Google dedicated a ‘doodle’ illustration image on Tuesday, the 18th of April to celebrate prolific Ghanaian entrepreneur Esther Ocloo’s, and honored her through highlighting her remarkable achievements on what would have been her 98th birthday.

Ocloo was born in Ghana on 18 April 1919, and as a teenager in the 1930s she launched her entrepreneurial career on less than a dollar. She became one of the founders of Women’s World Banking in 1976, which focused on lending budding entrepreneurs small loans.

As a high school graduate in 1930 with only few Ghanaian shillings given to her by her aunt, she bought sugar, oranges and 12 jars to make marmalade jam, which she began selling to schools. She won won a tender to supply the military. On the basis of her hard-work and good fortune, she took a loan from a bank to expand her business under her maiden name, ‘Nkulenu’ Industries, which became a leading food processing company.

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Ocloo quickly became one of Ghana’s leading entrepreneurs, and her business grew to become a source of inspiration around the world. She taught microfinance skills to other women, and dedicated her life to support others to succeed.

Pursuing studies abroad 

Through her savings Ocloo travelled to England to take a course in Food Science and Modern Processing Techniques at Bristol University, and she was the first black person to obtain such a qualification.

She would later return to Ghana with a mission of solving the financial difficulties faced by poor women. She taught the women various skills, and became a pioneer of micro-lending after setting up a bank to assist those on low incomes with soft loans to help them become self-sufficient and successful entrepreneurs.

She became the first woman to receive the Africa Prize for Leadership in 1990, and in her acceptance speech she said, “Women must know that the strongest power in the world is economic power. You cannot go and be begging to your husband for every little thing, but at the moment, that’s what the majority of our women do,” according to the Guardian.

Ocloo died in 2002 after suffering from pneumonia at the age of 82.

Living legacy

A text accompanying Google Doodle says, “In 1979, Esther helped found and became Chairman of the Board of Directors of Women’s World Banking, which provides millions of low-income women with the small loans needed to reach their financial goal.”

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Today in Ghana, Nkulenu Industries is still a thriving business making orange marmalade and exports a variety of indigenous food items to markets worldwide.

Social media reactions on the Google recognition