“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” …
Ginjan, Mohammed and Ibrahim are the characters of this African-American success, and the moment you get to know the brothers, you gonna like them for sure!
Let’s take a step back: Ginjan is an African drink – made of, above all, organic ginger- brought to New York and Long Island by Mohammed and Ibrahim, who worked for years to find the perfect match and create a winning recipe. Ginjan it is not just ginger made like the original African recipe drunk for thousands of years and also by the young brothers, but it is wisely mixed -with the precious suggestions of mommy!-. It has pineapple, lemon, vanille and anise, making a wonderful fresh and lightly spicy drink for summer, and if warmed up, an enjoyable healthy infusion for winter.
We spent a wonderful evening with Ibrahim discovering Harlem and the history behind Ginjan.
When we asked him where did they get that idea from, he told us that they have been thinking about it for a long time. But interestingly, even tho many people they knew spoke about the idea of commercializing it nobody did it until the brothers decided to take that step! At the end of the day, what always makes the difference is resolution.
Ibrahim is incredible: with a great serenity and a contagious passion, he tell us about future projects, the idea of making something good and building a sustainable business. This is the kind of future we also imagine, social responsibility and commitment to what we do.
Ibrahim and Mohammed were born in Guinea and moved to New York years later were they were raised. After some experiences in Europe, their idea was to build a business back in the US, involving also their African “home”. It was not easy and not fast; it took a lot of work and many lost hours of sleep to achieve the dream… and it’s not over yet!
The goal of the project is to involve local companies in Africa and cooperate with them in the productive process to create work and to help the economy. It is a different concept, a new course, the prospect to build a well-founded business where every part of it can take advantages, even the weaker party.
As Ibrahim told us, “Our purpose is to “brand” Africa, or perhaps I should say “re-brand” Africa. A lot of products from around the world have such a distinct and positive association with their place of origin that it in and of itself adds tremendous value to the underlying commodity. Think coffee and Italy, where coffee doesn’t even grow yet nothing is more synonymous with good coffee than Italy. In Africa, it’s just a place where raw materials get extracted to be refined elsewhere, we’d like to help make that change in the food space for starters. To be clear, money is absolutely crucial in our business and any venture really, as it is one of the easiest ways to “keep score” on what you’re doing.
We’re not looking to make money for money’s sake.
If at the end of it all we end up with a financially lucrative business that is selling terrible products to the world, that would be a major moral failure on our part; we’ll avoid this at all cost.”
“We also have a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) component to our business relating to sanitation; the flip-side to the food industry. This issue is near and dear to our hearts, as we, the founding brothers, grew up less than a mile from the largest waste disposal site in Guinea’s capital city of Conakry. So, we started an initiative to help fund startups working to solve the waste management problem in Africa, starting with Guinea. This is not a charity, as we believe waste management can be a lucrative business, so we invest a portion of our funds in small companies addressing the problem. One of the measures of our success is therefore the total tonnage of waste managed by the enterprises we support and invest in.”
In your opinion Ibrahim, what does it take to become successful and what would you suggest to someone who wants to start a business?
Here are thoughts that are spontaneously occurring to me now:
- First and foremost, you need to solve a problem people actually have or provide something their hearts will truly desire.
- Second, It will take much longer and be much more expensive than you think.
- Finally, you need to take care of yourself mentally and physically, otherwise you’ll end up rich and completely destroyed or worse, your business will fail and you’ll be completely destroyed. Work out, sleep, and love something and/or someone
More about Ginjan here
Invest in Ginjan www.drinkginjan.com/invest
…you have nothing to do now but to try it!