Africa Leaders Magazine

KIMBERLEY AND PRISCILLA ADDISON – Ghanaian Pioneers Of Artisanal & Revolutionary BEAN-TO-BAR CHOCOLATE

Africa needs women entrepreneurs who understand the power of the entrepreneurial value chain in their countries, and in Ghana, a great example can be found in Kimberley and Priscilla Addison, founders of ’57 Chocolate. The company’s philosophy is based on a bean-to-bar approach to manufacture and distribution, adding value to everyone along the value chain, from cocoa bean grower to consumer. ‘57 Chocolate is a world-class brand that believes in not merely trading the country’s natural resources in their “natural” state, but instead using creativity to transform these resources by developing made-in Ghana products of premium value.

This is what these pioneering sisters had to say to Lionesses of Africa about their story.

What does your company do?

‘57 Chocolate is the pioneer artisanal bean to bar chocolate manufacturer in Ghana producing luxury Ghanaian chocolate locally. It was founded in 2016 by two Ghanaian sisters (Kimberly and Priscilla) who wanted to show that quality chocolate can be made in Ghana. Our vision is to drive development and self-sufficiency in Ghana and across the continent of Africa. While our mission is to add value to local resources by transforming them into high-quality products that celebrate African art and culture. The name ‘57 is short for 1957—the year of Ghana’s independence. 1957 was a revolutionary year for the country, not only because it was freed from colonial rule, but it is the year that gave birth to the nation’s “can do” spirit. It is a call and reminder that sometimes to go forward, we need to look back at our foundation—our roots. ‘57 Chocolate aims to inspire the people of Ghana, especially the youth to create and develop made-in Ghana products of high quality.

What inspired you to start your company?

Having spent time living in Geneva, Switzerland, we thought it was strange that Switzerland is known for its chocolate, but yet doesn’t grow cocoa, the core ingredient in chocolate. Meanwhile, Ghana is the second-largest producer of cocoa but produces very little chocolate itself. We saw a vast need for manufacturing chocolate in Ghana and across the continent of Africa. In Ghana, the candy shelves of supermarkets and malls are overflowing with foreign chocolate bars, many undoubtedly made with Ghana’s very own cocoa. Having recognized all of this, we were determined to use Ghanaian cocoa to create a high-quality African chocolate brand that is reputable locally, internationally, and can compete on the world market.

What makes your business, service, or product special?

At ‘57 Chocolate we take dried cocoa beans and process them into luxurious chocolate and confections. Most importantly, we aim to keep Ghana’s cocoa in its truest form. Our chocolate is handmade in small batches, rich in cocoa, and made without any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. As part of the process of ensuring that our chocolate is of high quality, cocoa is always the first and main ingredient in our dark and milk chocolates, as opposed to sugar which is listed first in many other brands. Our chocolate challenges the status quo of luxury chocolate being only a product of Europe. What’s most unique about our business is that we produce chocolate that is a reflection of Ghanaian art and culture, particularly through our Adinkra bars. These bite-sized bars are beautifully engraved with visual symbols created by the Ashanti of Ghana. We have a collection of 12 different, each representing a concept or a particular meaning such as leadership, beauty, humility, strength and resourcefulness. We will be adding more concepts to our collection shortly.

Tell us a little about your team

We currently employ 10 people, most of whom are young women. We hope to continue to expand our team as the business grows.

Introducing the founders:

Kimberly Addison, Co-Founder of ‘57 Chocolate, is a graduate of Boston College’s arts and sciences program located in the United States. At Boston College, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in French and International Studies, with a concentration in Social Justice. At ’57 Chocolate she oversees facility and inventory management, administration, and sales, and serves as the recipe developer and quality control officer.

Priscilla Addison, Co-Founder of ‘57 Chocolate, is a graduate of New York University’s (NYU) Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, where she obtained a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) with a specialization in International Development. At ’57 Chocolate she oversees, content creation, branding and marketing, and communications expertise.

Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?

We started the company before we even had a name for it. We began pursuing the idea of chocolate manufacturing in 2014. We began by taking courses on chocolate making and confections and trained with people in the field. We also did a lot of research and reading about the industry. We developed our chocolate recipes through trial and error and received feedback from family, friends, and strangers who worked within and outside of the chocolate industry. Additionally, we reached out to people already working in the industry to seek advice. Our first batch of chocolate was produced in 2016. What’s most important to note here is that neither of us (Kimberly or Priscilla) has a background in chocolate manufacturing, however, we were passionate and determined to do it despite those that told us it was impossible to do in Africa. You most certainly need strength and tenacity in this field. Processing chocolate from the cocoa bean to the chocolate bar is extremely labor-intensive.

We do have entrepreneurial roots in our family. Our grandparents owned businesses and our mom started her own business in Ghana when she was just 18 years of age.

What are your plans and aspirations for your company?

Over the long-term, we aim to create an African chocolate brand that is known worldwide, but most importantly one that surpasses our lifetime. We are working towards having our chocolate sold across the continent of Africa and around the globe. We hope for our chocolate to continue to reflect and build upon the unique traditions and culture that makes us call Ghana and Africa at large home! We hope that ‘57 Chocolate inspires people from Ghana and across the continent especially the youth, to create, develop, and consume made in Africa products of premium value.

What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?

We love seeing the joy our chocolate brings to our clients, knowing that we are adding value to a unique resource right at home. Many people thought this would be impossible to achieve. Additionally, it’s the support and encouragement that we’ve received from near and far. We have received several inquiries about investments and whether we ship our chocolate abroad. We currently ship our chocolate to customers all over the world. Our chocolate is well-traveled. Our amazing customers have taken our chocolates to countries such as Japan, Colombia, Cuba, Spain, Brazil, France, South Africa, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Russia, the United States and many others.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start up?


Investing in people is key to anything you want to do in life. We could not run this business without a hard-working team that believes in the vision. Whether you want to start a business or fulfill a particular dream, you are going to need the help of people and your team to get there and vice versa.


Never underestimate the importance of having a conversation and networking. Everyone is important, from the President of the country or organization, and the taxi driver. Our chocolate has gained so much traction not only because it’s a great product, but because of relationships. We’ve come across individuals who have loved our chocolate and believe in our mission and passion to help create a new narrative from Ghana.

source: LionessesofAfrica

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