As part of Challenges Worldwide’s (CW) work, it’s important to engage with the local community to promote and influence positive change where possible. Opportunities to help and leave a mark are what CW strive to achieve, hence one of our team committees rightfully being called impact to have a lasting effect in the communities that we operate. The impact committee is responsible for organising such initiatives and so Kumasi’s impact team put together an event which would help empower local entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners. This event was a ‘Business Breakfast Seminar’ that would promote learning amongst its attendees from expert speakers in key skills. These skills included:
- Creating an effective Business Plan
- Tools for Business Analysis
- Financial Management
- Sales and Marketing
In case that wasn’t tempting enough, breakfast was also provided with tasty pastries and refreshments available. Hosted at the Kumasi Hive which is a collaborative working space offering access to tools, technology and business support to entrepreneurs in creating sustainable and viable enterprises. The Kumasi Hive was, therefore, a perfect venue for the event to support its mission in promoting knowledge and inspiring Kumasi’s entrepreneurial spirit! The Business Breakfast Seminar was not exclusive to business owners, as many people who were interested in setting up their own enterprises in future attended too. These aspiring entrepreneurs were keen to learn what would be important to consider when starting a business, which is no small feat and a decision that should be carefully thought through.
The event kicked off with the first speaker Mr Bright Amoah Antwi, CEO of Ecocycle. An environmentally conscious company operating in waste management, which is transforming the future of how Ghana will manage waste and for the better. Bright provided insight in how to develop a business idea. Businesses are formed with philosophical ideas and he urged the audience to love what they do in order to be great entrepreneurs. He talked about the need to do thorough market research, to get a holistic understanding of the target market as this knowledge can be leveraged to create a unique value proposition to bridge a gap in the market. One doesn’t need to have all the resources to start a business but must use their brain on how to utilize available resources to maximize profit. “Business nomenclature” or in other words, how a business is named was discussed as Bright explained in creating a unique name for his products helped promote a strong brand for his business. Thus, setting him apart from competitors in the waste management industry. In addition tips were given on knowing your customer (KYC) as a way to continue to deliver value to the target market as well as pushing to become a sole distributor if one’s business is to supply goods. Bright finished his talk by advising entrepreneurs to play smart if they were to thrive in the business world.
Our next speaker Benjamin Res Esantsi, who was a former volunteer with CW and now works as a consultant, spoke of the importance of financial management. He stressed the need to separate family finance from business finance and explained some of the basic bookkeeping methods in recording accounts. Outlining the different types of accounting systems, Benjamin urged the audience to use the services of accountants and accounting software if they can afford, if not then simple Microsoft Excel is better than nothing. He also mentioned free apps available for smartphones that are user friendly to keep track of finances. Benjamin stressed the fact that financial management is the lifeblood of any business and necessary to give the best chance of producing profit. This was crucial information for those with little knowledge on finance or planning to start their own business. We then had speaker Mr Evans Owusu Amankwah, an English teacher and founder of Midstream Literary Agency, an English language school in Kumasi, who spoke of key aspects
We then had speaker Mr Evans Owusu Amankwah, an English teacher and founder of Midstream Literary Agency, an English language school in Kumasi, who spoke of key aspects in developing a good business plan. Asking yourself critical questions such as “What are the key activities, value proposition, venue streams?” are crucial to complete a business model canvas. A strategic management and lean startup template for developing new or existing business models. In the art of starting a business, one should have short and long term goals in writing and the entrepreneur must be focused on achieving these by finding a means to reach their targets in their business plan. Salient points made by Bright in his earlier presentation were reiterated here by Evans, in relation to business naming and choosing a name which would reach the wider audience. Mr Evans also stressed the importance in finding the right people to support the business in the beginning stages, “co-founders can be a great resource and expertise to move the business forward.” Wise words from someone who has been there and set up his own successful enterprise and understands the processes involved behind such an endeavour.
Further to our three speakers we were lucky to hear from Luv FM’s sports broadcaster, journalist and multimedia marketing executive, Kofi Asare, on media marketing and the importance of user generated content being key in building a viable marketing strategy. He gave great tips on what entrepreneurs need to do to reach their target market, clarifying that radio adverts may not be right for everybody and entrepreneurs should leverage on social media to reach their target market as it is cheap and effective.
Many business owners who attended were able to share their business knowledge with the rest of the group through the interactive sessions where a Q&A succeeded the presentations of our speakers, allowing an open platform for everyone to express their views and opinions. It brought up some interesting ideas which many could take away with them for consideration when developing their own unique business model. In addition, the event also allowed a fantastic opportunity for our local entrepreneurs to network, in fact many already knew each other! You never know the chances of meeting someone who might be able to share valuable words of wisdom, experience, or even potential partnerships that could help you achieve the vision for your business. For these reasons, networking is so important and was actively encouraged during the event.
Finally, the impact committee had organised some exciting prizes which included a free financial consulting session with one of our speakers, Benjamin, plus a marketing consultancy session with Kofi Asare from Luv FM. Providing these valuable prizes to two lucky attendees ended the event on a high. Many liked-minded people having made new contacts, shared their interesting ideas and experiences enabled everyone to take away having learnt something from the morning. Overall a very successful and productive Business Breakfast Seminar and a great achievement from all the hard work invested by the Challenges team, well done to Kumasi’s team impact!