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Akorli Helps Family Business from a Distance

January 20, 2022
Gerald Akorli

When people initially perform a Google search for Babylin Consult, a business owned and operated by Linda Akorli, Google asks if the person meant to type "Babylon Consult."

That’s where her son, College of Idaho freshman Gerald Akorli, comes in. He is creating an online footprint for the family business which will allow it to grow and thrive, despite Google’s attempt to correct the search name.

“She’s more of ‘go there and speak to the people,’” said Akorli, who intends to major in computer science. “I’m trying to help her gain a wider audience with technology, which will be fast compared to her going up to people individually.”

Babylin Consult is based in Akorli’s home country of Ghana. There are two prongs to the company: first (and predominantly) a series of hair care products for women of African descent, and secondly a book about the natural care of babies.

Akorli enrolled in a class through Boise State University’s Venture College during the fall semester to learn more about entrepreneurship in order to help the family business back home (Ghana is over 7,000 miles away from Idaho, located in western Africa). He has helped spread the word about the products via social media and is using his knowledge and interest in computer science to create an e-commerce website that will help his mother sell more of her products.

“We know we have people who have used it and have gained results, so we can rely on those results and feedback to try to create awareness so more people will know about the products and purchase them,” he explained. “It entails 10-12 products, we have hair cream, we have shampoos, and we have conditioners. They’re all naturally made from plants back home.”

He says it’s not as simple as talking to his classmates here in Idaho about the products. Direct shipping can be costly, which is where the e-commerce website comes in, along with the things he learned while enrolled in the online course through Venture College.

“We got an e-mail about enrolling in the class,” he said. “I was interested in it, so I applied.”

The program Akorli enrolled in, called the Venture College Incubator, is an 8-week course that is not for academic credit. Rather it is more of a hands-on discussion course, aimed at business ideas, growth, and progress. Akorli used it to learn more about entrepreneurship and business, augmenting his education at the College. He took the course while also taking a full class load during the fall semester at the College, a challenging yet rewarding task.

“Eventually it all paid off,” he said of the commitment. “It was very beneficial.”

The College of Idaho has a 131-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.