How did you get started in your field?: After high school, my results couldn't land me the course I wanted to pursue in the University and I couldn't afford any of the private universities in the country. So I started work as a graphic designer in Accra. I worked with the company for a few months and applied to another company as a web developer and as an IT support person which lasted for about a year. I was very unsatisfied with the salary I received even though I worked really hard, which was a factor of my level of education. I began work as a freelancer and later started the company Mocominds, and the MITT (Mocominds Innovation of Talent & Technology) in the year 2015 and 2016 consecutively.
Tell us a bit more about your company/organization: Shaaliwud uses Northern textiles to make clothes and accessories for today's market including clutches, shirts, bow-ties, neckties, back packs, side bags (laptop bags), skirts, etc. Over the years, we've tried to make the Northern textiles simple, easy to wear and more attractive.
How did your education and previous experiences help you to become what you are today?: I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Theatre Arts from the University of Ghana, but after graduating in 2012, I worked as Administrator and Projects Officer at African Bagg Group; African Bagg Recruitment, and Bayes Foundation. With this work experience in consulting, I also enrolled in thePublic Relations, Advertising and Marketing Professional training programme at the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 2013, to solidify my profession as a Development and Management Consultant
Tell us a bit more about your company: Asabea Ayisi produces fashion accessories including bags, purses, necklaces, capes, and slippers for both the local & international markets. The Asabea Ayisi brand also trains women professionally in the accessory-making craft.
The Asabea Ayisi Brand was recently listed as part of the 2017 Ghana Start-Up Awards Club 100.
How did you start your company?: I thought of how to blend urban and African designs to make a clothing line. I had my last national service allowance as start up capital so basically that's how it started.
Tell us a bit more about your company: In Africa, cloth, ntoma, ankara, or kitenge, is a way of life. Our fabrics provide livelihood. Our fabrics nurture, speak, & tell stories....Love Ankara is about re-defining what authentic African fabric is.
Our brand is a retail, footwear and accessories brand that seeks to promote authentic African prints, empower women and preserve our local textile industries. Love Ankara's footwear and accessories are worn by powerful, outspoken, daring and empowered women world over... Women who are not afraid to be authentic, to be true to who they are!
Tell us a bit more about your company: Baffs Handmade deals in the production and manufacturing of handmade products such as shoes, bags, belts, purses etc. Our products are made on pre-orders and it takes approximately ten days to finish a product depending on the order. Products are neatly packaged and we deliver throughout the country and beyond.
How did you get started in your field?: Well, I moved to Montreal about three years ago to pursue my Masters degree in civil engineering. When I arrived, I realized that people aren't as warm as back home so I had difficulty in socializing and making friends. People don't really talk to each other on the streets, etc.
So, I purchased a sewing a machine with the hopes of passing time and curing boredom. YouTube was a very helpful tool in setting up and learning the basics. I eventually started making my own outfits and then, gradually, people started requesting that I make them outfits. That's how I started Maisha Abdul!
What advice would you give to students, young professionals and aspiring change makers/entrepreneurs?: I can only tell from my field [- art]. Most of our struggle is to make money out from what we do - which is okay, but for me the purpose of art is to criticize, stir up conversation, make the comfortable uncomfortable and give voice to the so called 'weak', and if in the long run, you happen to make money then great but money should not be the sole purpose for art.
How did you get started in your field?: The desire to connect with people to spread positive messages is rooted in my Christian faith. I feel that I have an obligation to be a light in every space that I'm in. I chose social media and a book in particular because I realize that there is a lot of information and very little inspiration out there.
Releasing my first book based on the general messages I had created for my following has opened many doors. I was born four months premature but by grace and the willpower to overcome a supposed mountain, I've come out wiser, stronger and willing to help others see there is a better way.
Tell us a bit more about your company: Helena S, is inspired by the modern day woman who is simple, yet sophisticated enough to appreciate style. In our ever changing world where even banks go to clients to get them on-board, we at Helena S have also developed a strategy where we go to clients to take their measurements and fabrics and also do fittings and then deliveries. Packaging and attention to minor details goes a long way, and to us, we believe the customer is always right.
What advice would you give to students, young professionals and aspiring changemakers/entrepreneurs?: Anything is possible so far as you believe. There is nothing like failure - it's just a mindset, so whatever thing you wish to do, never doubt yourself but believe it is possible - that's when it will materialize!
Tell us a bit more about your organization: Bartenders Guild Ghana serves as a networking platform, which grooms, trains and mentors its members to be knowledgeable about best practices, professional ethics, key elements; beers, wines, spirits and cocktails in service delivery. We also help members secure employment and educate members on new and upcoming trends in the industry.
How did your education and previous experiences help you to become what you are today?: The creative side of mine was never formed through the education I received in high school or college or university.
I grew up in Japan from the age of 4 until 10 and while I was living in Japan, I fell in love with sketching anime characters. At the age of 8, I had began to create characters of my own from scratch. Me and my younger brother began to make manga stories from scratch for ourselves.
When I moved to Canada, I quickly got into dancing. I was in a street group performing in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor and multiple other venues throughout high school. At the same time, I was singing with my church choir, composing songs with my older brother because he was a professional pianist in the making.
This is all to say that I fell in love with many types of artistry at a young age and those were the things that I did for fun. Content creating, dance, and music. Sooner than later, I got into photography as an amateur but every initiative I jumped into has aided me in who I am today. I simply learned to envision something, think hard on how to make it happen and I am still currently in the process of making it happen.
Tell us a bit more about your company/organization: SLAY AFRICA was started in 2016. We are fully Ghanaian owned lifestyle accessories brand.
Our vision is just to take everyone on an exciting and interesting journey through the designs we put out there. We believe by making people look good, they eventually feel good about themselves.
Great quality, feel - good coloured socks are our core product but we have recently added cuff-links and should be adding – on a few more line before the year ends. Today, our accessories are sold in Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia and have been worn by and showcased by everyday people and celebrities as well.
How did your education and previous experiences help you to become what you are today?: Giving has always been a part of me. I've watched my parents give even when they didn't have enough and that's something that has made me who I am. Selflessness when it comes to humanity is key. In terms of education, what I do urges me to go on to encourage another child. I've struggled through school and know how it feels to be belittled; hence, I fight through it to encourage any child that I come across during my projects.
What advice would you give to students, young professionals and aspiring change makers/entrepreneurs?: The journey is tough but it doesn't happen in one day. With determination and eyes on the goal, success is just a matter of time. Don't be discouraged by small beginnings, the time for entrepreneurship is now!
How did your education and previous experiences help you to become what you are today?: I'm an entrepreneur at heart and I can't say I would have gotten this far without the solid foundation my education gave me. My Bachelor's Degree at the University of Ghana, Legon was a combined major in Psychology and Sociology. This background is invaluable to me because I liaise with potential clients on a daily basis. I understand the psychology of buying and other behavioural analysis of people in general and this helps me to manage my clients and their expectations.
My Masters Degree at Imperial College, London in Business Management made me well rounded with the important tenets of business. It made me understand and know what to expect as an entrepreneur from the startup of a business to employee management, business strategies, international marketing, innovation management, accounting and finance and much more practical knowledge that I will forever be grateful for.
Tell us a bit more about your organization: PsychAid & Love Outreach is a non-profit organization that seeks to bridge the social gap between the society and persons affected by mental illness through massive mental health awareness and nationwide outreach programs. We are focused on breaking the stigma attached to mental illness, so we visit psychiatric hospitals to socialize with patients and to donate to them as well. We believe that this will go a long way to clear any misconceptions about persons living with mental illness.
What are the top qualities you would require in someone who wants to work with/for you?: Must be interesting and jovial; Must be creative and passionate ; Must be willing to give and receive knowledge.
What advice would you give to students, young professionals and aspiring changemakers/entrepreneurs?: Colossians 3:23!
How did you start your company?: It all started seven years ago when I visited Ghana with my family. I remember visiting my uncle in his workplace located at Circle. He worked for a small phone shop located on the top floor of a building. I remember glancing down and thinking to myself, there are so many people in this country and we are pretty stable (politically speaking). It opened my eyes to the opportunity of doing business in Ghana. At that time, however, I didn't know what I wanted to get into. Sometime after, my aunt suggested to me that I start a lip stain collection so women can enjoy long lasting lip wear without having to worry about eating off their lipstick. I thought it was a great idea because us Ghanaians we love our food! At every corner of any street in Ghana you find people selling food! Anyway, I took the idea about the makeup line and pushed it a step further. I thought, why not sell good quality makeup for women of color? Something not as expensive as the well known brands but just as good?
How did you get started in your field?: Drawing came about for me when I was a young boy of eight years. In the early 2000s, I started drawing cartoon characters which later developed as I paid closer attention to the characters' outfits. I started designing clothes at age 10 for friends and family. Not too long after that, I developed the avant garde aesthetic, and school desks, walls, dusty car windows and textbooks became my canvases for sketching captivating designs.
How do you define success?: Success is not a skill, but an attitude... The sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out, (passion, faith, hard work, commitment and a dream) and God's grace.
If you had to start your career/company/organization over again, what would you do differently?: Nothing, I think circumstances we've been through as well as our actions have taught us. Whether good or bad, it's been for our overall good. We live and we learn.
How did you get started in your field?: Everything started off as a passion I developed from being Editor-In-Chief of my department back at KNUST. So when I finished school, I decided to pursue it. At the time, I knew nothing about the field so I was willing to follow a friend anywhere he went so I could learn; however, he was sometimes too busy to call me to his assignments. One day, I decided to just start on my own - I couldn't just sit down waiting for a call. It was a burning desire and there were so many resources on the internet to learn from. So I started reading online and I built up on what my friend had taught me.
What are the top qualities you would require in someone who wants to work with/for you?: Passion, Honesty; Be hardworking, determined and driven.
What advice would you give to students, young professionals and aspiring changemakers/entrepreneurs?: It's not an easy road, being a student myself I can testify! But be driven by passion and work hard! Hard work will get you what and wherever you want! Don't start a business with majority of you funds being debt, try and raise some funds yourself (equity).
Tell us a bit more about your company/organization: STA Africa is an art organization that serves as a community for artists, where their skills and creative talents are appreciated as well as managed effectively and appropriately to make them standout as great artists, entrepreneurs and change makers wherever they find themselves.
Over the years, we have showcased a lot of unique artistic talents spanning from fashion designers, musicians, painters, actors and the like all over Africa. We have helped train many young individuals and have nurtured their entrepreneurial abilities. We have also worked with a number of art organizations/foundations and event houses and, have involved ourselves in ‘ART” related campaigns like our SPYDA (STAA-Pursuing Your Dreams In Arts) project which we introduced last year to encourage young ones to embrace arts and pursue it.
What advice would you give to students, young professionals and aspiring changemakers/entrepreneurs?:
Advice for Students: Seek volunteer and internship opportunities that will help you gain the skillset to help launch your career. Internship and volunteer opportunities are a great way to meet new people in your interested field and also identify your strengths and areas need to develop. Such opportunities also allows you to network and gain insights in the workforce.
Advice for Young Professionals: Seek a mentor who is willing to help you progress on a professional level. Don’t wait for opportunity to knock on your door. You must go out, search, ask and find; and you will discover the right opportunity that will advance you in your career. Don’t be afraid to try something new; have an open mind; and be ready to learn, unlearn and relearn.
How did you start your company/organization?: Throughout Senior High School, my Dad had my siblings and I visit our village during our holidays which was an unbearable experience for me at the time or so I thought. Whilst my friends were travelling abroad to experience new cultures and to have fun, I had to go to the village. He always told us the experiences would help us in the future but I didn't understand his reasons. Little did I know that it was building me up to experience what these individuals felt and went through everyday with the limited resources they had. I had the opportunity to teach in my village and surrounding villages and the experience was overwhelming. I realized that I was very privileged to live in the city, have access to quality education and a family that could support me.
During my Third Year in the University, I met a 14 year old who had dropped out of school and after further interaction, I learnt her guardian had passed away and her mum who had no job could not support her education. In that same year, I was given the opportunity by the then-President of AIESEC in University of Ghana, Legon - who is currently the President of AIESEC Ghana, Ms. Sandra Agyekum-Awuku, to start a new project. The 14 year old Girl I met, Vida Ahiadzo was my inspiration for starting INSPYA GHANA.