Many of the most innovative entrepreneurs in Ghana are women. The annals of the Technology Consultancy Centre (TCC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, contain many tales of enterprising females who pioneered new ventures based on technologies developed or adapted within the workshops and laboratories of the university. Many of the stories record modest success but the tale of Mrs Appiah was one of both triumph and tragedy. It could also be seen as the conflict between science and religion in microcosm.
Mrs Appiah was a small-scale producer of afro-wigs which were very popular in Ghana in the early 1970s. The wigs online were made of imported human hair but when the importation was banned by the Acheampong government in 1972 it seemed that the local industry was doomed. Mrs Appiah came to the TCC to enquire if the university could find an alternative raw material.
The TCC referred Mrs Appiah to Dr D N S Rao of the Department of Chemistry. Dr Rao suggested that one possible locally-available raw material might be sisal hemp fibre. He launched a research and development programme to perfect a product that was indistinguishable from human hair piece singapore. His efforts were crowned with success and Mrs Appiah produced some prototype wigs that were enthusiastically acclaimed by her customers. Dr Roa was worried that the wigs were highly flammable but this problem was solved by additional chemical treatment.
Now Mrs Appiah was back in business, and as her competitors had ceased production, business was very good. There followed a period of expansion; skilled wigmakers were re-employed and more trainee apprentices were given opportunities to learn the trade. Mrs Appiah was proud of her achievement and her project was featured prominently in TCC publications as a novel example of a successful venture in appropriate technology.
Mrs Appiah had one problem and it concerned the security of supply of raw material. Sizal grows well in Ghana but at that time, around Kumasi, Mrs Appiah found only a few small plantations. The plantation owners, becoming aware of the new demand for their product, began to steadily raise their price. In response to this threat, Mrs Appiah used some of her profits to buy a plot of land and came back to the TCC to obtain help and advice from the Faculty of Agriculture on the cultivation of sisal. She was relieved to find that the cultivation was relatively easy and a new crop could yield useful raw material within a few months of planting.
As her profits piled up in her bank account, Mrs Appiah grew restless to invest in new enterprises. She was advised to concentrate on the business she knew best, wig malaysia, and not to dissipate her energy by attempting to do too many new things that she knew less about. However, still in her early thirties, the lady was full of energy and enthusiasm and not in a mood to listen even to those who had guided her to good fortune. She announced that she had ordered materials from overseas and was going to become a paint manufacturer.
Dr Rao was one of the first to sound a note of warning. The solvents used in paint manufacture are known to be injurious to health and must be used in special facilities with good ventilation. When inhaled, the solvents can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea. Longer-term exposure can cause kidney damage leading to anaemia, fatigue, high blood pressure, kidney dysfunction and failure. Mrs Appiah was again advised against starting the new project
The lady entrepreneur was not seen again on the university campus, and not heard of again until her funeral was announced in the local press. On enquiry it was learned that she had been taken ill at work and rushed to hospital. The doctors had diagnosed anaemia and advised that she should be given blood transfusions but Mrs Appiah and her family being Jehovah’s Witnesses this course of treatment had been refused. The lady was as ardent in pursuit of her faith as she had been in pursuit of her business. One must hope that the rewards were equally commensurate.