Researcher | Entrepreneur | Data Analyst
I relocated from my hometown (a small town in Western Region, Ghana) to Kumasi, Ashanti region - where I stayed with my mother. In Kumasi, I failed my school entrance exams, so I was repeated to Primary 1 (grade 1) even though I was going to Primary 3 (grade 3) in my previous school in my hometown. Lucky for me, my life turned around because my primary 1 teacher paid particular attention to my academic progress (thanks to all teachers out there). I completed my Junior High School as the best student. I was able to secure a scholarship for my Senior High School. I lost my dad when I was in my second year at Senior High School. Things became quite uneasy since my mother had to handle the financial burden of my two sisters and me. I completed my Senior High School as the best business student for my year group, and I applied to the university in the same year. Financing the first-year cost of my University education was difficult for my mother. I applied for a scholarship which I received, and it covered my academic fees. At the early stage of my undergraduate study, I was solely relying on my mother for financial support in addition to my scholarship. I was fortunate enough to get positive exposure to the possibilities of life during my undergraduate studies. I started to follow few international events, individuals and organizations. I read about how some wealthy people rose to affluence from nothing. Significantly, I became interested in entrepreneurship and having a tangible impact on the world. During my third year, I took an internship with a senior lecturer to learn about research and statistical data analysis. I started to assist students with their data analysis in supporting myself financially. I got the opportunity to be a part of a team representing my University at the Hult Prize 2019 competition. We won the regional finals at Kuala Lumpur and proceeded to an accelerator in the UK. My undergraduate study contributed significantly to my progress in life. I met great people, learned how to impact the world and changed my mindset. I am currently financing my Master's Degree at the University of Ghana Business. I am a co-founder of a tech start-up made up of youth with the vision to help businesses go digital (https://akrosystems.com/). Also, I serve as the research lead at Ghana For Startups (https://ghanaforstartups.org/) and a research assistant at the University of Ghana Business School. I aspire to be a serial entrepreneur and professor who will change the world through innovative research and entrepreneurship. I guess the story is still being written, and I am still working on achieving my goals.
What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?
My biggest initial hurdle was low self-esteem and confidence. I grasped the idea that no matter how good I was, others may be better than me. Instead of thinking about improving myself, I became afraid of others abilities and gradually lost my self-belief. What helped me to overcome this hurdle was when I realized others believe in me to do better. At every stage of my life, I have had people who explicitly make me know that they believe in me to do better. With this hope and expectation, I decided to unleash every potential to improve myself and scale greater heights.
What books are you currently reading?
Elon Musk by Ashlee Vange
Mindset: The new psychology of success by Dr Carol S. Dweck
Jewish wisdom for Business Success by Rabbi Levi Brackman & Sam Jaffe
Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I think I can boldly say that my immediate family has been supportive of my pursuits. My family is liberal to a large extent when it comes to what one chooses to do in life; if the child believes that what you have chosen to pursue will make you happy and successful. In my family, you have to convince them that you know what you are into and has a strategic plan that will lead to success in the future.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your success?
I have tasted and experienced the other side of life (like sleeping on an empty stomach, financial challenges, and my parents' struggle). These experiences fuel my passion for doing great things that will help me provide for my family and my community. I have compassion for the poor and the needy. I believe others' success is tied to my success, so I cannot give up no matter how hard it gets.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?
What I wish I knew earlier was changing my mindset (outlook) about life. This strategy works like magic even when everything around me looks gloomy. I hold on to the mindset of how great the future will be if I make the necessary sacrifices or pay the price today. Basically, I wish I could have a clear mental picture of what I want and how I can get it (process and activities involved) at an early stage in life.
What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?
First of all, is a need for change in mindset. This involves the belief in yourself, the hope for better days and the desire to impact. There is no joy in living an average or mediocre lifestyle.
Second, every youth should know that things do not just happen. There is a price tag for every excellent thing on earth. Whatever good thing you desire in life, be prepared to pay the holistic price for it.
Third, the accountability mirror. Take a critical look at your life and evaluate yourself. Ask; What needs to change, what must I do away with, what are my flaws and strengths? Be authentic to yourself and improve or change any aspect of your life that requires improvement or change.