foods as well as pursue additional distribution sites. SY will also roll out product extensions and a re-envisioned website that will foster a stronger online presence. Once complete, the revamped website will represent the organization and feature stories of shea producers whose lives are impacted by their ability to earn a fair wage.
CEO of PIC, Dana Reed, says “We are thrilled to be working with Shea Yeleen in an effort to help build the business and the brand which will have a positive impact on the lives of each member the Ghanaian shea farming cooperatives. Under Rahama’s vision and leadership, the living conditions for the 800 cooperative members will be greatly improved and we are happy to join in her efforts.”
Recognizing that entrepreneurship is a tool for empowerment, specifically of young people and women, Shea Yeleen champions micro-enterprises and entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa. The organization enables them to expand their businesses, share best practices, identify gaps and develop new ideas and initiatives.
And for women like Gladys, this makes all of the difference. Gladys is the President of the Christian Mother’s Association, a shea butter cooperative in Damongo, Ghana. Gladys is married with four children, and takes care of additional dependents, her 85-year-old mother, and her sister’s four children. Working in shea butter production is how Gladys is able to make ends meet and care for her family. She is able to pay for her kids’ school fees, health insurance, and her utility bills. “Rahama Wright has been our partner for more than 7 years now and in that time we have seen our living conditions improve due to our ability to produce high quality products and the sales opportunities Shea Yeleen has created for us,” said Gladys.
Shea Yeleen focuses not only on empowering women with resources, but on educating consumers. Wright says, “When we think of the families and communities around the world that are directly impacted by each purchase we make, it makes buying a powerful act that comes with an amazing opportunity to make a difference in the world.”
About PanAfrican Investment Company, LLC
Headquartered in New York, with offices in London, PIC is a private investment firm founded by Dick Parsons and Ronald Lauder. Their mission is to invest in companies and provide solutions that effect growth and development in sub- Saharan Africa.
About Shea Yeleen Health and Beauty, LLC
Shea Yeleen Health and Beauty, LLC sells high-quality beauty products using 100% natural, unrefined shea butter produced by women-owned cooperatives. The company is the commercial entity within a social enterprise that includes Shea Yeleen International, a 501c3 nonprofit. Shea Yeleen products are available at select Whole Foods Markets. The mission is to promote sustainable economic development in rural sub-Saharan Africa, empower and train shea butter cooperatives, and educate consumers in the U.S. about natural, fair trade beauty care products. For more information, visit: www.sheayeleen.com.