We have had a team of Business Support Associates working to support enterprises across Accra, Ghana. The latter, are exciting businesses that we hope to take from investment readiness to investment worthiness. So, it is time for you to meet the enterprises:
Description of business, product and services: They are a family-owned manufacturing company that makes cleaning products for the Ghanaian populace.
What are their expectations at the end of the 10 weeks: They needed help with their financial records and they also wanted strong marketing and distribution strategies.
Why they joined the programme: Clean Smell wants to know where they are falling short in terms of performance.
What skills are needed by young people to make them employable and have a competitive advantage globally: Sales and marketing are the key skills that Clean Smell feels they need most.
Description of business, product and services: They are a limited liability company that makes natural lemonade with lemon, honey and ginger.
What are their expectations at the end of the 10 weeks: They wanted to strengthen their finances to that they could attract investment.
Why they joined the programme: Firstly, they need to improve production. They also wanted help with certification/licensing, as well as a consultant to analyse customer buying trends. Finally, they wanted help with their financial records.
What skills are needed by young people to make them employable and have a competitive advantage globally: Young people should train in order to be skilled sales representatives, accountants and tech-savvy individuals.
Description of business, product and services: Asoriba is a technology company providing web based church management software for churches and their stakeholders. They have been operating for less than 3 years but have already won awards for Ghana’s best start up and an award for Ghana’s best technology company. They help church leaders to organise their congregation’s admin, marketing and operations. As well as this, they have a social media application connecting Christians all over the world (mainly in Africa so far).
So far they have 15,000 members on the app, 1000 churches signed up and 80 active churches on the web page. They are operating in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and next year hope to break the Cote D’Ivoire market. African churches are supposedly worth $25 billion and there are approximately 2.6 million Churches in Africa. So, there is a lot of potential to grow.
Expectations by the end of the 10 weeks: They have high hopes for the cycle, including: to get legal information on how to register in UK or US; develop a more efficient work force; create a marketing plan and set up a board of directors.
What skills are needed by young people to make them employable and have a competitive advantage globally: They want to see more young people trained in technology to help them continue to grow and develop their business model – e.g. they take on a lot of interns from the MEST school.
Description of business, product and services: Wazuri sells packaged and unpackaged coconuts to people at events such as weddings, parties, etc.
Why they joined the programme: To get some marketing help and improve the general workings of the company.
What are their expectations at the end of the 10 weeks: They want to be selling 500 coconuts a week at events houses around Accra.
What skills are needed by young people to make them employable and have a competitive advantage globally: Generally, young people need to have good written English skills.
Description of business, product and services: This is a business in the food and beverage sector, mainly focusing on serving an all-day-breakfast, but they also have a lunch option.
Why they joined the programme: They joined the programme in order to improve their marketing strategy and financial management system.
What are their expectations at the end of the 10 weeks: Their main goal is to have a clear and defined organisational structure.
Description of business, product and services: WLAK is a clothing line, managed by 2 young Ghanaians. They started with t-shirts, caps, and then moved into shoes and bags.
What are their expectations at the end of the 10 weeks: They hope to put better management systems in place, as well as to establish a robust management system.
Why they joined the programme: The CEO heard about CW at a friend’s event, who was about to end his cycle with CW. The friend recommended CW and said the business would benefit a lot.
According to the CEO, “there are some things that we as entrepreneurs are not aware of, and CW helps put those measures in place. It goes beyond making money – it’s about better understanding business processes and principles.”
What skills are needed by young people to make them employable and have a competitive advantage globally: The CEO believes that in Ghana entrepreneurship is not taught in schools. The time when students enter junior school should be the time when enterprise education is introduced. Entrepreneurship should be taught in schools and the government should have a hand in promoting locally made goods from skills Ghanaians. E.g. in the Ghanaian context, skills are not taught at university. And people prefer shoes to be made by someone who didn’t go to university, because they think graduates shouldn’t be entrepreneurs.
Description of business, product and services: SocialFarm is an agribusiness social enterprise that connects farmers to farm lands and water bodies thereby forming in-grower cooperative schemes where farmers access mechanised services, inputs, training and markets.
Other services that Social Farms offer are farm tours; Support A Graduate To Own A Farm; SocialFarm Empower; and local representation of international social enterprises.
What are their expectations at the end of the 10 weeks: Support to market farm lands, organisational restructuring, information on funding opportunities and improve our supply chain.
Why they joined the programme: We are a start-up and we are looking to grow. We were very impressed with the support that Challenges offers. Also, with CW being a UK-based organisation, we wanted to opportunity to be connected to Challenges’ local and international network. We are grateful that CW is connecting us to a network both locally and internationally, which will enable us to grow and become a leader in agribusiness.
What skills are needed by young people to make them employable and have a competitive advantage globally: It’s important for young people to be skilled in a specialty in order to develop their area of competence and grow in it.
In addition to that, it’s important for young people to be courageous and bold to start something new on their own. Most young people are comfortable working for established companies because of the security it provides. But they should be bold to start new enterprises. With the high unemployment rate in Ghana, existing companies cannot accommodate everyone. Young people’s ideas may not necessarily be innovative; their entrepreneurship may simply be about bringing ideas that are successful elsewhere to make them work here in Ghana.
Description of business, product and services: Jenam is a cosmetics company established in 1997 by its CEO John Djaba. Educated in agricultural science, Mr. Djaba joined Jeba cosmetics where he worked as a production manager before going on to found Jenam. Specialising in herbal products, Jenam produces a range of beauty products such as herbal soap, leave in conditioner and skin creams.
What are their expectations at the end of the 10 weeks: After the ten-week placement with Challenges has ended, Jenam hopes to see improvement in a few areas of the business. Financially, Jenam would like volunteers to set up a digital and easy-to-use book keeping system to help track the business’ expenses. Mr. Djaba also hopes Challenges will work with him to establish a basic marketing campaign as currently his products are struggling to gain exposure.
Why they joined the programme: Whilst Mr Djaba is an astute chemist he is also aware of his lack of business acumen. Over the past 20 years Jenam, has failed to move onto the next level and Mr. Djaba saw Challenges as an opportunity to change this. Providing structure and consolidating the foundations of the business, Mr Djaba hopes Challenges will be the springboard to propel Jenam to an investor-friendly level, thus attracting the investment he feels the enterprise desperately needs.
What skills are needed by young people: The most important skills needed by young people are the basic skills provided to them during their education. Understanding the importance to question the systems in place will enable young people to grow and progress in areas previous generations have failed to do. In addition to this, resilience is an irreplaceable skill for young people to gain the competitive advantage. Inevitably you will fail in some of your endeavours. Therefore, Mr. Djaba urges young people to not give up and keep moving forward. Just because people doubt you does not mean your actions are pointless. Instead your vision is a gift that was given to you, not to them and it’s your duty to manifest it. Finally, young people ought to follow a passion of theirs. For if you do not like or believe in what you do, why should anyone else?
Description of business, product and services: AJ VANUSH was founded 6 years ago and formally registered 3 years ago. It was founded by Kelvin Darko, with the help of his friends Jeremiah Kwarteng (currently the production manager), Prince Ofori (the PR manager) and Cudjoe Akwetey (the marketing manager). Vanush is a bespoke company that produces consistently quality, unique and customer-centric shoes and accessories that deliver superior value at reasonable prices and target the elite and the middle class. They manufacture mostly men’s shoes but also produce other products such as belts, bags and wallets. The company won a second-tier grant for the UK-DFID sponsored ENGINE project by Technoserve Ghana. The company’s mission is to build a lasting legacy in bespoke shoemaking, representative of African creativity on the global market. Their vision: to become the premium icon of bespoke shoemaking in Africa.
What are their expectations at the end of the 10 weeks: AJ Vanush seeks to improve their financial record system.
Why they joined the programme: The company joined Challenges Worldwide because they want to attain their vision and mission and knows that challenges can help them achieve that. They also wanted help in the following areas:
- Marketing strategies that will help the company get its market gap
- Trade linkages: Networking with other companies and outsourcing of raw materials at reasonable prices as most of it raw materials are imported
- Organizational structure to improve communication within the organization and growth of the company.
What skills are needed by young people to make them employable and have a competitive advantage globally: Entrepreneurship and confidence!
21st Century Initiatives
Description of business, product and services: They have been working for 1.5 years. The main products are collection and selling of plastic waste to recycling companies, as well as selling eco-pillows key rings and neck pillows (all made from recycled plastic material).
What are their expectations at the end of the 10 weeks:
- Improving sales and marketing
- Providing a new perspective on the enterprise’s performance
Why they joined the programme: They joined the programme in order to improve and strengthen their business processes and hopefully make more profit from their recycled products.
What skills are needed by young people to make them employable and have a competitive advantage globally: Young people should have the confidence to tackle real problems in society, e.g. solve environmental problems.
Description of the business, product and services: ‘SPACE’ is a design and construction management company, creating beautiful spaces with a client orientated approach. They cover all aspects of the build from feasibility research to procurement planning, to site management.
What are their expectations at the end of the 10 weeks: SPACE was eager to have a fresh set of eyes look over the company. They got us involved with all aspects of the job, from accountancy to site management, giving us a clearer understanding of how the process works. They believe this is the best way for a business analyst to work. Their main expectation is to get recommendations on how to grow and flourish.
Why did they join the programme: Along with the above reasons, it is also a great indicator of how much they have grown in the past year and a half. They want to see how well they can manage having two additional members of staff, on an intern basis, to see if productivity increases.
What skills are needed by young people to make them employable: Beyond academic capabilities, vocational work is very important. The ability to function effectively within a work place, adapting to different scenarios and maintaining a professional approach are all requirements. There isn’t an exhaustive list of skills required.
Caris Gold Services
Description of the business, product and services: Caris Gold Services is a limited liability company located in Accra, Ghana. Their main products and services are natural fruit juice/cocktails for events, as well as event management.
What are their expectations at the end of the 10 weeks: The CEO is looking to have built a solid structure in terms of marketing and administration for the company by the end of the 10 week program.
Why did they join the program: “I joined the program because I want to scale up the company and will need different views of the company, I also needed assistance with regards to marketing and administration” – the CEO.
What skills are needed by young people to make them employable: It is key to be able to analyse figures, facts and situations on your own or with a partner and arrive at a rational conclusion. Young people also need to be confident solving problems and taking initiative. Also, the ability to communicate a point/an issue and choosing a style to suit the audience and situation is a desirable skill many employers look for. Generally speaking, young people follow an academic system where they have very few opportunities to gain soft skills. In such a competitive job market, it is valuable to not only have a strong academic background but also practical experience.
Description of business, product and services: GIDDINS is a recognized Ghanaian designer and manufacturing agent of shoes and African fashion-wears and bags, under its own brand and on behalf of independent resellers. GIDDINS was incorporated as a sole proprietorship in 2013 and began operations in May 2017. The business is located in Madina, close to University of Professional Studies in Accra. Products currently on offer include:
- Ladies and gents sandals
- Executive men’s shoes
- Classic ladies shoes
- Men’s African print shirts
- Diaper bags
What are your expectations at the end of the 10 weeks: Improve the business, gain more customers and to improve its corporate governance. GIDDINS is taking steps to become registered as a limited liability company with aspirations to create a functioning board of advisors.
Why did they join the programme: They wanted a strong marketing strategy and rebranding of the enterprise. They also wanted to increase public awareness of the brand by word of mouth in order to increase sales.
What skills are needed by young people to make them employable and have a competitive advantage globally: Creativity, hardworking. IT inclined, Fashionable, listening, Public speaking, presentation skills, and marketing and sales skills. Lastly, flexibility and adaptability.
Description of business, product and services: Wineloya is a multimedia marketing firm with two distinct arms. The enterprise has been officially registered for a year now, and operating for close to 3 years. The first arm of the company involves digital skills sessions or education funded by Google, the aim of which is to increase the number of people who are aware of Google’s digital advertising tools and to understand the careers that one could take in the digital industry.
The second and latest arm is one that involves creating websites, Facebook and other multimedia content for companies. It aims to get multiple large clients and handle all digital advertising for these companies. Additionally, any extra technological problems that these companies have can be outsourced to Wineloya. Their main clients now are Google and Wilmar.
The main services include:
- Digital Skills Training Services
- Digital advertising services and increasing online presence
Expectations at the end of the 10 weeks: To have problems that may not be evident pointed out with suggestions on how to deal with them.
Why join the programme: To get another point of view on the structure and processes of the company and how they can be made better.
What skills are needed by young people to make them employable and have a competitive advantage globally: The most important skill is the ability to identify a problem, assess it properly, and come up with sustainable solutions to these problems. Also, the ability to use IT in accessing information is a major plus for young people.
Description of business, product and services: TroTro Tractor is an agri-tech company providing digital solutions in the form of technical support to a small-holder farmer and tractor owners.
Expectations at the end of the 10 weeks: Their expectations at the end of the 10 weeks are to find solutions to increase their productivity and accountability, as well as to find innovative ways of promoting their business and make it unique.
Why join the programme: They are joining the programme in order to allow the business to undergo diagnosis to identify what they were doing right and wrong.
What skills are needed by young people to make them employable and have a competitive advantage globally: Young people have to be very innovative; have the ability to solve problems in diverse ways; be multi-faceted in various areas and also be very proactive and ready to learn.
Meet also the team that is working with all of these enterprises!