With all the start-ups and entrepreneurs coming out of Africa, are we – Africans – taking a moment to look at them, really look at them and what they offer in terms of innovation, value add and possibility? If we are, are we supporting them to the full extent possible? The easy response to that question is no, not enough. Sure, we may purchase some of their products, share links here and there on African entrepreneurs and start-ups that have been picked up by global media houses like CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, but is that the same as spearheading the identification, celebration and support for innovative African entrepreneurs and Africa-centered initiatives?
If we don’t celebrate our changemakers, who will? Ultimately, we – Africans – should be giving story leads on our entrepreneurs, innovations to international media to pick up on – not the other way around.
In Ghana’s case, the response to the second question might be a bit murky – and that’s precisely why Circumspecte partnered with Re-Connect GH to launch the Re-Connect Entrepreneur Spotlight.
Since 2011, Re-Connect GH has organized a two carefully curated professional networking events; events which serve as a bridge between young professionals, changemakers and entrepreneurs in Ghana and those in the Diaspora – to facilitate interaction, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration. Powered by Circumspecte, the Entrepreneur Spotlight celebrates Ghanaian entrepreneurs and changemakers who fuse local innovation with global orientation, while capturing their powerful, inspiring stories. More importantly, it creates a unique environment for entrepreneurs to share insights with each other and explore possible partnerships – essentially kicking against the “competition at all cost” culture that seems to be ingrained in our society to one of “collaborative effort”. Ultimately, celebrating and supporting our entrepreneurs will not only encourage them to add value and continue innovating, but will also help scale up the quality of home-grown products and services coming out of Ghana, Africa. By jumpstarting a collaborative culture we will ensure that we avoid duplication of effort and push each other to be innovative in addressing issues (versus simply copying).
The first cohort of Spotlight Honorees were celebrated during Re-Connect 2013 (see how it went) and featured some of Ghana’s most promising entrepreneurs and brands. These are some of the people who are contributing to literally changing the landscape of Ghana’s – and Africa’s – economy (you might want to check them out):
- Deborah Ahenkorah, Golden Baobab
- Kweku Akrofie, Real Peoples Company
- Regina Agyare, Soronko Solutions
- Nana B. Osei, Bohten
- Fred Degbe & Vijay Manu, Heel the World
- Nelly Hagan Aboagye, Duaba Serwa
How did Re-Connect 2013 impact the 2013 Spotlight Honorees? Which qualities do they deem necessary for every aspiring entrepreneur? Who do they draw inspiration from?
Deborah Ahenkorah, Kweku Akrofie and Regina Agyare share their impressions in this video produced by Excelsis (FashionistaGH). Charity they say, begins at home. Watch and share the video (below) – join us in recognising, celebrating and supporting our own.
Selection of the 2014 Spotlight Honorees will commence next month; stay tuned for updates via Circumspecte and Re-Connect GH’s website, Twitter and Facebook pages. Interested in attending Re-Connect 2014? Save the Date.
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.