Starting his National Service at the Protocol Department of Parliament of Ghana in 2013, Kwasi Addai Mununkum had the scarce opportunity of moving with many highly-powered delegations.
But there was one thing he observed about these people.
He observed they really loved to drink fresh coconut water, but the way coconut is handled and sold was not appealing to them.
Now, this is how coconut is sold in Ghana: You buy it by the roadside, you gulp the water in the prying eyes of the public.
If you love to eat the fruit after drinking the water, the coconut seller uses more often a rusty cutlass to cut it open and scoop the fruit which some consider unhygienic.
“I later realized that this wasn’t exclusive to the caliber of people I was moving with, almost everyone doesn’t like the idea of drinking coconut water by the roadside, so I decided to look for a solution,” he told business.com.gh in an interview.
Earning a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Cape Coast and following up with his National Service, he got quite a good number of job offers but he focused on developing his idea into a well-packaged coconut product, he would later name -Kube Pure.
“I had to choose the hard path of refusing these job offers and instead engaged in freelance marketing so as to get enough time for the coconut business development,” he noted.
However, as with almost all start-ups, it hasn’t been an easy sailing.
“The first challenge was getting the right concept for the product in order not to miss a great opportunity,” he reminisced.
His first concept was to peel off all the hard shell of the coconut without breaking into the delicate fruit. Although, it was eventually possible to do, the cost of production was not enthusing.
Additionally, people who tried the coconut liked the idea but felt it was too exposed and unhygienic.
The product development period took him through more trial and error; Finally, he settled on the third concept that had a perfect fit for technology and soon arriving at the neatly packaged coconut called Kube Pure which is now on the market.
“Kube Pure meets all the key points I had focused on from day one: attractive, hygienic, portable, and convenient,” he noted.
After developing the product, another challenge popped up.
“After developing the product, the other challenge was to get a team that is enthusiastic and knows how success looks like. It took close to one year to get the team together and also to get funding.”
“At a point, I had spent all the money I had on Research and Development (R&D) and couldn’t even get resources to meet potential investors. But eventually, we prevailed.”
Addai Mununkum has three other co-founders: Hayford Peprah, Dramani Iddrisu and Chief Tetteh Richard.
Speaking of how they are able to reach the final product, he explained that, “the process is quite simple: sort, wash, peel, polish, groove, wash, package, freeze.”
Kube Pure currently has vendors who sell in traffic; Producers say hotels and restaurants will soon add the product to their offerings.
Pro-Conut Ghana Ltd is not stopping after introducing Kube Pure unto the market. The company is currently developing other coconut based products such as coconut chips, coconut bread, and coconut yoghurt.
Okyere Mununkum and his team, in the near future hopes to penetrate international markets and to meet that demand, “we are planning of cultivating at least 200 acres of coconut plantation in the medium term to guarantee access to adequate raw materials when we begin to export.”
By Pamela Ofori-Boateng