Starting a business is not easy, but the joy of not being financially handicapped or unemployed overshadows the strenuous ordeal one has to go through to establish a company and the difficulty of getting the first client.
There is a global challenge of unemployment and entrepreneurship has been considered the solution. The youth needs to be innovative and venture out to start own businesses.
When people become entrepreneurs they design or produce products or offer services, generate income and employ others.
Educational institutions have acknowledged the need to train students to become entrepreneurs and students as part of their studies are encouraged to make entrepreneurial efforts.
Entrepreneurial activities amongst the youth
One trending entrepreneurial activity amongst ladies in Ghana today is beads-jewelry making and make-up artistry and for many young men photography and graphic designing is the preferred option.
The media has highlighted the role of many young people who have taken up the challenge to start a business and one of such enterprise is Egudzi beads designed by Ewurama Ricketts.
Egudzi beads is an Accra-based fashion house with a chic collection of neckpieces carefully selected to capture the very essence of elegance.
It is aptly captured by the brand tag-line; ‘Experience Elegance’ which is inspired by the sheer sophistication and style of the modern African woman.
Another enterprise highlighted by the media is Devless. It is one of the very few IT startups that has a product suited for software developers. It comprises young people harnessing their talents and skills to provide solutions in line with the increasing crave for technological solutions.
Edwin Tsatsu Salomey, the CEO of Devless, with his team recently won funding support through the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) programme.
Devless is an ‘open source Backend’ – a service for web and mobile application developers to rapidly develop their backend services and generate API endpoints for their applications using plug-&-play modules.
And Justice Tetteh, a fashion designer, known for his unique Gold Coast Stiches, has also garnered attention in the fashion industry with the nickname ‘Papa tailor’.
Challenges in the sector
All these noted entrepreneurs, amongst several others, have attained acclaim in spite of the various challenges they face.
“We know the system with our macro economy where interest rates are in the region of 30 per cent, making it very difficult for small businesses to borrow,” Justice Tetteh, said.
Other entrepreneurs in an interview with the Ghana News Agency discussed how they have been able to scale over various obstacles to attain success.
“I have learnt that things may go wrong even when you do everything right. And when they go wrong, it doesn’t mean you made a mistake. Sometimes, there is no obvious reason to continue because there is no sign of success but faith, hope and the end-picture you have should keep you persevering,” Terry Mante, an author and General Manager of Landmark Business Solutions, said.
Frank Mireku, General Manager of Timex Print Tech Limited, said self-discipline is a core value that every entrepreneur should adhere to: “You see as an entrepreneur, you work for yourself and manage your own affairs. You need a lot of discipline in order to manage your business, finances and time very well. Planning is also the key.”
Timex Print Tech Limited has provided printing solutions to various businesses such Alisa Hotel, Goldman Capital, Scribe Communications, Heartbeat Music and many others.
Though the expected governmental assistance is limited there are still opportunities that young Ghanaian entrepreneurs can grasp and local and international organisations are ready to support young people with their business ideas or startups.
Business startup competitions
The year begun with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) announcing the opening of application to support young businesses in Africa with 5,000 dollars seed capital as part of its third cycle entrepreneurship programme.
The application stays open until the midnight of March 1, 2017.
World Bank Group Ideas for Action Competition 2017, every year brings together students and young professionals from around the world to design ideas for financing and implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Winners of the competition will present their ideas during the IMF & World Bank Annual Meetings, receive support from a dedicated startup accelerator at the Wharton School, and benefit from unique networking opportunities with other young leaders as well as some of the most senior decision-makers in international development, academia, and the private sector.
Valeo Innovation Challenge is also offering young students worldwide the opportunity to create a concept car for 2030. It should highlight the way it is used and should be more intelligent, intuitive, green and fun.
Teams of two to five people- students from any discipline can also take part in the Valeo project by presenting a relevant, innovative project in English.
The aim is to stimulate the creativity of students, enabling them to form multidisciplinary teams.
The Challenge is open to students worldwide who have completed their high school education and their academic teachers (maximum of one teacher per team).
Then also open to Ghanaians is the Queens Entrepreneurship Challenge (QEC), an undergraduate startup competition held in Toronto, Canada, with over $75,000 in prizes dedicated to helping talented entrepreneurs from around the world jump-start their businesses and their dreams.
Each year, it receives numerous business plan submissions from around the globe, and the top 15 teams are selected and invited to Toronto to pitch their business plans to a panel of Canadian business leaders.
The Hult Prize Foundation is a start-up accelerator for budding young social entrepreneurs emerging from the world’s universities.
It runs regional competitions in five cities around the world and winners receive 1 million dollars in seed capital, as well as mentorship and advice from the international business community.
The Ghana Entrepreneurship Challenge is organized by the Global Leadership Coalition in partnership with Orios Group, Terry Mante Exchange, ORios, PEDNET and 1M1B, to train young entrepreneurs to grow their idea into a launch-able and sustainable business.
With the MEST programme as well, aspiring entrepreneurs with a strong interests in technology and entrepreneurship from various countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire can apply and compete for 60 open spots for startup training and Incubator Programs.
The Innohub Accelerator Programme nurtures early stage start-ups on our fixed-term, cohort-based programmes, and that includes a seed capital of $10,000 in cash and business development support services.
‘Startupper of the Year’ by Total Petroleum Ghana is also an entrepreneurship challenge for all young Ghanaian Entrepreneurs.
MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge, a Pan-African competition, provides the platform for young talents or experienced entrepreneurs to develop and have the possibility of winning over $50,000 in the total prize giveaway.
It is a commendable effort for qualified candidates to seek to apply to any of stated programmes. And though the ultimate goal for all applicants may be to win, they should not lose sight of the training and mentoring sessions that they require to grow their businesses.