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Victoria Naashika Quaye | Ghana | Sit, Crawl, Stand & Run! My passion for providing clean water has been my advocacy from childhood, at the age of 9-16 years. My mother came up with an idea of how to filter water, from an innovative standpoint. After a few iterations, we discovered that our water tasted much better in comparison to others in the market: aligning to positive feedback from a few individuals we sold to in our neighbourhood or community. I have worked in the water industry for over 15 years focusing on clean portable water in Ghana. Curiously, I studied Communication Studies at Ghana Institute of Journalism and Water Treatment at the Center for Education and Advance Training (USA). My interest in clean and portable water propelled me to find myself in the borehole and water treatment space - exploring: production of mineral water, borehole drilling techniques, water treatment, its equipment and accessories. My goal or dream is to show young women and girls that our voices and ideas matter and you are never too young or old to dream BIG! Becoming a successful entrepreneur isn’t just about offering high - quality products or services or having an intelligent business model in place, it's also about cultivating relationships with other entrepreneurs who will help you gain traction and credibility.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

I would say the initial hurdle was being a female in the borehole drilling business since it is known to be a male dominating business. Therefore, doors were closed to me because they had their own perception about my approach. Another hurdle is, getting the right people to work was a problem - in terms of loyalty and sharing the same passion as me. I was able to overcome these hurdles first of all by involving male colleagues to represent the company so opportunities could come my way. Also I was not for the norm of "bring something to get something" I was against it. Again I believed that the right time the right people would come to me. I exercised a lot of patience and did a lot of smiling because customers assumed things.

What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read? Currently I am reading "how successful people win" by John C. Maxwell and I will recommend all of his books.

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? As a matter of fact, my family was and still is my stronghold. They actually gave me the support and money I needed to start my company. It was rather friends who gave me the negative vibe.

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success? I would employ qualified individuals to work with instead of playing the empathy role as a boss. It is good to play the empathy role but not when it comes to business. Passion and honesty has been the most influential factor in my business success.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur? I wish I knew that no matter how nice or good you've been to people they will find ways to stab you at the back then I would have done things differently.

What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally? The advice I would give is, it's okay to hear what people have to say but it is never okay to listen to them, because you know what to do and you know the impact it will have in someone's life so stand by it and move with it. I always say this " You sit, you crawl, you stand and then you run ". There is absolutely no need to walk because the moment you start walking is when you start listening to people as to what they think you should have done or what you should do or what you shouldn't do. So start running with your ideas whatever it may be because as you run you know that you are running to overtake the one in front of you so make sure you watch how they are throwing their legs so you can do better in order to over take them.

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