Cheif Executive Officer of Horseman shoes, Tonyi Senayah says branding the President of Ghana during the state of the nation address in Parliament last year, was the biggest endorsement for him as a young local entrepreneur.
He made this comment on Tonyi Senaya’s Take on JoyNews MultiTV, in a hearty conversation with Albert Osei, CEO of Koko King, a growing brand in breakfast and Foods in Ghana and Mabel Simpson, CEO of mSimps, a local fashion accessories company, as they discussed entrepreneurship.
He says, the President’s endorsement of his products, challenged him to live up to the brand by producing shoes to meet the expectations of Ghanaians in terms of quality that can compete with International brands
Tonyi recounted meeting the President briefly at Peduasi Lodge as part of a group to discuss Ghana’s business environment, “and at the latter part of my submission, I said Mr President you have to wear Horseman shoes, and he said why not, and everybody laughed.”
The endorsement, he says, “went beyond me as a person. It was an inspiration for young people in the shoe making business, especially in Kumasi, which is the shoe hub of the country and the second largest employer of young people in Kumasi.”
The Koko King Boss stressed that branding and endorsements are good for young businesses but it is equally important as a company to position yourself to meet the demands of the market.
He described the unemployment situation in Ghana as a time bomb. As he put it, the “Buy made in Ghana goods campaign is laudable but the approach is not structured enough”.
“In Asia, government focussed on about fifteen private companies and invested capital, machinery, the right environment, and scaled them up to employ more people. This is unfortunately non-existent here in Ghana”, he emphasised.
Mabel Simpson pointed that our academic system does not allow us to think outside the box and we have become stereotyped as young people with no drive for innovation.
The fashion icon mentioned that, it is important for young businesses owners to learn from their mistakes, build the right network, research about their field, as well as partake in business management training and mentorship.
She also stressed on the importance of separating business finances from personal finances, and ploughing back profits to grow your business. Building a solid client base with good customer service and trust, in her view, is very essential for business growth.
On the issue of investment, Albert Osei said, apart from money, essential skills such as good record keeping are needed to manage a business, in order to attract investment; and a clear succession plan with clear focus and structures. He says brands should provide timely and efficient service which is accessible and affordable to clients.
He urged government and key institutions to empower growing businesses through funding, human resource capacity, training, technical support, infrastructure and land to help build capacity to create employment, wealth and widen the tax net for government.
Mabel Simpson has also received massive endorsement when the Joy FM super morning show, which also featured Albert Osei, broadcast live from her home. She appeared on BBC focus on Africa for her innovation.
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