Entrepreneurship

Have you ever wondered what your life could be like if you could live on your own terms?

Have you ever wondered how far you could go if impossible is nothing?

Think about it, who would you be now if you cannot fail?

Some people are held prisoners by their own imagination. They’ve resigned to living day-to-day. Their experiences of life are replete with difficulties, disappointments, hardships, and pain. This is not all to life. Life can be absolutely wonderful – and it should be – when you begin to live on your own terms!

Here’s how:

First, define your purpose and set 10x goals

“The secret of success is constancy to purpose.” – Benjamin Disraeli

The concept of purpose is rather troubling for a lot of people around the world. They’re not sure whether it’s possible for someone to know exactly why s/he was born. They live by whatever makes them happy. They have no direction and focus.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity of coaching several young professionals and entrepreneurs around the world – teaching them how to unlock their potentials and live their best lives, now. In a mentoring session with some Mastercard Foundation Scholars over the weekend, I endeavored to explain this concept (of purpose) to them. I told them that a man or woman actually starts to live when that one comes in contact with his or her purpose. Nevertheless, there’s no rule book that defines a person’s purpose. You have to find it.

Your purpose is what you were born for – it’s your mission for life! If you don’t know what it is, then you don’t have any direction in your life. You’re like a man who’s climbed a tall ladder only to realize in the end that it’s leaning against the wrong wall.

Your life will be out of course.

You’d be caught in the thick of thin things.

Your passion is for you but your purpose is for others. Click To Tweet

The easiest way to discover your purpose is by figuring out what you’re passionate about. Your passion gives you joy but when you use your passion for the greater good, that gives you a purpose.

Further, if you want to live on your own terms, you have to set goals that exceed your imagination. If your goal is not 10x what you could do on your own; if you could connect all the dots of your life, then you’re not thinking big enough!

When you set a 10x goal, you get committed. With commitment, you’ve reached your point of no return. In the words of Benjamin Hardy, “the fundamental core of the word “decision” means to literally cut-off alternative options. When you choose one thing, you simultaneously close the door on many others.”

What are you going to do with your life? How far do you want to go? The choice is yours!

Second, develop a discontent for mediocrity and mundanity

Tony Robbins says: “People have an endless list of things they believe they should do or should follow through on. But what happens when you decide something is an absolute “must?” What happens when you cut off any other possibility than you succeeding — when you decide that you are either going to find a way to make something happen or you’ll create the way yourself?

When you raise your standards and turn “should” into “must,” you are making an inner shift to take control over the quality of your life. Any area you are not getting what you want is because you haven’t raised your standards.”

A lot of people are comfortable with an average life. They’re helmed-in and pinned down by the pains and pangs of neglect. They have a laundry list of excuses for why they couldn’t achieve their goals.

It’s time to excavate yourself from the ordinary. It’s time to transcend the norm, chart a new course and set the pace!

Go for excellence in your life, work, and relationships. Be an example of excellence. Invest in yourself. Saturate your mind and environment with quality information. If all you consume is junk, your life and results will not be any different – garbage in, garbage out.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. — Alvin Toffler

Become intentional with personal education. Get absorbed in the process and make your life a practical life. In this era – where knowledge is synonymous with money and power – you cannot afford to be uninformed. “The value of knowledge is increasing while the value of physical things is dropping fast.” As the world gets more complex, you must develop the skill for learning and compounding knowledge to remain functional.


Are you looking for a job or hiring entry-level talents? Join us at Quantum Leap Career Fair 2019!


When you understand who you really are, you’d never settle for anything that’s not excellent! Even if you’re the last man on the block before long, you’d become number one!

Here’s a pro tip: move from good to excellent. Deep down, you have something yearning for expression. Live what’s within you!

Abigail Foaty, shot by Nana Afriyie

Third, create massive value and give more than you take

“The world gives to the givers and takes from the takers.” — Joe Polish

If you want to live your life on your own terms, you must consistently create massive value and give more than you take. Every successful person knows this: The secret to long-term success is creating excessive value. They work from a point of transformation and not transaction. They’re not trapped by me, myself and I small-mindedness that often lead many to greed and unhealthy competition.

Become an artist and a master of your craft. Think differently.

Writing in an Entrepreneur article, self-development author and business coach, Brian Tracy captures 7 ways to create value in your job, business or products for greater success. Says Tracy, “when you begin thinking of increasing the speed at which you deliver your product or service, improving the quality, add value at every stage of production, increasing the convenience for your customers, giving better customer service, catering to changing lifestyles and trends and finding ways to reduce the actual cost, you will be astonished at the incredible number of ideas and possibilities that exist around you.”

Benjamin Hardy, best selling author of Will Power Doesn’t Work unpacks this further: “When your motivation is to give, you’ll often get insights into how you can improve your relationships… You’ll have more ideas about how you can improve other people’s lives and businesses. You’ll start contributing more, which will lead to far more opportunities and deeper relationships. People will come to love and trust you. Your work will be motivated by a higher cause and thus will be far more inspired and impactful.”

Last, create “A-Game” partnerships

Abigail Foaty, shot by Nana Afriyie

The new industrial convergence is creating more value and opportunities for businesses to adapt to technological and societal advances. However, navigating this fast-changing and continually blurring environment requires immense agility and forward thinking. More than ever, collaboration and teamwork have become paramount for progressive growth and success.

If you want to live your life on your own terms, you must surround yourself with people whose insights can help you make quantum leaps in your business or career. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Everyone that achieved success or any form of breakthrough had help along the way. They had people who supported and held them accountable to their goals. I have written more about how to create “A-Game” partnerships in this article.

* * *

You can live your life on your own terms. You can and you should! If you followed the steps I shared with you in this article, they could help you put in the pieces to actualize in a year what might take others decades to do. You’ll transform your life. You’ll become a mystery to others.

But remember this: every step of the journey towards living your life on your own terms will need focus and intention. While I cannot promise it’ll be easy, I can assure you, however, that it’s worth every sacrifice! This is why we’re creating a fantastic event to bring professionals at different stages in their career together at the 2019 edition of Quantum Leap Career Fair. SFAN events always push the boundary and we’ve done a good job in developing the content for this one! I hope you can join us – register here (apply the code *QLCareerFair19* for a discount).


If you enjoyed reading this article, consider sharing it so that others can find it! Are you looking for a job or hiring entry-level talents? Join us at Quantum Leap Career Fair 2019!


About the Author

Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Image Credit: Abigail Foaty by Nana Afriyie

Pitching is one of the things that many (first time) founders dread – but unfortunately cannot avoid. You pitch your business every day and to everyone: investors, customers, collaborators, potential employees, and other prospects. As a matter of fact, your success or failure as a startup founder, in most instances, is underscored by this singular act: pitching.

From experience of helping many entrepreneurs prepare their pitches – as well as reviewing/judging hundreds of pitches through my work with organizations like Seedstars World, Adansonia, Impact Hub Accra, etc here are simple hacks for pitching your startup to investors.

  • Know who you’re pitching to

It goes without saying, there are different kinds of pitches for different kinds of people. The way you pitch to an impact investor will definitely differ from the way you pitch to an angel investor. That will equally differ from the way you pitch to a customer or prospective employee. Know your audience and prepare your pitch to highlight the metrics they’re looking for.

The thing a lot of founders do not take into consideration is the panel they are pitching to have seen several hundreds of pitches before. They probably have certain red flags they look out for in pitches. Once you make any of these mistakes – especially at the early stages of your pitch – you’ve automatically shot yourself in the foot.

Again, from my personal experience, judging pitches can be a lot of work sometimes. If your pitch is another boring, rehashed rhetoric, it can be difficult to gain the attention of your audience. So, put the effort to understand what the investor is looking for and see if your business actually meets those criteria. If you just need someone to hear you out, that’s different. But if you need them to take some form of investment decisions, you must put yourself in their shoes. No matter how much someone wishes for you to succeed – as most pitch judges often do – if you don’t connect with him/her, you’ll lose the attention.

  • Start with why

Simon Sinek’s 2009 Ted Talk argued that inspired leaders and organizations, regardless of size and industry communicate from inside out.

Why?

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Sinek’s talk is in consonance with research carried out by neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The team was able to show that reasoning and behavioral control are dependent on different regions of the frontal lobe than the areas called upon when making a decision.

Starting your pitch with your why helps you highlight the purpose, cause or belief that drives your business. This is an easy way to connect with your audience – instead of the conventional approach of hoping your product description will pique their interest.

People want to be a part of something big. Your “why” is how to demonstrate your passion for the problem you’re solving. Think about Nike’s vision of everyday greatness. That vision has gone viral because it encompasses everyone. People who, ordinarily, would have felt left behind can now connect with the feeling of greatness by simply putting on a pair of sneakers.

  • Communicate the problem you’re solving and how you solve it

One of the things I notice from many pitches I judged is: A lot of founders spend so much time talking about several irrelevant things except the problem they’re solving. Don’t waste your time with too many irrelevant details. Tell your audience exactly what you’re building.

  1. Highlight the reason why this problem is persistent and requires urgent attention.
  2. Explain how you’re solving it and who you’re solving it for.
  3. Talk about the uniqueness of your solution from that of your competition.
  4. Talk about the size of the market you’re addressing and the potential size you can capture in the foreseeable future. As Patrick McKenzie, a developer at Stripe Atlas rightly said, “venture investors are looking for companies which can sustain revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars per year, minimum. “Niche” products where the ceiling is millions of dollars are only interesting to the extent they unlock adjacent, bigger markets.”
  5. If you’ve already launched, talk about your users. Your success stories might be one of the key differentiators for your pitch – include testimonials or news features if you’re giving a powerpoint presentation. Use graphs or charts to show your growth and traction as it’ll be easy to comprehend.

Remember, your investor might not understand all the intricacies involved in delivering your solution. Avoid all jargons and buzzwords. Make it easy for people to understand how your service starts and ends. Don’t make anyone figure out your key points. Tell them directly.

  • Talk about your financials

Gary Vee was right, how you make your money is more important than how much you make. Clearly, explain the costs involved in starting and running your venture to actualize the key milestones over a period of time. From my experience, there are two key things many investors want to see from your metrics:

  1. Value creation. That is, can the business make a profit and does it work on a per-customer basis at any point in time?
  2. Scalability. That is, what is the size of the market the entrepreneur is addressing and how attractive is it?

Here’s an insight: your business model should tell a crisp story of the user economics in terms of customer acquisition cost (CAC) and long-term value (LTV). Therefore, show how the business makes money. Highlight the costs involved in acquiring users, and make a clear projection of your revenue.

Even if you’re still early in your journey with no traction (quantitative evidence of product/market fit) whatsoever, it’s important that you demonstrate you have the potential of generating revenue and making a data-driven decision. But if you do have traction, ensure you calibrate and over-index on that. Know your numbers: revenues, growth margins, profitability, etc. This article has extensive information on startup metrics you should pay attention to.

The caveat, however, is to be careful how you site your financial projections. Manipulating your revenue is fraudulent behavior or a sign of incompetence.

  • Do talk about yourself and your team

It’s been said many times that investors do not necessarily invest in a business idea but in the entrepreneur. It’s true. Business ideas like Uber, Facebook, Airbnb or even Amazon did not look impressive to a lot of people at conception. Their teams built them to what we know them to be today. Therefore, ensure you do not sell yourself short!

If you have built something exceptionally well or achieved any form of success in the past, talk about it. It does not necessarily have to be in line with the business you’re pitching. Maybe you finished your college course work while building a startup: talk about it!

Entrepreneurship requires an awful amount of discipline and commitment and investors are mindful of this. They will always use your previous success as plausibility for success in your new venture. The same goes for any history of failure you decide to share with them. Failure can only be a plus if it resulted in something meaningful and worth talking about.

Further, ensure you highlight the complementary skills and expertise of your team members. That means: Your team should not be skewed to one direction. If this is the case, be sure to mention your plans for (or how you’re) balancing the skills.


Don’t just pitch an idea, a prototype is better than several pitches.

If you have a prototype, do bring it to on your pitch day. Understand your fundamentals and handle your pitch like a conversation. It’s great to have aspirations but your pitch will always be weighed on a scale of your business strategy. Don’t pitch the product, pitch your business. A lot of us – entrepreneurs – spend so much time discussing the product or service but say so little about the business. Also, be specific. Know what you’re asking for or the exact amount of money you want. In the same vein, before you send or deliver any pitch, it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of the investor. Many investors want to see that you understand the investment risk.

Finally, if you’re delivering a powerpoint presentation, make your slides as easy-to-read as possible. Don’t clutter the slides with unnecessary information. Keep images and graphics to the minimum and review your stuff before your pitch day. Use this Y Combinator Seed Deck template to structure your deck.

At the end of the day, a pitch is not a war. Try to have fun while keeping your eyes on the goal and on the judges. Be authentic and be yourself. Even if you miss your lines, as many people often do, don’t stop! Keep pitching and if things do not turn out the way you expected, there’s always another opportunity. Don’t take rejection too hard.

My best wishes on your next pitch!


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About the Author

Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. He is a big believer in people and has trained hundreds of young entrepreneurs on how to find their purpose, actualize their goals and tell compelling stories about themselves and their work. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

“Entrepreneurs have crossed “the risk line” from the “Time-and-Effort Economy” to the “Results Economy.” For them, there’s no guaranteed income, no one writing them a paycheck every two weeks. They live by their ability to generate opportunity by creating value for their clientele.” – Dan Sullivan, Strategic Coach.

Here’s a disclaimer: this article is for people who want to *really* understand what entrepreneurship means from a practitioner’s point of view. It is about practicality and how to thrive in the chaotic #StartupLife. If you are not ready for behind-the-scenes usually not told in TV commercials or keynote speeches, stop reading right now.

Since the last decade or more, entrepreneurship has become a fancy and celebrated word. CEO/Founder/Owner status is sexy to add to your social media biog.

People love it – being “on my grind”, “a girl boss” is so cool to post on Twitter.

You hold your shoulders high at events and social gatherings because when you introduce yourself as a founder, it seems to correlate you’re among the crème de la crème of society.

Today, “quit your job and become an entrepreneur” is the Holy Grail for success and significance in many circles. Consequently, many young people just waffle through school with the hope of finding success in entrepreneurship.

It wasn’t always this way.

Although the first usage of the word “entrepreneur” dates as far back as 1850, popular pieces of literature suggest that the term “entrepreneurship” was coined around the 1920s. The reason is not far fetched. It used to be that you go to school, study hard and when you graduate, a job will be waiting for you. And, after many years of working hard and serving your company, you retire with a gold watch and other great benefits. Life was stable and the future was predictable for the most part.

person walking holding brown leather bag

Unfortunately, that assurance disappeared around the 20th century. Hence, you can study really hard in school and graduate with a mountain of bills and little pipeline opportunities. All around the world, there has been an increasing decline in middle-wage occupations. This decline has been attributed, in part, to the advent of computerization and the spread of automation. One WEF study suggests that five million jobs will be lost to AI by 2020.

In light of this, a majority of 12 million Africans entering the job market every year are left with no option than to take up the plow in creating their own opportunities through self-employment.

Furthermore, being an entrepreneur has never been any easier than it is today with internet penetration.

Alas, the media celebration of global business icons like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, etc is a development which has fascinated many to go into entrepreneurship. Startup founders are now seen as pioneers with a high level of respect in society – a figure that has risen steadily over the past decade or more. For many, entrepreneurship is a fast lane for making money and becoming famous.

Unfortunately, a year and a half into the journey, reality sets in and all of sudden, you discover that entrepreneurship is nothing close to the filtered pictures on social media or TV commercials.

No one tells you about the sleepless nights of backbreaking work in finding product-market-fit nor the ungodly amount of pressure startup founders go through daily in turning their ideas into a product or service. The filtered media reports often miss the days when it seems like someone has a hammer at both sides of your head…the days when you have to go through the threshing floor.

Everyone wants to be Zuck but in reality, only one in five businesses in Africa achieve scale in five years. According to a Venture Capital for Africa research, the road to startup funding in Africa is a long one, and 9 out of 10 ventures never make it. The worst-case scenario, which we’re already seeing, is an increased rate in the suicide rate in the entrepreneurship space.

It is not my intention to paint a pessimistic view of entrepreneurship or to stop you from pursuing your ambition. On the contrary, my goal is to help you understand that, in practice, entrepreneurship is a long, arduous journey that requires stamina, education, and community support.

Not many people will read this article to this point. Making it this far means only one thing: you’re the one I wrote this piece for. To help you turn the impossible dream of creating your empire into an improbable, or perhaps inevitable concept, I have a few recommendations that might help you put in the pieces to weather the storm.

Image result for the-creative-exchange-660215-unsplash

There’s no denying the fact that at any age or social status, entrepreneurship is a very risky business. It’s a world filled with risk, uncertainty, and chaos. Therefore, the day you decide to open up shop is the day you have to assume it’s now you and you alone. If you are expecting someone to do it for you, then perhaps, you should consider doing something else. Why? Even the people who could help you may choose to ignore you. You’re now the last man on the line so it’s up to you to put the puzzles of this journey together.

Again, nothing is given, everything must be earned.

It’s not enough to just do it. You need a certain kind of mindset and skills for this craft. At the early stages of my journey, I often thought that people will understand that I’m young and new in the process and so they’d “take it easy” with me. Come to find out, when you’re green, they’d screw you the hardest. They’d take advantage of your naivety and youth.

Hence, I strongly recommend that you avoid the overwhelming temptation to just do it and create some level of management, process, and discipline around your work. Because quite frankly, if you don’t, you will burn out. You will lose focus.

And so, I implore you to reverse engineer your thinking and figure out whether you need to find/keep your day job or join an already existing team. If you are just romantic about entrepreneurship and being your own boss, your hindsight could be your biggest obstacle. Without structure or skills, it’ll be difficult to create quality deliverables for your clients.

In his book, Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to A Successful Startup, Bill Aulet stated that the single necessary and sufficient condition for a business is a paying customer. Therefore, if you’re building a business, you must ensure that you’re making money.

But to make money, firstly, you have to solve a problem people actually have and are willing to pay for. As Eric Ries stressed in his book, The Lean Startup, you need to see the problem from the eyes of your target market. The market always wins; no matter how fancy your technology or service looks, if it does not solve an actual problem, people won’t care about it.

Also, if you have to offer your delivery at no cost, ensure you’re getting useful data in return or find a way to pass the cost onto someone else. Whether your business is a charity or for-profit, have sustainability at the back of your mind from day one.

Furthermore, understand that even though you created a super important solution to a problem, the cynical majority will not pay attention. People will only care when you give them a reason to care. And so, you must get over your inhibition and promote yourself and your work like it’s your last job. If there’s any insight you’d ever get from this article; if there’s any lesson I’ve ever learned in my entrepreneurial journey, it is the fact that you are the PR girl or boy of your brand. No one will tell your story better than you will. Understand marketing and master it. In the words of Benjamin P Hardy, marketing is nothing more than applied psychology. It’s about connecting with people, persuading them, and helping them.

Image result for the-creative-exchange-660215-unsplash

Finally, seek support. Even the best entrepreneurs had help along the way, so, don’t isolate yourself in your little corner. Reach out for help when you feel overwhelmed. In this day of social media and digital technology, everybody looks like a lion on the surface. Most people look like they have everything figured out but when you peel off the surface, you realize it’s just a bunch of facade for most people.

Entrepreneurs are often reluctant to ask for support and for the most part, due to ego and low self-esteem. No one is good at everything. If you don’t ask for help in dealing with the social stress and challenges of the digital world, you will get into deep trouble.

Being vulnerable is often a sign of great strength. This is a marathon and not a sprint, and anyone that hope to win a marathon must be open to all the help along the way.

Build a team, join a community, get a mentor, have a life outside your business, set time aside to refill and recharge. Above all, surround yourself with positivity and move from competition to collaboration.

In conclusion, if you want to be an entrepreneur, I implore you to deploy a serious self-awareness in understanding the level of energy and skills you bring to the journey. The truth is that the only level playground there is in this journey is your work ethics and resourcefulness. Consequently, before you talk about your big ideas, first, make up your mind to out-work, out-last, and out-improve your peers. Because, if you don’t have a parent or family connection that gives you access to money and privileges, that’s probably the only guarantee of survival in the lane. And when you have put in the work, be patient and trust the journey. There’d be times when it’ll look like nothing is working. There’d be days it’ll seem like everyone else is moving faster than you. More than ever, this is when you need to be calm and stay focused. What you’re building is important, it’s precious, so be patient and do it well.

Entrepreneurship is a great adventure, it is exciting, and the reward is the ability to live on your own terms. If you have a dream of a change you want to make in this world, if there’s something you want that’s worth sacrificing everything else for, this is the best time to make it happen! Become an entrepreneur with a difference!


About the Author

Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Need help building your empire? Reach out to us to request a meeting with one of our coaches via info(at)sfanonline.org. To get our bi-weekly email of inspiration, career and business insights. Subscribe here.

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The semi-finalists have been chosen!

SFAN (Stars From All Nations), with support from MEST Africa, 3rdfloor Digital, Workshed Africa, Venture Capital for Africa and Echo VC Partners, launched the Young Money Business Pitch to help enterprising students in any accredited Ghanaian University get access to business development, marketing, and funding support.

After many submissions, ideas were whittled down and 10 semi-finalists were selected. It was a tough decision, with most of the entrepreneurs putting in great pitch, but we could only choose 10 for this stage!

Here are our top ten businesses:

  • Ama Serwaa Sarkodie-Mensah (University of Ghana, Law(LLB), Third-year)

Business:
Health Online is the premier pharmacy application in Ghana that aims to connect the end-user directly to the pharmacist in order to digitalize the selling and buying of medicine and foster stronger bonds and interactions among customers and pharmacists.

Problem solved:

Most Pharmacies are not mobile. Thus the customer in need of medicine has to find a way of covering the distance between himself and the pharmacies. Health Online is an intermediary service provider to connect the customer(s) to pharmacies to reduce the costs, time-consuming and cumbersome nature of client moving to a pharmacy to purchase drugs. 

Progress:

Health Online has developed the idea to an extent to cater for any issues that may arise. They have developers on board who are seeing to the development and availability of the app on android play store for initial users to get access to it. They have been in contact with pharmacies and also have conducted surveys.

  • Justin Uto-Dieu (Lancaster University, Final year)

Business:

Zuduo solves the success challenges faced by creatives and artists in different areas and gives organizations and companies a tool to find talented individuals to contact for artistic projects.

Problem Solved:

The platform aims to bridge the supply and demand gap with regard to upcoming artists and international success and acknowledgment.  

Progress:

A working android demo has been developed with basic social media functionality like posts and private messaging.

  • Maxwell Sam (University of Mines and Technology)

Business:

Bus Gem is a bus ticketing and bus seat reservation app. Easy, Simple and Really cool to use. Passengers book for a bus ticket at any time, anywhere and at their own comfort zone. Pay into a designated mobile money number and get a QR code to be verified with a QR scanner before boarding.

Problem Solved:

Mainly passengers need to visit bus terminals to purchase a ticket for a particular date. They, therefore, have to travel to the bus terminals on the day of departure to board and that just a waste of time and money. What the app tend to solve is to allow passengers to be able to make advance ticket purchases at their comfort zone and board on the day of departure.

Progress:

The app is currently ready and being used by students of the University of Mines and Technology. Students are able to book and reserve a seat with STC intercity buses.

  • Rodney Assan (Lancaster University Ghana, Law Year 2)

Business:

Uni-Connect is a web application that seeks to computerize the college/university application process to make it simpler. The intended audience for this web application will be students who wish to apply to any of the universities [in Ghana]. Secondary audiences will include both university and high school administrators who wish to upload relevant information pertaining to their institutions. 

Problem:

The primary objective is to create a suitable interface to help prospective students to research and apply to the universities of their choice in a simpler and shorter way. By eliminating the need to travel the long distance to submit envelopes enclosing application forms and essays and eliminating the need to have to make trips to the bank to make payments, this application centralizes the entire university application process to make it a less cumbersome one.

Progress:

Documentation of the web application has begun, and market research is underway.

  • Wisdom Foli (Institute Of Chartered Accountants Ghana, part two student)

Business:

NUFFE accounting and consultancy is a business which is established to carry out both accounting and consultancy services in Shai Osudoku and its environs in Ghana.

Problem solved:

Under the Shai Osudoku district, businesses don’t keep proper records of accounts, they lack qualified accountants to perform the accounting job hence they don’t comply with Tax laws in the country.

Progress:

The business has commenced operations with a team of three. 

  • Dziwornu Kofi Norbert (University For Development Studies, Integrated Development Studies)

Business:

Kofiexpress is a one-stop-shop online real estate platform where people can list properties for sale, rent, lease, have access to a wide range of services such as financial, legal, property development, improvement, management etc, an inbuilt online shop for products such as construction tools, materials etc, virtual technologies to help people build their dream properties virtually.

Problem:

Kofiexpress solves the stress people go through to have access to products and services in the real estate and construction industry. They also aim at solving the inconveniences people face outsourcing their investments and investments in the hands of third-party exploits. A one-stop shop where people can easily have access to the best and right products and services from trusted services providers.

Progress:

Kofiexpress is currently at the idea development stage. Our website is 90% complete. Business has also been registered. They also have some partners on board and are still working on getting more partners and service providers.

  • Baffour Adu Boampong (Knutsford University College, Computer Science, 3rd Year)

Business:

AppGharage seeks to engage students & fresh graduates in internship opportunities working on real-world Software engineering projects.

Problem Solved:

AppGharage seeks to address the increasing need for software engineers to pioneer the growth of technology whilst reducing youth unemployment.

Progress:

AppGharage began operation on 1st May, training and working on projects with 3 other students.

  • Nyame Michael (KNUST, Petroleum Engineering, level 300)

Business:

Hypacart is a multi-vendor e-commerce platform, where shops and service providers on and off KNUST campus can come under one umbrella and be connected directly to their consumers (students). 

Problem:

The cost and stress of getting access to shops and services on campus and the high cost of items on campus as well as the stress of going to the market to buy foodstuff to cook during the weekend. Shops and event advertisers won’t have to go through the stress of selling tickets or posting fliers around campus.

Progress:

They have organized a survey on the needs and views of students concerning this project, which has proved very fruitful. The business website is still under construction and is about 50% complete. They are currently recruiting suppliers that will render their services or sell their products online. They have secured a partnership with Unilever Ghana (NAN Group), and in talks with Woodin, Topman Shoes, Watch and Dine, Avros and other business firms. They have also partnered with other shoes and electronics suppliers on and off KNUST campus.

  • Eric Vondee (University of Cape Coast, B.Sc. Actuarial Science, Level 400)

Business:

My Home Teacher is a business organization that connects teachers to parents who need private tuition for their wards at home.

Problem solved:

For a high-quality education in Africa and the world at large, there must be a one-to-one learning environment for students that are weak in their academics. My Home Teacher provides parents the opportunity to give their wards a one-on-one teacher-student experience in the comfort of their homes.

Progress:

My Home Teacher is in the sales stage. My Home Teacher is making an impact in the lives of 50 students socially. Students are being trained not only in their academics but also trained on how to be entrepreneurial.

  • Kwabena Baffour Awuah (Kumasi Technical University, Pharmacy Technician, Level 300)

Business:

High Schools Society is a startup company with a virtual community of students and a digital and student networking service based in Accra, Ghana. The aim of High Schools Society is to create a huge brand for quality educational networking and innovations through the establishment of a student community through which high school students can interact with each other on all areas of student life. 

Problem solved:

The goal of High Schools Society is to establish a virtual community of young boys and girls, mostly between the ages of 7 and 19 for community service, career orientation, personal development, and networking.

Progress:

Currently, High Schools Society runs advertising services, writing services and social media management and marketing services to institutions and persons through our digital platforms.


What happens next?

The above businesses will be listed on SFAN Facebook Page for a public voting starting tomorrow, Monday, June 25 and end on Saturday, June 30.

Top five voted business ideas shall proceed to the final stage to pitch before an expert panel of judges at SFAN Business Breakfast Meeting on July 28. Three Young Money Business Pitch winners will stand a chance of getting equity funding, an opportunity to join MEST Africa incubator, as well as up to $3k worth of business development and market opportunity support (Ts&Cs Apply).


To find more information on the selection criteria, click here.

Join thought leaders at the Student Entrepreneurship Week at British Council and Kempinski Hotel. You can get tickets at the event website.


Special thanks to our judges: Tobi Lafinhan from MEST, Sterre Nomazwe Mkatini from EWB, Andrew Bimpong from Workshed, Amma Aboagye from USAID.

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By: Carl Manlan, COO, Ecobank Foundation

Agriculture is the future of work in Africa. This may seem counter-intuitive, and, to be sure, technology will play a critical role to ensure that 12 million Africans entering the job market every year find their fulfillment along national, regional, continental and global value chains. Established technology start-ups like Alibaba, Airbnb, Amazon, and Youtube created platforms to capture economic value. Those riding the wave of these startups in Africa are disconnected from where the value lies on our continent: agriculture. 

Agriculture was the foundation that sprung into manufacturing then industrialization in North America, Europe, and Asia. That was the path taken to transform economies. In Africa, we started along that trajectory and then we got caught into development that held the promise that Africa would catch up. We did not. In the process, agriculture lost its importance. In Ghana, the average cocoa farmer is 55 years old, yet many young people are unemployed. That disconnect between the opportunities for an apprenticeship in agriculture is an example of the issue we must address. Click To TweetWhile agriculture might be perceived as a dead-end career for youth, the sector employs 60 percent of the labor force in Ghana and sustains 66 percent of the livelihoods of the population. 

Diversification along agriculture’s value chains through a host of start-ups could allow us to leapfrog through adequate storage, use of renewable energy and greater access to markets. Songhaï in Benin, Kailend in Togo, and Kheyti in India hold some of the answers that we ought to have. While farmers would not make the current Forbes 30 Under 30 lists, they could become a central part of what youth focuses on if employment and stronger ecosystems are what some tech entrepreneurs are trying to build. Without that ecosystem, most of the celebrated entrepreneurs would not have flourished because the means of production, savings and disposable income would not have been available.   

For example, the increase in bandwidth created an opportunity for Youtube to become a platform for access to content. The existence of a reliable payment system combined with a reliable property market and identification systems gave Airbnb a platform. Most importantly, Airbnb came at the height of the recession when individuals were seeking to either save on accommodation or earn cash. Alibaba and Amazon, search engines with warehouses, connecting willing and able market players. All these companies, at various stages, can capture economic value at a price that people are willing and able to pay. 

Most start-ups that are household names today took advantage of an important, but often overlooked factor; timing. It is estimated that timing accounts for 42 percent of success and failure for start-ups. But they benefited from strong agriculture, manufacturing, industrial complexes that created a generation that could accumulate wealth. We are yet to create that generation in Africa, partly because agriculture does not entice youth for the creativity to transform it. But my generation needs to make agriculture great again. To succeed, we need appropriate farm infrastructure to support large-scale farming and post-harvest activities. We also need secondary value addition and processing for small-scale operators in view of plugging into local to global value chains.

As such, one can start any menial job as a stepping stone to where one wants to be. To have limited our range of possibilities to urban tech entrepreneurship while agriculture still employs the largest share of Africans is a structural change that we ought to address. Tech start-ups need a customer base with disposable incomes beyond urban centers. A strong agricultural rural base is the foundation of economic transformation. Click To Tweet Without that foundation, we are repeating similar mistakes that gave prominence to development aid for our countries and external sources of funding for African start-ups. 

The real innovation, one that transforms community life, will come from mastering agricultural value chains for smallholder farmers. Increasing productivity and income in Africa starts with smallholder farmers. They represent 70 percent of the population. They produce 80 percent of the food consumed in Africa and are at the forefront of strategies for agricultural transformation. As such, AgroCenta, in Ghana, provides smallholder farmers with a route to market via digital platforms. In addition, its integrated solution offers logistics and transportation. It is an indication of what start-ups could do to direct resources towards strengthening the foundation. It is our moment to transform for good. Pooling our own resources to raise patient capital is the starting point for our agricultural ventures. Start-ups need to understand people and systems so that their innovation solved a real African problem. The Forbes 30 Under 30 list needs a new category: Agriculture. Corporate Africa, in the absence of direct funding, has a range of skills and capabilities that can complement the absence of funds. 

Africa has a plan. But it continues to be punched in the face by unemployment. Start-ups without deeper roots in agriculture will not take us to where we want to go. Our destination is wealth for all. Our best vehicle is agriculture. Tried and tested by others, it is time we make agriculture the start-up that matters.  


Image result for carl manlan

About the Author

Carl Manlan is the Chief Operating Officer of The Ecobank Foundation. He is an economist with over ten years of experience in health, finance and project implementation. Carl worked with the Economic Commission for Africa as a Mo Ibrahim Fellow and with the African Union and New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) on a private sector initiative to assist the African Union to fight Ebola in West Africa. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Join Carl and other thought leaders at the Student Entrepreneurship Week at British Council and Kempinski Hotel. You can get tickets at the event website.

Image Credits: Carl Manlan, Mink Mingle

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By: Joseph-Albert Kuuire, Creator, and Editor of TechNovaGh

Stars From All Nations (SFAN) is hosting their Student Entrepreneurship Week at British Council and Kempinski Hotel on the 26th to 28th of July, 2018.

Tech Nova is doing a series of interviews with some speakers coming to the event. Our first interview featured Samuel Mensah, Senior Designer at McKinsey Digital, and the subsequent one featured Gina Kloes,  an Award Winning Author, Game Changer, Leadership Expert, & Peak Performance Strategist.

Our third interview features the international speaker, Damilola Thompson.

Background

Damilola Thompson

Damilola Thompson is Corporate Counsel of EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund. Before this, she worked for a top-tier law firm in Lagos, Nigeria for over 3 years, with core competencies in Corporate, Venture Capital and Private Equity transactions. During this period, she drove seed/early-stage financing transactions for startups and represented African and international investors.

Ms. Thompson is passionate about startups and venture financing and providing early-stage companies with much-needed mentorship required for scaling. She has a graduate degree from the University of Lagos and has completed various post-graduate courses including the Kauffman Fellows Academy’s course on venture capital. She is a member of the Nigeria Bar Association, an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom and a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria.

Interview

Tech Nova(TN)It would appear that a number of students coming out of universities are opting to be more entrepreneurial by starting their own businesses rather than opt for the 9 – 5 desk job. Why do you think that is?

Damilola Thompson: I think there is general interest by young people to be different and stand out, and quite a number of success stories that inspire youths to be the best they can be. In most cases, a major part of their thinking about entrepreneurship is misguided and flawed, in that some believe success should be immediate and easily achievable, and when that does not happen, they get discouraged or lose hope. But those who stay in there, slugging it out and constantly reiterating their businesses, emerge as winners.

WAEC has become to a hit or miss target for students so much that it has become a routine to gain admission to a higher institution. A number of the educational institutions do not educate students around solutions that solve our everyday challenges neither is the education sufficiently practicable that it can be implemented into our daily lives


Tech Nova (TN)Some would say that young people are just seeing entrepreneurship as a way of just making money instead of actually trying to solve problems in their environment. Do you agree/disagree with that statement and why

Damilola Thompson: As I earlier mentioned, I think it may be a mix of both. For example, some youths want to be entrepreneurs because they see how wealthy Kwadwo Kantanka is and therefore aspire to be as wealthy, while some are really looking to solve societal challenges and are looking for ways to make things better. While I do not see anything wrong with being an entrepreneur and having a mindset to make money, that should not be the only driving force, because when things run aground and the business seems challenging, and it will, such people will fall by the way.


TN: The current education system in Ghana does not appear to be teaching students how to sell or be marketable. The system is still stuck on the “Chew and Pour” concept where students memorize just to pass exams. If you could, what would you add to their current curriculum to make students more competitive when they come out of school?

DT: This is not just a problem in Ghana, it is also the same in Nigeria and most West African countries. WAEC has become a hit or miss target for students so much that it has become a routine to gain admission to a higher institution. A number of the educational institutions do not educate students around solutions that solve our everyday challenges neither is the education sufficiently practicable that it can be implemented into our daily lives. For practical steps in reforming our education system, I would suggest institutions focus and teach the latest Information Technology education from primary school up to the first year of College/university and then make it optional for all other years, inculcate vocational skills training into the curriculum, promote sportsmanship by encouraging communal efforts in tackling societal issues.


TNWhere do you see Ghana in the next 5 years in terms of entrepreneurship? Will we be seeing more successful startups being funded? Will schools and universities be more open to starting entrepreneurship courses? What are your thoughts on the matter?

DT: I believe the wave of entrepreneurship will see more entrepreneurs solving actual and real problems, and with that comes exposure, press, and funding because good businesses attract funders and the right talent. This will, therefore, drive institutions to see entrepreneurship as a course that needs to be taught and practiced, in order to remain unique and differentiate themselves from other institutions. Institutions who are not teaching this course will seem outdated and out of touch with reality, and eventually may lose relevance.


TN: What are you hoping that the Student Entrepreneurship week event hosted by Stars From All Nations (SFAN) will achieve?

DT: I certainly hope that as many more organizations like SFAN engage youths to develop their entrepreneurial skills and create awareness about the possibilities of entrepreneurship, there will be a proliferation of innovation and development of a solution-driven society, which is required for Africa to thrive.


Come and meet investors at the Student Entrepreneurship Week at British Council and Kempinski Hotel. You can get tickets at the event website.

This article is part of SFAN x Tech Nova Collaboration towards Student Entrepreneurship Week Ghana and was first published on TechNova.

Stars From All Nations (SFAN) is hosting their Student Entrepreneurship Week at British Council and Kempinski Hotel on the 26th to 28th of July, 2018.

There will be a wide array of speakers at the event from Ghana, Nigeria, the U.K and Silicon Valley.

Tech Nova is doing a series of interviews with some attendees coming to the event. Our first interview featured Samuel Mensah, an Experience Designer at McKinsey.

Our second interview features international speaker and high-performance strategist, Gina Kloes.

Background

Gina Kloes is an Award Winning Author, Game Changer, Leadership Expert, & Peak Performance Strategist. She ignites the entrepreneurial spirit, unleashes passion and accelerates success for entrepreneurs, executives, and teams around the globe.

As an international thought leader, Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship Mentor, Tony Robbins Trainer & Deepak Chopra Vedic Master Educator, Gina is a catalyst for exponential leadership, massive joy and creating lives and business enterprises we are proud to pass on to future generations.

You can find out more about Gina at:  https://wwginakloes.com

Interview

Tech Nova(TN)It would appear that the number of students coming out of universities are opting to be more entrepreneurial by starting their own businesses rather than opt for the 9 – 5 desk job. Why do you think that is?

Gina Kloes (GK): There are so many paths after college. As children, we are asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Why choose only one thing?

One statistic found that people will have at least seven careers in their lifetime.  Another research study shows that people change jobs on average 15 times in their life.  It seems there is not just one set direction for anyone.

Most of us are unaware that we can change our imprints and change the internal maps that lead our lives.  We often believe, “this is just my life, the way it is.” That is far from the truth.

Whether you become an entrepreneur or choose a 9-5 job is a very personal choice.  There are different skill sets attached to each.

While becoming an “entrepreneur” can sound glamorous, it requires grit, a mindset that will move you forward when the odds and others say you can’t do it.  You need passion, determination, and the desire and ability to get out of your comfort zone. You need to be able to fail and fail and fail again until you succeed. The “entrepreneur” path is awesome for people who are self-starters with a vision and a mission to get it done. Is this your path?

Instead, you might enjoy being part of a bigger organization where your talents can shine and where you can have more structure and predictability.  There are success stories in a 9-5 job also.

Know that you can choose one path today and it will most likely change in the future.  The key is to get started out of college and learn about your own strengths and weaknesses.  Some graduates freeze and can’t decide, thinking it is their one and only choice in life.  In fact, it will be one of many choices!

Just choose a path, learn from it and take charge of your own life journey.


Tech Nova (TN)Some would say that young people are just seeing entrepreneurship as a way of just making money instead of actually trying to solve problems in their environment. Do you agree/disagree with that statement and why?

Gina Kloes (GK): I believe that people can both make money and solve world challenges including the problems in our environment.  I don’t believe that you have to choose one or the other.

Many of us are taught that to be happy we have to do more, be more and have more which can lead people to focus more on the money.  Young people might believe that the more money they make, the more successful they will be.  While this may be true, success in life does not always lead to fulfillment.  There are many people with lots of money that are unhappy.

Success in life is 80% mindset and psychology and only 20% skills.

What I have learned working with thousands of executives and millennial entrepreneurs is that beyond financial success, people crave meaning in their life. Often this meaning and true fulfillment come from doing things (a business or otherwise) that serve something beyond yourself, whether its the environment or other humanitarian efforts.  The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals define ways to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. I believe that the entrepreneurs that can integrate these higher goals into their businesses will be the ones that are both successful and fulfilled.

Check out the U.N. Goal below: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/


TN: The current education system in Ghana does not appear to be teaching students how to sell or be marketable. The system is still stuck on the “Chew and Pour” concept where students memorize just to pass exams. If you could, what would you add to their current curriculum to make students more competitive when they come out of school?

GK: I think this is not just a challenge for Ghana, it’s a challenge in many educational systems worldwide. Success in life is 80% mindset and psychology and only 20% skills.

The key to marketing and sales is learning to build rapport, make meaningful connections, and effectively communicate with your audience.  These skills can be learned, whether it’s for in-person meetings or connecting through technology.

Ghana itself has been welcoming to the startup ecosystem.  With the creation of the Accra Digital Centre, the government is showing its desire to support an ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship.  Accelerators and Incubators like MEST are also supporting the growth of entrepreneurship.

You may be an exceptional person or have an extraordinary business idea but if you can’t convey that message in a way that is impactful, you won’t have a chance at succeeding.

Gina Kloes. Image Credit: ginakloes.com

Additionally, it is crucial that students understand their own mindset and how their own beliefs and thinking to shape their lives.  From the time we are born throughout our entire life, every word we say or hear, every thought we have, every experience in our life leave an imprint in our mind and our body that will determine whether we are a success or a failure in life. Those imprints create a map that guides our life.

Most of us are unaware that we can change our imprints and change the internal maps that lead our lives.  We often believe, “this is just my life, the way it is.”  That is far from the truth.

By learning some simple skills, students can immediately shift their mindset starting right now! Check out two of my videos below that show the impact of learning the power of your mind while unleashing the energy in your body:

*Gina Kloes: Game Changer Leadership Event for future leaders in Johannesburg:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbqwcWHnQ8Y

*Gina Kloes: Say Yes! Gina Inspires her Audience

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCyrcm5aWH8


TNWhere do you see Ghana in the next 5 years in terms of entrepreneurship? Will we be seeing more successful startups being funded? Will schools and universities be more open to starting entrepreneurship courses? What are your thoughts on the matter?

GK: As technological advances continue to integrate our world, geographical boundaries are falling away.  Countries that were once more challenging to reach are just a click away.  Entrepreneurs and startups are more easily able to connect to funding sources.

Most of us are unaware that we can change our imprints and change the internal maps that lead our lives.  We often believe, “this is just my life, the way it is.” That is far from the truth.

While angel investors and venture capital were the dreams of many in the past, there are so many more options for fundraising.  Crowdfunding and ICOS can be great options for people.  Government authorities are still deciding how to best regulate ICOs and it remains to be seen how this will shake out. There are a whole host of angel networks looking for great deals also.

Image Credit: ginakloes.com

Sovereign wealth funds, including those in Ghana, also provide more options for startups.

Last year, venture capital funding in the continent of Africa topped $560 million, up 53% year on year.  While each of the 54 countries in Africa is unique, funding overall is increasing as a trend.

Ghana itself has been welcoming to the startup ecosystem.  With the creation of the Accra Digital Centre, the government is showing its desire to support an ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship.  Accelerators and Incubators like MEST are also supporting the growth of entrepreneurship.

Accra Digital Center

While other countries in Africa might have a more established startup ecosystem, Ghana is making its mark as a more integrated ecosystem for startups beyond those in Accra.

As demand for talent increases, schools will need to begin to train the next generation of students to meet these needs.  There are more and more schools and universities worldwide focusing on entrepreneurship. There are also more and more specialty programs on entrepreneurship all around the world.  I am one of the key educators at the Draper University of Heroes, founded by Tim Draper, a Silicon Valley Venture Capital Icon.  Every year we are hosting more and more entrepreneurs from all around the world who come to our 5-week program to become immersed in entrepreneurship and what is possible.  Startup entrepreneurs with the right mindset, dream, and passion can really achieve anything!


TN: Evidence from nine Sub-Saharan countries shows that youth generally have positive entrepreneurial attitudes and perceptions. How can young entrepreneurs unlock their potentials for greatness?

GK: Greatness is a decision. As I said earlier, success is 80% mindset and only 20% strategy, yet when someone wants to be “great” at something they often focus on the strategy first.

Here are some very quick tips for unlocking greatness:

  1. Understand what drives you. At the SFAN Student Entrepreneurship Week, we will explore the themes of your life and how they impact every decision you make.  What drives you every day?  When you understand what has motivated you or not motivated you in the past, you can begin to create new motivations to get where you want to be.
  2. Have a mission beyond yourself. If all you focus on every day is yourself, you will be alone on the island. Doing something beyond yourself and for the greater good creates a deeper sense of fulfillment and purpose.  People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them and a greater vision.
  3. Know that Leaders Go First. Unlocking greatness often requires that you go 1st in any challenge. Go first in life.  Be the leader, not the follower. Take risks.
  4. Fail and fail and fail again until you succeed. This is part of the Hero Oath at Silicon Valley’s Draper University for Heroes where exceptional entrepreneurs are born. You have to be willing to fail so that you can get the lesson to succeed. One of Facebook’s original mottos was: Move Fast and Break Things. Facebook knew that you will learn if you are willing to fail and break things!
  5. Create Success Habits. Small things done consistently create major impact.  Successful habits imprint in our brain and inspire others to do the same.
  6. Commit to Constant Learning. Our world is changing at an exponential speed. We must create space in our day to continue to learn and grow.

TN: What are you hoping that the Student Entrepreneurship week event hosted by Stars From All Nations (SFAN) will achieve?

GK: My vision for this week is that the participants leave with a #SayYES attitude for success and fulfillment in life.  I know they will have a week full of surprises, wisdom, and breakthroughs.  They will leave this week with tools to unlock the power of their mind, unleash the passion in their heart and breakthrough to the extraordinary success that is truly possible in life!


Come and learn from thought leaders at the Student Entrepreneurship Week at British Council and Kempinski Hotel. You can get tickets at the event website.

This article is part of SFAN x Tech Nova Collaboration towards Student Entrepreneurship Week Ghana and was first published on Tech Nova.

By Joseph-Albert Kuuire, Creator, and Editor of TechNovaGh

Stars From All Nations (SFAN) is hosting their Student Entrepreneurship Week at British Council and Kempinski Hotel from 26th to 28th of July.

There will be a wide array of speakers at the event including Afua Osei (She Leads Africa), Kevin Nyame (MeQasa) and Ethel Cofie (Edel Consulting).

In preparation for the upcoming event, Tech Nova will be interviewing some of the speakers from the event and asking them a couple of questions in relation to entrepreneurship.

The first interviewee is Samuel Mensah.

Background

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Samuel Mensah is a London based Creative, whose experience spans various design and creative disciplines. From Branding/Identity, UI/UX Design, Digital Marketing, Conception and Design, Production, Visual Design & Art Direction.

Samuel has created and been credited with crafting Award-Winning Campaigns and artistic treatments globally for clients such as Nike, Google, MTV, Virgin, BBC, H&M & Barclays. His self-initiated work has also been featured on prestigious platforms and magazines such as Creative Review, Adobe.com, Abduzeedo, & DesignYouTrust to name a few.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Graphic & Media Design for Advertising from University of Arts London. He maintains a process of creating Self-Initiated works and collaborating with established studios and creatives under the personal outfit/brand SMBStudios. His ethos is focused on exploring new ways of creating branding innovation and visual storytelling for various industries. Mensah is a D&AD New Blood Ambassador working closely with the foundation to mentor next generation of creatives into finding their path and hone their creative skills.

Mensah is also the Founder and creative director of creative organization and platform, Youth Worldwide.

Interview

Tech Nova: It would appear that the number of students coming out of universities are opting to be more entrepreneurial by starting their own businesses rather than opt for the 9 –5 desk job. Why do you think that is?

Samuel Mensah: That’s an extremely good observation, I believe our young people are realising we are in a day and age where the entrepreneur is celebrated more than ever and that traditional working lives/careers are a thing of the past for those of us that have watched previous generations work for decades and still struggle to make ends meet.

Tech Nova: Some would say that young people are just seeing entrepreneurship as a way of just making money instead of actually trying to solve problems in their environment. Do you agree/disagree with that statement and why?

Samuel Mensah: I totally agree with the notion that there are two camps of thinking thought for sure. However I do feel like the best and in fact, most successful entrepreneurs amongst us are the ones that solve actual problems. I would rather belong to that crowd that aims to deliver a much-needed service or product and think of financial gains simply as a by-product of the value of an extremely useful idea.

TN: The current education system in Ghana does not appear to be teaching students how to sell or be marketable. The system is still stuck on the “Chew and Pour” concept where students memorize just to pass exams. If you could, what would you add to their current curriculum to make students more competitive when they come out of school?

SM: There must be more elements of creativity and creative problem-solving in the curriculum. Ghana is in a unique state with abundant resource and willing candidates that have potential to be great but aren’t nurtured correctly. The WEF says that by 2020 the most desirable skills in the workforce will be creativity, complex problem solving & critical thinking. The tide is turning and the world is changing. Its imperative that we keep up and grow with it, and put to bed the old ways of stagnation and opposition.

TN: Where do you see Ghana in the next 5 years in terms of entrepreneurship? Will we be seeing more successful startups being funded? Will schools and universities be more open to starting entrepreneurship courses? What are your thoughts on the matter

SM: In five years time, I simply hope for the youth of Ghana to be mobilized like never before. Where the establishment of govt is supporting wholeheartedly in their potential. So yes this does mean more funding, more courses, more accelerators and an overall steer by govt to invest all major resources in the Youth and their future.

TN: What are you hoping that the Student Entrepreneurship week event hosted by Stars From All Nations (SFAN) will achieve?

SM: I’m hoping it will add it’s very own unique perspective to the overall conversation of startup culture in Africa and its potential. I hope it will leave me believing that the future is indeed brighter than ever and that the abundant innovative ideas and projects that will be witnessed are just the beginning.


A peek at some of Sam’s works:

Designs for MTV headquarters
Designs for MTV headquarters

YWW exhibition
Youth WorldWide Exhibition

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 3.16.57 PM
Nike’s Athlete kit for Basketball giant Kevin Durant.

ArtePhrases-(2)-copy_almostmodern
From Echelon rollout – September 2012

Mona_Spears

Come and network at the Student Entrepreneurship Week at British Council and Kempinski Hotel. You can get tickets at the event website.

This article is part of SFAN x Tech Nova Collaboration towards Student Entrepreneurship Week Ghana and was first published on TechNova.


 

SFAN is pleased to unveil the line-up of speakers for Student Entrepreneurship Week Ghana taking place from 26 – 28 July 2018.

Participants will benefit from a range of insightful high-level keynote sessions, panel sessions, masterclasses, office hours, and one-on-one mentoring sessions presented by the best and brightest entrepreneurs and professionals from Ghana, Nigeria, Silicon Valley and the U.K.

This essential three-day event aims to create a platform for thought leadership on how enterprising young Ghanaians can build and grow sustainable businesses.

The first two days of #SEWGH is a confluence of education and entertainment and will be held at British Council Accra, with the world-renowned trainer and high-performance coach, Gina Kloes leading her transformative Game Changer Moment in the afternoon session of the first day!

The event will culminate in SFAN Business Breakfast Meeting – The Graduation at Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel on Saturday, 28th July. As part of the breakfast meeting, SFAN will provide a platform for student entrepreneurs with scalable businesses/business ideas to compete in the Young Money Business Pitch leading to investment opportunities, business support, and market opportunity.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Professor Jarvis Anthony, Provost, Lancaster University
  • Gina Kloes, Game Changer, Leadership Expert & Peak Performance Strategist
  • Abdullahi Muhammed, Forbes Contributor & CEO, Oxygemat
  • Afua Osei, Co-Founder, She Leads Africa
  • Liz Grossman, Co-Founder, Baobab Consulting
  • Josephine Faal, Founder, Smart & Savvy Women Ltd
  • Sam Carter-Mensah, Senior Experience Designer, Digital Mckinsey
  • Andy Mensah, Human Resource Partner, ‎IBM Ghana Limited
  • Eric Osiakwan, Managing Partner, Chanzo Capital
  • Damilola Thompson, Corporate Counsel, EchoVC Partners
  • Leticia Browne, Director, Intelligent Capital Group
  • Bertha Logan-Owusu, Founder, Lumiere Couture
  • Kevin Nyame, Co-Founder, Meqasa
  • Dela A. Kumahor, Independent Consultant
  • William Senyo, Co-Founder/CEO, Impact Hub Accra
  • Timothy Kotin, Co-Founder, Superfluid Labs
  • Raindolf Owusu, Co-Founder, Oasis Websolft
  • Ethel Cofie, Founder, Edel Technology Consulting
  • Edem Kumodzi, Senior Software Engineer, Andela
  • Sydney Sam, Founder, Workspace Global
  • Lakeshia Marie, Founder, Ford Communications

More exciting speakers and guests will be added soon… Click here for more information about the Agenda and Confirmed Speakers.

The theme of this year’s Student Entrepreneurship Week Ghana is “Unleashing Possibilities.

This is not your conventional entrepreneurship event, this is an alternative education forum! Don’t delay – register today and get up to 40% discount on early bird ticket. Limited spaces available.

Group discounts also available, click here to purchase tickets now!

For more information or to secure a booth space, kindly get in touch with us by email at info@sfanonline.org.

With thanks to our event sponsors & partners…

 

This is not your conventional entrepreneurship event, this is an alternative education forum!

The future of Africa lies in the hands of entrepreneurs. However, it is estimated that 90% of all startups fail within 3 years. Student Entrepreneurship Week Ghana is a power packed event that will bring renowned entrepreneurs together for thought leadership on how to build and grow sustainable businesses, and celebrate the work of young enterprising minds.

The project is the first of its kind in Ghana and will create a platform for formidable partnerships while being a great learning experience. The goal of #SEWGH is to provide a perfect platform for networking, learning, new businesses, and funding.

SFAN has a unique approach, in-depth understanding and experience in delivering high quality events that have caught the attention of prominent figures. Over the last three years, we have worked with thought leading brands – both in and outside Ghana – and our partners have had the best things to say about our work ethics and excellent delivery. It’s not to brag but we’re very good at what we do. — Tom-Chris Emewulu, Founder & President, SFAN


For more information or sponsorship, please get in touch with us by email; info@sfanonline.org or call us on +233 545 93 5695.

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