Entrepreneurship has been with me right from my childhood when I used to sell for my mother. I will go to people’s houses in the village after school selling soap (Alata samina - a local soap) and the feeling I get especially when I’m able to sell everything was something else to describe it. Little did I know it was preparing me for the future when I did not even know what I was doing. And at the university I was still selling and that’s where I started Urban Living Collections with just GHC40 I had then which has now expanded to ANA Business Services. I am also passionate about making impact in the society especially looking at where I come from and where I’m going I always wanted to take others along and let them believe it’s possible irrespective of their background which led to the foundation of YPI-Ghana. I’m a passionate social entrepreneur and I currently run an NGO called Young People’s Initiative Ghana (YPI-GHANA) which was just nominated for Best Philanthropy & Non Profit category under the 40under40 awards. I started it when I was at the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 2014, YPI-Ghana aims for rural community development and seeks to target children’s welfare especially girls in the rural areas. We educate, mentor and coach them in all aspect of life. YPI-Ghana has a great team and together we embarked on autism awareness campaign, built the first toilet facility for Akyem Bomso R/C primary school, organized educational seminars. Currently we are working on Anti-teenage pregnancy campaign and back to school project and also ‘’NO SEX FOR PAD’’ campaign where the teenage girls are given sanitary pads every three months to save them from having sex with men for sanitary pad which they end up getting pregnant due to poverty. Also we have signed on teenage mothers ready to go back to school or learn a trade to begin their lives all over again. The dream is to make life better for them and not use where they come from as an excuse to achieve greatness In life so they also grow to help in the development of their community and country as a whole hence our motto ‘’ASPIRE TO INSPIRE’’. I also run ANA Business services which is a sales and marketing company.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdle was getting people to believe in what I have started in order to support. The truth is that there was no money to start but we began anyway with the hope of getting help someday. We had no money with us and we needed people support but they had this intentions that others did it and misused the money so what shows you will be different. But because of our integrity now whenever we call on people for support they show up. Integrity is key to us in YPI-Ghana and because of that we are where we are today.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Not at all. My family has been very supportive and have been there for me since. Initially I thought it was going to be difficult especially with my dad but he has been so supportive and I could count on him anytime. My family’s constant prayers, motivation and encouragement keeps me going. The people around me knows how passionate when it comes to what I want to do.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Integrity. Integrity has opened so many doors for us and we have received support from people in Ghana and outside Ghana. This is because we use the money that comes in to do what is meant for and we do not take it for granted at all.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
That it takes a lot of work and there is so much involve than what we see. That behind the scene of entrepreneurship is crazy.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Nothing good comes easy. It takes discipline, hard work, determination, perseverance and consistency to get to the top. It does not just happen overnight. It involves a lot of sacrifices and remember there is always a price to pay for the prize which is all the things you sacrifice just to be who you are. Also know that no one understand your journey like you do. So believe in yourself and your journey and you will surely get there. You are not too young and too old to begin. Start now and take it one step at a time and no matter how difficult the journey becomes always remember why you started and never give up because for all you know you are just a step to your breakthrough. Remember if you do not do it for yourself no one will. And above all do not forget to aspire to inspire the next person beside you.