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The Ghanaian Entrepreneurial Myth

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

Born in the late 70's in the western region of Ghana to be precise, posed a huge challenge of ever growing up to be an entrepreneur. Not only were there myths surrounding limited opportunities, but also, there were few to look up to and take inspiration from. Often than not, the only sector that easily came to mine were the construction, fishing and mining sectors. My dad held an office that often led him to engage directly with many contractors in the region who would often visit him at home to appreciate his services with tokens in envelopes. These contractors would usually visit in flashy cars during my early years of childhood and all I could ever wish for was to be like them someday. Yet I was plagued with the thought of "its impossible" and questions such as, do you have the huge capital needed to start one? Do you even love the construction industry? Can you trace anybody in your family as a successful entrepreneur? You are not even the eldest, how do you expect anybody to favour you without first considering the eldest in the family? These were but few questions that readily came to mind when I imagined becoming an entrepreneur.

At junior secondary level, I got introduced to subjects like technical drawing, home economics and technical skills which started opening my understanding to what entrepreneurial skills and concept were about. It broadened my understanding a bit to not focus on the flashy cars and big envelopes that were handed out to people but rather the conversion of what you were good at regardless of how small or insignificant it looked from its unset into an irresistible product or service. I now began observing the number of "waakye sellers", carpenters, mason's, painters and taxi drivers, just to mention but a few. Wow, how possible, I would think to myself, when they could hardly provide for themselves nor their families! That certainly was a no go zone for me to envisage going down that lane. When I completed junior secondary, it was obvious I wasn't going to pursue any course but business studies at the senior secondary level. I completed senior secondary yet with no opportunities of becoming the entrepreneur I so wanted to become. At University, I met a very good friend who had a family business. We would often talk about how difficult it was to start a business and yet with determination and faith in God or whatever your religious inclination, you were bound to succeed. I would often pay particular attention to his attitude towards his role at work and the discipline that came with it and ask myself, would I be acting same if I was presented with same opportunity? I would sometimes ask questions like of all the business options, why this sector?

I soon realised the concept of forming businesses wasn't about what you could see people engage in around you nor how much money you could realise easily for you to be handing out envelopes everywhere but rather discovering needs in society and making a commitment to meet those needs in a unique way for society to appreciate and in turn reward your effort. So then, the value which is placed on the service or product you offer to society will also determine how much you generate. Don't expect to sell waakye on a bench with an improvised additional benches for people to eat on and expect respectable people in society with much money to come over to you and spend. Don't leave you taxi's in bad state, smelling and expect people to patronise your services. So then, what is it about the Ghanaian entrepreneurial myth? Is it down to attitude and lack of attention to details?

Thank God lately, we have been seeing the ingenuity being exhibited by a generation that wouldn't allow the limitation and classifications of our continent as a developing or under developed nor any myth deprive us of taking new territories and attaining greater heights. The truth is, we are not inferior in any sense, neither are we under any curse to deprive us from excelling in any opportunities out there. All we need to do regardless of your generation is to focus on any God given talent and add value to it in a way that will be appreciated and the sky will be your limit. If you were ever going to pursue entrepreneurship as a Ghanaian or as an African, never pay heed to myths. Rather, consider discipline and total commitment to overcoming your inner inhibitions.

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