Emi & Ben - Ronke Ige
Ronke Ige from Greenwich had been freelancing
in public relations, but struggled to secure work when the
recession hit, and by 2009 had been out of work for a year
before getting help from The Prince’s Trust.
She was expecting her first child and began to worry about how
she would make ends meet. Ronke said: “I was in a really difficult
situation back then. I didn’t know how I was going to cope
financially and provide an income for my child.”
As the jobs market was so tough,
starting a business seemed like a good option and Ronke approached
The Prince’s Trust with her idea to begin her own natural skin care
Ronke came up with the idea of creating a
unique body butter moisturiser when her Nigerian grandmother sent
her a gift of 100% natural Shea butter. While not readily available
in the UK, unrefined Shea butter is an extremely popular skin care
product in West Africa and it was with this main ingredient Ronke
based her business.
With the help of The Prince’s Trust, Ronke
received a loan and a business mentor to help her set up skin care
company Emi & Ben, named after her daughter and
nephew. The company sells a range of natural body butters handmade
from pure Shea butter and essential oils, for children and
Two years later, Emi & Ben is a
huge success, selling natural beauty products online and from a
stall at weekly and monthly markets in Greenwich and Kingston upon
Thames. Emi & Ben also have celebrity fans, including
fellow 'Mumpreneur' Myleen Klass and mum-to-be TV Presenter
Ronke is passionate about ethically sourced
ingredients and ensures that the Shea butter she imports from West
Africa is produced by local women enabling them to financially
support their families. This is further highlighted by Ronke’s
plans to visit Nigeria where she plans to build a Shea butter
factory, where the individuals of the women’s cooperative she
currently works with will own 40% of social enterprise, providing
them with the tools to provide unrefined Shea butter to skin care
manufacturers internationally. “This project I’m extremely excited
about as it’s my way of supporting my country of origin and local
communities within Nigeria”.
Setting up Emi & Ben has pushed Ronke to set up her
own PR & Events agency, Bread + Butter, which has
already secured some high-profile clients.
Last year, Ronke became a Prince’s Trust ambassador, helping to
inspire other young people to achieve their potential.
I’ll always be grateful to The Prince’s Trust
for helping me get through a difficult time. I absolutely love
running my own business and I feel proud that I’m setting a good
example to my daughter and to other young people.