The outlet is to give exposure to the company, as well as provide an opportunity for its customers to have a first-hand assessment of the shoes and make orders for them.
The launch brought together some top industry players, representatives of foreign missions, ministers, musicians, and some media personnel.
They included the Minister of State in charge of Private Sector Development, Alhaji Rashid Pelpuo, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Nii Lantey Vanderpujie, the President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Mr James Asare Adjei, the Chief Executive Officer of UT Bank, Mr Prince Kofi Amoabeng, and the former Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akomea.
Others were the Trade Advisor at The Royal Netherlands Embassy, Mr Marnix Zegers, the Regional Trade Coordinator , UK Trade and Investment of the British High Commission, Mr Frank Hagan-Brown, and the Information Officer at the United States Embassy, Madam Jeanne Clark.
Horseman CEO Address
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Horseman Shoes, Mr Tonyi Senaya, said at the launch that the vision of the company was to be the biggest footwear manufacturing company in terms of employment and brand preference in Africa.
He said most young people went into vocations such as shoemaking, among others, not because they had a passion for it but because they saw it as the last alternative to academic progression.
“But we at Horseman Shoes want to change the story we seek to create the environment and platform for young people with the skills and talents to maximise their potential,” he said
Mr Senaya said in as much as there was a ‘Buy Made-in-Ghana’ campaign, local manufacturers and service providers should produce world-class standards and give the Ghanaian consumers value for their money.
He also called on the government to consider creating a footwear manufacturing village in Kumasi, which is the hub of shoemaking in the country.
That, he said, would help create employment for a greater number of young people, adding that technical and vocational education should be re-branded to attract more people into the vocational trade businesses.
Mr Senaya said the establishment of the showroom was to afford the public the avenue to examine the products and to also shift the focus from request-based orders to a mass production.
He said the company, which started four years ago, made its appearance through social media websites, as well as friends who recognised the products and also recommended the brand to friends.
He said the recent endorsement made by President John Dramani Mahama during the State of the Nation Address was a good testament that the product had come to stay not only in Ghana but in other countries.
“We want to take Ghana to the world by establishing ourselves in countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, the United States of America, among other countries,” he said.
Access to Finance
On access to finance, Mr Senaya said it had not been easy for the company as banks and investment organisations turned down its proposals because “we are small and they say they do not often support start-up companies”.
He said while the outlook for business was good as per the growing market, there was more to do to establish a shoe and leather industry in Ghana.
“At the moment, we don’t have an industry yet. It is largely undefined as everyone does whatever suits him, and we cannot even talk about local competition as our capacity relative to foreign brands, is very, very small,” Mr Senaya said.
He said another challenge resulting from the unmitigated environment was the virtual field day enjoyed by leather importers who changed their prices at will but expressed optimism that the situation would get better in the coming years.
In his remarks, the Minister of State in charge of Private Sector Development, Alhaji Pelpuo, lauded the effort of the company for reviving the shoe industry in Ghana.
He said the move was a living testament of the government’s commitment to support the local industries in the country.