Happy Ghana Independence
Independence celebrations are always an opportunity for Ghanaians around the world to celebrate our culture, to reflect on our history and progress as a nation thus far. This year I wanted to look to the future and celebrate the work of Ghanaians within my community here in the UK.
I’ve curated this list of 5 British Ghanaian entrepreneurs to watch in 2019. Individuals whose ventures excite me and that I think you should know about!
Stephan Eyeson, CEO Survey54
Stephan is tackling an age-old problem in Africa: the lack of quality data that could drive effective policy making and allow businesses to tap into a growing market of consumers that are desperately misunderstood.
Stephan’s experience at Survey Monkey (as one of their first employees in London) and passion for African development led to Survey54 a tech-powered research platform that makes it easier to get answers to vital questions in Africa, emerging markets and minority communities globally. “We believe the emerging market consumer will be one of the most valuable in a few years and we will be the company which understands them the most.” What excites me about Survey 54 is the potential for this platform to play a key role in pushing Africa’s narrative forward by sourcing data that will begin to tell the rich and unique stories of African consumers and minority groups.
I asked Stephan what Ghana’s Independence means to him as a British Ghanaian entrepreneur, he said “Ghana independence today highlights to me an opportunity for those in the diaspora to contribute back home economically to create jobs and also to partner with those on the ground already. It also means finding opportunities that Ghanaians can take a hold of to make our mark globally as well as in the UK.“
Look out for surveys and reports by Survey54!
Izzy Obeng, Founding Director Foundervine
Izzy’s passion for diversity in tech led to the creation of Foundervine a startup community helping underrepresented founders build startups from scratch. Izzy started her career at KPMG in management consulting where Foundervine first began to take shape, before leaving to commit to supporting small business creation across the UK, “We were founded by five young black professionals who were frustrated with the lack of support for young women and minority entrepreneurs. At Foundervine, we are reducing inequality in global tech by building pop-up entrepreneurship labs in large organisations that help young people from underrepresented communities imagine, start and grow new ventures.”
As one of the founding members of Foundervine, I’m certainly excited about the future and plans to support, connect and incubate minority founders in 2019, particularly through our flagship programme Startup 54. As Izzy explains, “We deliver a high-impact, immersive entrepreneurship lab called Startup 54, so called because of its simple model: 60 participants, 54-hours to build a startup.”
Izzy’s vision for Foundervine, however, goes beyond the UK but is an approach she plans to take to Ghana and across Africa “As a British Ghanaian and entrepreneur, I know that inclusive approaches to innovation are key to Africa’s growth – we have continuously seen traditional startup incubation models fail founders from emerging markets. Across the African continent, the digital technology sphere is expanding 4x faster than the UK, but skills development has not kept pace. Ghana’s independence will come from a renaissance in youth entrepreneurship, in equipping the leaders of our country’s future to grow.“
Raphael and Kwaku Dapaah, Founders Dapaah Group Ltd.
When I first launched my blog 2 years ago the first people I interviewed were The Dapaah Group Ltd, a family run holding company committed to processing and adding value to Africa’s raw materials starting with the cocoa bean, “Our first brand, Dapaah Chocolates, specialises in hand-crafted dairy-free chocolate from the finest organic cocoa from Ghana, and the most premium natural ingredients sourced from across Africa.” This year, the group have officially launched trading on their website after months of research, planning and visits back home and this is just the beginning. Dapaah Chocolates isn’t just about a sweet treat (although that it is) but a step towards job creation and development in Africa’s rural communities. It’s encouraging to know that through this brand were able to play our part in the empowerment of the continent and support a small black-owned business at the same time.
Given their mission of prosperity and development, Ghana’s independence marks a special time for The Dapaah Group, “Ghana independence means everything to our company; it epitomises our core values and is our raison d’etre. For us, liberation is not just about self-governance and rule, it is also about taking control and responsibility of our destinies by being economically and socially empowered through industrialising and creating sustainable jobs for our people. Ghana must be financially free and self-sufficient to truly be an independent nation. Dapaah Group Ltd exists today to play our role as part of this wider economic liberation and anti-neocolonialism movement.”
Stephanie Adu – Founder Colorbox Cosmetics
Born in London, Stephanie left a career in the city to pursue her passion for beauty and business in Ghana. She launched Colorbox Cosmetics a pioneering affordable luxury cosmetics brand of choice for the modern African woman founded in the cosmopolitan city of Accra, “Our brand focuses on providing high-quality products that help Ghanaian women stay ahead of beauty trends with ease.” What is particularly interesting about the roots of this brand is that although the industry remains saturated here in the UK, Stephanie identified a gap in the Ghanaian market for a brand like Colorbox Cosmetics, which pro-actively seeks to keep pace with the global beauty trends, and seamlessly blends this knowledge with extensive local industry research meaning customers get the best of both worlds. Stephanie explains, “This ensures we offer relevant & practical products at an unbeatable value. As we continue to grow rapidly, we are also committed to providing great customer service to our loyal growing client base.“
Colorbox Cosmetics is fast growing into a major competitor within the Ghanaian beauty industry, with the brand being nominated for the ‘Most Promising Ghanaian Owned Brand’ at the 2016 & 2018 Makeup Ghana Awards.
As a returnee, as well as a British Ghanaian entrepreneur Ghana independence to Stephanie, is about the legacy of trailblazing and continual development, “With Ghana being the 1st black African country to gain independence, this symbolic event consistently re-iterates the extraordinary pioneering spirit that we must never let go of as Ghanaians. Being a British Ghanaian, who has worked in and understands the synergies and differences in both cultures, puts me in a unique position to assist in the small ways I can to develop our beloved emerging Ghana. The significance of our independence across the continent stands as a constant reminder, that I must play my part in assisting my country to continue being the 1st in many more positive aspects – both economically and socially on
For orders and enquiries:
Nana Darko Head of Operations at TRIM-IT
Nana is a founding team member of the U.K’s first mobile powered mobile barbershop TRIM-IT. How does it work? “you book via our app and a barber will come to your location of choice, take your jacket, offer you a beverage, connect your phone to our Bluetooth speakers, give you a hair consultation, cut your hair (and beard), give you a hot towel and the fire hair treatment!” TRIM-IT is committed to creating a seamless experience for its customers, “We will restore you to the best version of yourself so you are ready to get out there and conquer your world,” Nana explains. What I love about TRIM-IT aside from its innovation is the fact that it is a solution for and by the community it serves, which isn’t something we see often enough!
Reflecting on Ghana’s independence Nana draws on coming into his identity as a British Ghanaian, he says “At a young age I never really understood the importance of Ghana independence, I didn’t understand my roots and what it meant to be a Ghanaian. A few of my British Ghanaian mates have probably been through the “shipping” experience as I did. At the time I hated it and thought I had the worst parents because of this decision to send me back home but it turned out to be one of the best things that had ever happened to me. I experienced Ghana for what it really was. It showed me the importance of our independence and what our founding fathers fought for. Happy Independence Day from one Ghanaian to all Ghanaians
YEN ARA ASAASE NI!”
Book via the TRIM-IT app to receive your first haircut free!
Whose businesses/ ventures are you excited about? Share them below I’d love to hear from you!