MUSCATINE, Iowa–This May, DJAAGOU-A EXPORT LLC, run by Ognadon “Eddy” Djagou in Muscatine, received the Iowa Small Business Association’s Exporter of the Year Award. The honor recognizes Djagou for his business’ growth over the last five years and its focus on exporting food from the United States to markets that previously lacked access to it.
Djagou felt completely surprised to receive the honor. During a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program meeting, a representative from the Iowa Small Business Association informed him he had won. Djagou, completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program in 2021 and considered it a useful opportunity to develop a growth plan that would help him add more local jobs in the future. He found it fitting to learn about the award, which among other things celebrates growth, with a group that had helped him expand his own business. Always one to seek out more knowledge about how to help his business succeed, Djagou also participated in the New Chip Business Incubator, which will help him successfully share his business model with prospective investors.
Since opening DJAAGOU-A EXPORT LLC in 2017, Djagou has focused significant energy into exporting American grown or made food products to countries in the western part of Africa, including Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Togo. A market underserved by other food exporters in the United States, the Iowa Small Business Association applauded Djagou’s efforts to develop more relationships with buyers in those countries to bring high quality food products to people who likely did not have access to them before. By working with the Food Export Association of the Midwest, Djagou will soon have additional opportunities to work with sellers abroad to market his products to local audiences, helping even more people get acquainted with his goods and expanding his business further.
Though Djagou took pride in receiving the Iowa Small Business Association’s Exporter of the Year Award, he still has big plans for growing DJAAGOU-A EXPORT LLC in the next few years, possibly opening additional offices to facilitate exporting from multiple locations across the United States. He would also like to develop relationships with more buyers overseas, exporting regularly to an even wider variety of places.
To help make communication around the world simpler, Djagou will use a grant from the Iowa Economic Development Market Trade Assistance Program to continue improving his website and provide content in both English and French, as many of his clients in Africa speak French. “There is a lot of opportunity in the West African market for US companies because of the quality of our products,” Djagou explained. “I’ll continue to work with more producers and manufacturers to increase their access to the worldwide market.”