Regina Honu(2nd left) and other panelists pose with hostess Apiokkor and (2nd Right)team lead from Ahaspora
Mobile Telecommunications Network MTN (Ghana) Pulse, in partnership with Ahaspora Professionals Network, has hosted over 500 young entrepreneurs at the second edition of ‘MTN Pulse Just Be Series’.
The second edition of MTN Pulse ‘Just Be Series’ reached 31 people in person and 596 viewers virtually.
The hybrid event was streamed live on MTN Ghana and Ahaspora’s Facebook and YouTube channels.
The event, held under the theme: The Chase – Living your Passion, targeted young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 30 years, to discuss how to ignite entrepreneurship with strategies and skills to scale passions for profit.
Delivering the keynote address, Regina Honu, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Soronko Academy and Tech Needs Girls, shared her story of how she fell in love with technology and coding at a younger age.
Madam Honu said realizing that only 3 per cent of ICT graduates worldwide were women with limited support for them, she founded Tech Needs Girls, a non-profit organisation that taught girls coding and provided mentorship.
She said, she never knew she could be an entrepreneur because she was shy and risk-averse.
Asked by the moderator, Apiorkor, how she balanced work and family she said “You have to prioritise and find a supportive partner”, adding “Don’t be afraid to go for what you want when you decide to move, put one foot in front of the other and take action”.
Panellists Stephanie Adu, CEO of Colorbox Cosmetics, Ekow Mclean, Founder of The Suit Guy, a virtual suit store, and Mabel Simpson. Team lead at mSimps, an accessory manufacturing company, also shared varying thoughts on how people could succeed in their quest to become entrepreneurs, as well as real-life experiences on how they turned their passion into a business and the successes chalked so far.
For Madam Adu, her passion for make-up was unearthed in her teenage years when she sold cosmetics in various departmental shops in the USA and U.K., thereafter, quitting her job as an investment banker and moving to Ghana in 2014 to explore how to create a quality luxury brand for women of colour.
When asked what her biggest challenge was, she said, “My biggest challenge is learning to trust myself, finding the right people that can believe in my dreams; and learning how to manage people in the right way to make sure they are helping me to grow”.
On her part, Mabel Simpson said she always had a love for art and studied visual arts in senior high school and Communication Design at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology for her undergraduate studies.
Madam Simpson mentioned the lack of support from her parents as a challenge at the initial stages, but overcame the challenge with perseverance and taught herself how to sew to meet a client’s deadline.
According to Madam Simpson, her journey reflected a challenge many entrepreneurs and startups faced, such as getting buy-in and building a trusted brand and emphasized the need for a CEO to understand all the different aspects of their operations.
Mr Maclean said his entrepreneurial journey started with his knack for wearing suits. Even in the university, he said, he wore a suit every chance which earned him the nickname “The Suit Guy “.
Mr Maclean’s vibrant persona, he said, had evolved into the brand, which occurred when he created a personal Instagram page and called it “The Suit Guy”, adding that bootstrapping was something many entrepreneurs should do to get started.
Mr Mclean said he started his company with GHS 300 from his National Service stipend.
He advised participants to “Wear their brand” and leverage storytelling to market their product.
Nana Asantewaa Amegashie, Senior Manager, Consumer Marketing, MTN Ghana, expressed satisfaction with the impact the organization was making through its partnership with Ahaspora to empower youth in entrepreneurship.
Madam Amegashie said MTN Ghana would continue to develop solutions that would enable the youth to be more efficient in running their businesses and as well as gain access to the broader markets through the power of technology.
The MTN Pulse ‘Just Be’ series is an empowerment program targeted at the youth and it is part of MTN Ghana’s initiative to empower and groom the youth to be business-oriented. It is also being organized as part of activities to mark MTN’s 25th Anniversary celebrations.
As a follow up to the event, Ahaspora is organizing a three-session virtual incubator program to provide participants with in-depth resources and tools that will help them thrive in entrepreneurship
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