April 18 (UPI) — Google is celebrating what would have been the 98th birthday of Ghanaian entrepreneur Esther Afua Ocloo with a new Doodle.
Google’s homepage features artwork that depicts Ocloo “empowering the women of Ghana with the tools to improve their lives and communities,” the company says.
Ocloo, who was a pioneer in microlending, made a living selling marmalade and orange juice and after securing a loan was able to start her company, Nkulenu Industries, and travel to England in order to learn the latest techniques in food processing.
“Esther returned home and shared those skills with other Ghanaian women. Perhaps more importantly, she taught them everything she knew about starting and running a business, which put more money in their pockets. She made such an impact that in 1975 she was invited to the first U.N. World Conference on Women,” Google writes.
“Esther and other advisers knew that lending money to women could have a ripple effect, improving the prosperity and health of the women as well as their communities. But because they lacked collateral, low-income women were often ignored by banks. So in 1979, Esther helped found and became Chairman of the Board of Directors of Women’s World Banking, which provides millions of low-income women with the small loans needed to reach their financial goals,” they continue.
Ocloo died in 2002 at the age of 82 following a bout with pneumonia.