My name is Inna Patty, a Philanthropist, Social Entrepreneur and Chief Executive Officer of Exclusive Events Ghana Limited, the organizers of Miss Ghana Beauty Pageant (an Events, PR , Marketing and CSR consulting firm). I double up as the Founder of Miss Ghana Foundation. This latter dream was born with the sole purpose of ensuring the sustenance of the social intervention projects that the Miss Ghana contestants, the eventual Queen and her two runner ups embark upon during their reigns. I am an MSc graduate of the London School of Economics with Master’s Degree in Accounting & Finance and First Class Degree in Banking & Finance from the University of Ghana Business School. We keep hearing about the need to develop our society, my simple and earnest answer is that there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. My burning desire and passion is for the Miss Ghana Foundation to provide Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives for deprived communities/villages and rural Ghana as well as ensure the provision of assistance to the poor, needy and vulnerable in society. I do uphold the slogan of ”Beauty with Purpose”; which is the mantra for Miss World Beauty Pageant and Miss Ghana Brands. We have watched with admiration and inner satisfaction - the various women who have come before us changing the dynamics, reshaping the conversation, all in the bid to ensure a woman’s voice is heard and not heeded, not overlooked nor ignored. I am humbled and have diligently collaborated with the Don Bosco Vocational Training Institute in educating and rehabilitating underprivileged children. Secured educational scholarships for one hundred (100) students placed thirty (30) auto mechanics, ten (10) caterers in jobs and counting, upon successful completion of their training. We also helped acquire a ten (10) acre land as well as raised funds for the successful construction of ultra-modern Female Hostel. I am a hardworking Ghanaian woman who is very innovative, pragmatic and creative towards the development, training, coaching, mentoring and empowerment of young women across Ghana and beyond.
What are the biggest hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Complacency can be a major threat to a growing brand. Assuming that you will continue to be successful simply because you have been in so the past, is very unwise. You need to be fully committed to your business strategy, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone. This may involve hard decisions like eliminating negative approach from old or new stakeholders or clients. I had unsubstantiated allegations levelled against me post a hugely successful 60th anniversary celebration of Miss Ghana brand in December 2017. An event that was adjudged by showbiz and entertainment critics as one of the best-organized event under the year in review. It appears this passion I decided to pursue unfortunately seems to come with unimaginable vile and destructive criticism from different landscapes, aimed at destroying our hard earned reputations or brand. Nonetheless, with God’s help and an eagle eyes set on the goal re: the empowerment women –nothing can distract me. Yes, it really is a tough call.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
Nope, I have been blessed with an extremely supportive family and some friends who accepted my business also based on a through continued explanation of the business plan and my passion to achieve it. A solid business plan definitely helps. Maybe demonstrated by a through thought process, minimizing risks, amongst others have worked for me. Though seven (7) years down the line and with all these deliberate personal attacks and vilifications, my support system sometimes begin to wonder if my sacrifices and choices have truly been worth it. Growing up as a child, I always wanted to study law and this is a complete shift off that dream that it leaves family and close friends wondering why I didn't choose that noble career path. I keep assuring them that one-day 'the people in the dark will see the light' since the truth will eventually prevail. It is only a matter of time. Like John Steinbeck said; ‘an unbelievable truth can hurt a man much more than a lie. It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable to our times. There is punishment for it, and its crucifixion.’
What do you know today that you wish you* would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
There are days when I ponder over the fact that it is a undeniable truth that education plays an important role, but my life and journey thus far have been my biggest teacher. The business environment in which I operate in Ghana has been an eye peeling experience. I assumed everyone around me was positive and like minded so with focus and the right effort/attitude , all will fall in the right place. However, we had to learn the complexities/dynamics in a hard way. The mind set of the people, their value system etc . I remember vividly when we organized a press launch, the previous organizer, whom I fondly refer to as Chairman Laryea, prayed with me and on the day of the press conference, he made a comment that still echoes and today, I realize its only meant to be understood in reverse order. He said and I quote; ‘this job Is not for the faint hearted.’ In the beginning, I was confused as to what would be so difficult about pursuing one’s passion. It was only when the attacks started that I understood him.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Success is not built on success, but forged in failures. A person who avoids failure also avoids success, for failure is the stepping-stone to success. As a business owner, use the fear of failure to improve your business. Reflect on what is working and what needs to be changed in order to build a better business. If you’re a small business owner or in management, these challenges may already be on your radar. By networking with the local community business groups, finding resources on the Internet, or even crowdsourcing solutions to the challenges you face, you will be better equipped to overcome the everyday business challenges.
Secondly, your value systems will surely see you through challenges that seem insurmountable. But when you stay true to your self, are committed to doing the right thing, be persistent, committed and focused, you will surely achieve the seemly unachievable.
Thirdly, its very important to have a support base that will always be there to bounce of ideas, encourage you when the tough times come for that is a constant; the tough/ challenging times will come. I’m grateful for my family, friends and staff as well as the strangers (genuine fans) who reach out to me.
Finally, I would say that women are God’s wonderful creation. They are bestowed with beauty and brains. You are born to spread love, provide happiness and empathy. Believe in yourself no matter what and seize the day for it is yours. Embrace yourself with confidence and fill yourself with pride. Don’t let anyone take control of you. You can do anything you set your mind to. The sky isn’t the limit its you!