**dedicating this one to my late mentor: #mrawlings #rip
I am a serial entrepreneur and activist. Dreaming up a killer business idea is one thing. Putting that idea into action is a whole different story. The entrepreneur’s journey can feel discouraging and lonely at times. As an African child, a lot is expected from you. It is the wish of every Ghanaian youth to go to school, graduate and get a white collar job. Right after my national service, I was haunted by the idea of staying home and hustling to get at least a job interview. I did a few voluntary jobs to buy me time until I was fortunate enough to work for the Former President His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings of blessed memory. It was an overwhelming opportunity but I was willing to take that huge step. I gathered inspiration from advocates and mentors like him. I am intrigued as to how he evolved into one of the biggest household names even after he left office, successful - all aimed at inspiring the next generation. Doing well while doing good, to me, is being expected to achieve both financial strength and social impact through different investments etc, meaning doing well and doing good in the community at the same time. I also believe that the intellect of the poor was the biggest untapped resource. Many of us want to be extraordinary, to be change makers and to make positive and influential contributions to our society. I have discovered that my generation is full of activists, humanitarians and philanthropists. No matter our passions — education, health, environment, economic development — many of us share a common goal: to leave this world a better place than how we found it. As a United Nations Youth Ambassador at the 2016 United Nations General Assembly special section through the invitation of SSDP International, I had the privilege to represent the voice of the Ghanaian youth and contributed my quota towards the need to end the ‘Drug War’. I was also a delegate at the 2017 International Youth Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA.
Moving forward, I later decided to invest resources and my time in developing a startup via the African local market in Ghana; by providing/selling clean and affordable food products to citizens. I partnered and collaborated with a few market women and farmers to get the best products. It was very hectic moving from one point to another @ 4am to 5am in a commercial district market in Ghana called Agbogbloshie. The task was a difficult one but yet I was prepared to do more, so I registered a company called JSC international mainstay focused on providing administrative services etc to different local firms. The company landed a contract to coordinate the administrative work off the Tema motorway - (a JICA funded project and the N8 project for Assin Fosu in Ghana). Most people can’t relate to the uncertainty that comes with building something from nothing. Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated when your friends are out having fun, while you’re grinding it out day after day, year after year until your efforts pay off. Financial freedom, calling the shots, and being able to work on projects you love. Currently, I have
invested into a hospitality startup - a restaurant called JS Locals and Pub and looking forward to opening JS Winery and Liquors December 2020. Support local and support women entrepreneurs.
What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?
My hurdles were all based on my personal values: to most of my work and at some point I realized that business and personal values were totally different. The biggest was financial burden which caused serious headaches sometimes, but I was so determined to overcome them and adopted the attitude of "spend what is left after saving", I saved more and spent little. I developed the "can do mentality and the spirit of everything is possible".
What books are you currently reading?
I am currently reading one of my favorite books of all time titled "Becoming mindful: silence your negative thoughts and emotions to regain control of your life". This book shaped my thinking process. I am also reading becoming a strategic leader by Richard L. Hughes and Kathrine Colarelli Beatty. Very insightful for anyone with the hope and dream of changing the leadership narrative in the world.
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?
My family has been very supportive although once in a blue moon, say a word or two that sucks the energy out of me certain times but I believe they only say that to make me strong. I have not been good with friends all my life, I end up having friends who either use me for their gains or come into my circle to destroy things I have built so as for friends, I hardly keep them in my business but of course I have a few acquaintances who help greatly by supporting and promoting my business.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your success?
The most influential factor in my success will be my innovative thinking skills and my zeal to succeed no matter what it takes.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?
I wish I had been told that business takes a lot of patience to deal with customers and enough zeal to succeed.
What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?
As young people we often fall on family, governments and or guardians for help to succeed but truthfully, you can succeed when you set your mind on your goals. Great men today did not make it sitting idle, they knocked on doors and seized every opportunity they saw. You can do anything and everything no matter your capital and how you start, what matters is how successful you become at the end of the day.