MTN Ghana Pulse in partnership with Ahaspora Professionals Network hosted over 500 young entrepreneurs at the second edition of ‘MTN Pulse Just Be Series’.
The event themed ‘The Chase – Living your Passion’ targeted young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 – 30 years, to discuss how to ignite entrepreneurship with strategies and skills to scale passions for profit. Regina Honu, founder and CEO of Soronko Academy and Tech Needs Girls was the keynote speaker and she shared her story of how she fell in love with technology and coding at a younger age. Upon realizing that only 3 percent of ICT graduates worldwide are women with limited support for them, she founded Tech Needs Girls, a non-profit organization that teaches girls coding and provides mentorship.
Regina in her delivery said, she never knew she could be an entrepreneur because she was shy and risk-averse. When asked by the moderator, Apiorkor, how she balances work and family Regina answered, “You have to prioritize and find a supportive partner”. Regina’s parting advice was, “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”.
Sharing varying thoughts on how people could succeed in their quest to become entrepreneurs, panelists 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, shared real life experiences on how they turned their passion into business and the successes chalked so far.
Stephanie’s passion for makeup was unearthed in her teenage years when she sold cosmetics in various departmental shops in the USA and UK. She quit her job as an investment banker and moved to Ghana in 2014 to explore how to create a quality luxury brand for women of color. 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”. Mabel Simpson always had a love for art and studied visual arts in senior high school and Communication Design at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology for her undergraduate studies. She reiterated the lack of support from her parents at the initial stages, but with perseverance, she taught herself how to sew to meet a client’s deadline. Mabel’s journey reflects a challenge many entrepreneurs and startups face: getting buy-in and building a trusted brand. She emphasized the need for a CEO to understand all the different aspects of their operations.
Ekow Maclean’s entrepreneurial journey started with his knack for wearing suits. Even in university, he wore a suit every chance he got which earned him the nickname “The Suit Guy ”. Ekow’ s vibrant persona has evolved into the brand, which occurred when he created a personal Instagram page and called it “The Suit Guy”. Bootstrapping is something many entrepreneurs must do to get started; 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.
Senior Manager for Consumer Marketing at MTN, Nana Asantewaa Amegashie, expressed her satisfaction with the impact the organization is making through its partnership with Ahaspora to empower youth in entrepreneurship. She said, “MTN will continue to develop solutions that will enable the youth to be more efficient in running their businesses and also gain access to the broader markets through the power of technology”.
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. 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.
The MTN Pulse ‘Just Be’ series is an empowerment program targeted at the youth and it is part of the 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.