Inspiring Start-ups: Roki Man Bitters: when a grandmother’s treasure becomes business


Sometimes, treasures such as land, jewellery, estates, money, among other things are bequeathed to the next generation. But for Frank, he had a different kind of treasure – herbal medicine. It was the trade of his late grandmother, which he also learned and has eventually become an expert in. Read more as he narrates how it all began.

Clement Frank Asante comes from Obo Kwahu in the Eastern Region of Ghana. He was raised by his grandmother till age 14, as his father passed on shortly after he was born and his mother had to migrate to the capital city of Accra to get a job that would help her take care of his son.

Frank’s grandmother was a renowned and exceptional herbalist during her time. Take any ailment to her and she would have a cure for it. In fact, throughout her life, Frank said, she never visited any healthcare centre until the day she was pronounced dead at the hospital.

One interesting thing about Frank’s grandmother was that she didn’t learn her occupation from anyone – she was just a gifted herbalist. He said he recalls frequent times he accompanied her grandmother to the farm, and whatever plant they saw she would point out to him what disease it cures. Sometimes, she would send him to go into the bush and bring a certain plant or herb to prepare medicine for someone who had come with a health condition. And that was how he also learned the trade.

Motivation for venturing into herbs

For Frank, he just could not waste the wealth of training and experience he got from his grandmother. Growing up and seeing how his grandmother’s herbal mixtures cured people with different kinds of diseases – some of which were life-threatening, he could not just watch that legacy go down the drain. Hence his decision to continue the legacy of his grandmother – but he would do so with a modernised approach that goes beyond just operating in the community where he belongs.

Frank then registered his business under the name FAC Beverages and introduced his first herbal product – Roki Man Bitters. On hearing the name, one would conclude it is just an aphrodisiac to boost men’s sex-drive. But Roki Man Bitters does more than that.

The bitters, Frank says, is unique – in that it is made with 100 percent natural roots with not a single addition of artificial chemicals. And that is why it’s effective for cleansing the system to make the body function properly.

“Most times when people hear of bitters, they usually think it is for boosting men’s sexual performance. But Roki Man Bitters was not made solely for that purpose. It has medicinal value. The main work of this bitters is to cleanse the system and make all parts of the body function properly. And when the entire system is functioning properly, your strength and work rate increases – which includes sexual performance. So it was not specifically made for sexual performance but to correct defects in the body.

“I remember one man bought a bottle of Roki Man Bitters and later he called me saying the medicine is very potent. He said he had a knee problem that wouldn’t allow him to walk a far distance. But after taking the bitters for some days, his knee problem has become better and now he can walk farther than he could before,” Frank said.

Another unique thing about the product, he said, is the no side-effect factor. The product has been vetted and approved by Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and proven not to have any side-effects as it contains no artificial chemicals, among others.


Frank says a major challenge he faced with his product was the cost of branding. Getting the right bottles, fine labels among other things comes at a hefty cost which is difficult to fund as a startup business.

There was also the frustration of getting needed documentation from agencies such as the Food and Drugs Authority and others. The process, he says, is very cumbersome and has lots of back and forth in it. He said it took him close to two years to finally get everything in place,

And top of all the challenges he is currently facing is the cost of advertising and publicity. As a new product on the market, publicity is essential for registering the product in the minds of consumers and creating awareness. However, doing so in the mainstream media is a no-go-area for budding businesses trying to gain their feet.


The vision for the business, Frank says, is broad. In the next five years, he wants Roki Man Bitters to be all over the country where people will see its uniqueness.

He also said he’s also open to partnership from interested parties in order to expand the business beyond its current size. He is currently working on introducing new products onto the market next year.

How should government assist startups

To support startups’ growth in the country, government must make a deliberate policy whereby young businesses will be automatically given some years of tax rebates, especially considering the fact that startups struggle in their early years – which sometimes even leads to their collapse.

Again, he adds, startups must have access to government funding, no matter their size; as most government support schemes usually focus on the size of businesses and number of employees before they are eligible for such support.

“I once went to the Ghana Enterprises Agency to inquire of their programmes, and I was told I have to have a minimum seven workers before I can qualify for funding. But I think that approach is quite flawed, because not every startup can employ seven at the start. Your kind of business may not need that number of employees to start with, but it can still be a viable business that will grow to employ more than that number when given the needed support.”

Advice to young entrepreneurs

“The startup ecosystem is a tough one. You can easily become discouraged and quit, especially considering funding challenges and the frustration you go through with getting needed documentation. But I would urge all young people who enter into entrepreneurship not to give up too easily. Have a reason to hang on. For me, my motivation for hanging on was to ensure my grandmother’s legacy was kept, and that’s why I didn’t quit. So, find a reason to continue even when all hope seems to be lost.”



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