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Business News of Monday, 30 June 2014

Source: Akpah Prince

A Day Spent at Barclays Bank Unlocking Youth Opportunities

1 In their quest to mentor and revolutionise the minds of young Ghanaians, Barclays Bank in partnership with the British Council organised the Unlocking Youth Potential, a program that saw over 200 people in Accra in attendance as it was simultaneously going on in other parts of the country. In attendance were successful young entrepreneurs such as Israella Kafui Mansu, Leticia Brown, Mabel Simpson, Benjamin Aggrey, Claudia Lumor, Derrydean Dadzie etc who came to mentor and inspire others into what they are doing by sharing their entrepreneurial journey and top executives of the bank in Ghana. Sharing stories of how she started, Mabel Simpsons CEO of MSimps, an accessories company resigned her job as assistant producer at Ghana’s top flight media company, Multimedia precisely Hitz FM where she also hosts a five minute sports show in 2010. And with a start-up fund of GH¢200, GH¢100 from her savings and the rest from a friend Mabel was good to go with her vision on making a house hold named company in Ghana and then the globe. An alumnus of Wesley Girls where she read Visual Arts, she gained admission into KNUST for further studies in Communication Design. Starting a business one has to look for a problem and Mabel’s idea was to change the attitude of modern Ghanaians to wear African fabrics every day as against the law to wear them only on Fridays. The only way to make that happen was to make unique accessories, such as bags, iPad cases, purses, wallets etc. mixed with unique African fabrics and the average Ghanaian is now at liberty to live the real African way every day. After four years in the business now, Mabel’s idea which turned into a business is now selling global. Advising participants on how to finance their start-ups, she counselled us to cultivate the habit of savings. This can be a remedy which will enable young people not to always focus on other avenues to start their businesses which might not turn into their favour. Another problem that start-ups encounter is with an office to operate, but Mabel started and still operates from her parents’ home which is something that most start-ups could implement making examples of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Also in starting her business, it was a big risk but her passion saw her through till this stage. Initially she had to deceive her parents that she was on leave which gave her way to stay and operate at home but after a month of stay in the house, Mabel had to break the shocking news to her parents that she resigned her prestige job at that time. She went on to advise us not to use our profits but sacrifice them to reinvest in the business which must be cultured into financial discipline. We must be determined, listen to clients, brand our products and package them very well as they speak volumes of our products to prospective clients. On the JOURNEY SO FAR, she has won the My Business 2010 business competition by her former employers, 2nd runner-up at Enablis with other awards from Glitz Africa Fashion Awards and Ghana Made Awards. Concluding, she advised we make good use of social media as it has being a driving force for her business because for about 70% of her clients she hasn’t met them yet but always get to order through that avenue, cut down cost, manage time properly, find trustworthy partners, be different, trust our instincts, invest in ourselves, get good customer relations, use quality products and always ask for help. Another person who wasn’t probably young but shared with us the 20 year journey of growing his company into brand that provides printing services to all financial institutions, telecoms, insurance companies etc in Ghana was Mr. Kobby Asmah the CEO of Type Printing Press. Mr. Kobby’s life journey is one that is just inspiring making me know opportunities are here in Ghana and I can also make an impact by starting small and going global as I grow. Mr. kobby invited his wife who was then living in the US to come to Ghana so that they could get married but he later got to propose a business idea instead of the marriage proposal and had also gone on to resign his job as well. Well the journey started some years ago as he narrated. To be continued….. Thank you Akpah Prince