For Abena Foli, the farm-to-table lifestyle is a birthright. Each day she uses the knowledge she gained from growing up on her father’s farm in Ghana to enrich her career as a food scientist and regulatory affairs leader.
“Working in the food industry, I get to sit in marketing ideation sessions, and research and development meetings. Whenever we talk about innovation in ingredients or products, West Africa is never mentioned,” said Foli, who now lives in Texas. “There was a lack of West African-originated products on shelves. I wanted to leverage my food science background as well as my West African heritage to solve that problem.”
She decided to start small for maximum impact: “When people are new to cuisines,” she said, “they tend to try seasonings first.”
Foli founded POKS Spices in 2016 to bring flavors from West Africa into American home kitchens. In 2021, she became one of the 60,000 women to participate in the certificate program offered by the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell, which is managed by the Cornell Law School and powered by eCornell.
Funding from Bank of America makes it possible for the students to gain the skills and resources to build a successful venture – and earn a business certificate from the university – at no cost.
Read the full story on the Cornell Chronicle Website.