I go by the name Obed Rocky Dadzie. Born and raised in Ghana, for that reason I bare the African traditional name Kodwo (a male born on Monday ). I am a 16 years old social entrepreneur, philanthropist youth and climate activist as well as a first year student of the Ghana Secondary Technical School, Takoradi. Less than a year ago, myself and 9 other friends of mine founded the Youth Empowerment Organization "Voices On The Mount"(VOTM). I consider my team, as one of the youngest youth led organization in Ghana empowering young demographic through entrepreneurship, skills development, climate justice and education as well as charity. The basic motivation and inspiration behind this initiative came about when we realized that, since we will part of the future we ought to act now as young leaders and whatever we do now affects the future. Therefore, the basic goal is to empower the youth - that we can make a difference now. Not tomorrow nor 10 years, but by taking baby steps. VOTM has been able to support less privileged schools, orphanages, less privileged children, partnered with organizations both in Ghana and internationally.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them? Overcoming negative energy from my community re: who hardly don't believe in the youth impact in our society. Balancing school work and my initiative was also a problem. But being realistic in terms of my vision and goal as a leader has kept my sanity in check. Therefore, I make my academic and my initiative a priority. So far everything seems to be on track.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
The book I'm currently reading, was written by Mr Kaakyire Akosombo Nyantakyi titled the "ancestral sacrifice". In my quest to find and learn more about my Ghanaian culture with the aim of teaching. I would also recommend - The One Minute Millionaire" by Mark Victor Hansen. I read it some months ago, very impactful from entrepreneur perspective.
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?
A tree can't pretty much survive without it roots, so we definitely need the support of our families even though at times few may have doubts. A saying that has been planted in the heart of every family member of mine. My family has been very supportive through this process. However, I also had or have friends who discouraged me at the beginning but as I said earlier, being realistic and setting out my priorities for my goals and visions to do the talking. I tried my best to avoid negative opinions of close friends too.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Speaking of influential factor, failure played a major role. That kept me aligned and true to my vision. Every step of the way I was made a better person, I learned to stand tall and to heal.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
It's OK not to be OK. Its OK to be tired, its OK to be stressed out ,Its OK to not feel like not moving anymore. Sometimes you've got to keep moving - that way your vision can be accomplishment. Nothing should stop you. This is the most important. If I had known earlier I would have moved on when I failed, rather than waste my time feeling bad about it.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Be YOU, do what you love, don't wait for anyone and just take baby steps.