Affiong Williams is a 2019 finalist in the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge and a pioneer in the snack industry. WE Empower Intern Jacqueline Blisse elaborates on how Affiong and her company Reelfruit are benefitting her industry as well as her community.
Affiong Williams is the Chief Executive Officer of Reelfruit, a snack business from Nigeria whose core business value is investing in women. Reelfruit practices what they preach, their outreach to women who live in rural areas has allowed these women to learn skills and provide for their families.
Reelfruit support the UN SDG goals of Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure. Reelfruit is directly using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in their businesses core values in order to face the biggest development changes in Africa.
Reelfruit believes that financially investing in women is the greatest tool to achieving gender equality. This has led Reelfruit to the actualization of this belief, 100% of their senior management and 64% of their overall staff are women. In addition, Reelfruit trains women on Global Agricultural Practices, sets up mango farms for rural women and gives them trees to start growing fruit. They have been able to train and support over 50 women by providing them with rural jobs and doubling their income.
Continual growth is key to Reelfruit’s business strategy. As they make plans for the future, Reelfruit will continue to hire people at all skill levels and has plans to hire on over 500 employees within the next five years. In order to provide decent work to these employees Reelfruit provides their employees with loans for school, a pension, and health insurance.
“I foster the growth of women in my business in a number of ways, firstly by prioritizing hiring women," said Williams. "100% of my management team is female which demonstrates that I am building a women-led, women-run company as an example to show that women can build businesses in Nigeria.”