Female entrepreneurship in Togo. A successful example!

Female entrepreneurship in Togo. A successful example!

Jos van Erp Deputy Director View profile

It is always a pleasure to spend time with the management of the CNP-Togo (Conseil National du Patronat du Togo) the Togolese employers’ organisation. Representing 21 economic sectors, representing 1.300 private companies and employing together over 110.000 people, CNP-Togo really is the voice of business. DECP and CNP-Togo cooperate strongly on issues like Social Dialogue, Skills Development and reinforcement of the staff by working on teambuilding and personal development.

But being invited by Mr. TETE BENISSAN,  the executive director, to go out and explore some examples of business development in the capital of Lomé, really illustrates how CNP-Togo and its members are building their countries’ future. I had the opportunity to visit with him a successful example of female entrepreneurship. Because almost every inhabitant of the city of Lomé and the wide surrounding area knows the name of ‘Le Croustillant’. Le Crousillant is a high quality bakery and patisserie which delivers a wide range of fresh and high quality products to companies, restaurants, supermarkets and individual customers every day, seven days a week. The proud owner and operational manager is Mrs. AYAYI-ATAYI. She started her business in 1987, together with her late husband, as a licensed pasty chef. But soon she turned out to be a successful businesswoman as well.

Over the years she managed to transform Le Croustillant in a real brand. A state-of-the art production plant is located near the centre of Lomé and five distribution centres guarantee quick delivery. As Mrs. AYAYI-ATAYI says: ‘I only want to sell fresh products which are known for high variation and quality. Quick delivery after getting the order is one of our unique selling propositions’. Three small delivery vehicles that can quickly move in the sometimes chaotic rush hours in Lomé and a van go out every day to literally meet the costumers needs.

Mrs. AYAYI-ATAYI emplois more than 70 people of which some find their way to the company by doing an internship. Mrs. AYAYI-ATAYI closely works together with some school for vocational education in the field of bread and pastry. What is the secret of her success? She answers with modesty but convincing: ‘I am strict but fair with my employees. Yes, I do expect them to work really hard. Just the way I did over the last 32 years and still do. But they get respect and appreciation in return. And that is not all. They benefit from personal development and the conviction that they contribute to keep and develop their own job and general employability. After all, we all are a little bit of entrepreneurs’.


The 'Le Croustillant' banner represents a brand                                                      Ready to go and deliver fresh high quality products