Youth unemployment has always remained high over the years in Ghana. This has continually raised a sense of alarm among societal members and the government given its negative impact on the socio-economic and political climate of a country.
In September of 2020, the World Bank issued a report titled “Youth Employment Programs in Ghana: Options for Effective Policy Making and Implementation.” In the report, it stated that Ghana is faced with 12% youth unemployment and more than 50% underemployment, both higher than overall unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan African countries. According to Statista, in 2009, 2014, and 2015, youth unemployment stood at 10.66%, 13.61%, and 14.17% respectively.
Despite the high rate of unemployment at the time of which Israella Kafui Mansu was a victim, she did not let that be a hindrance to her career development. Instead, she embraced entrepreneurship and began her journey to become one of Ghana’s successful entrepreneurs. She thus started Mansuki Ghana Limited, a skincare producing business.
Israella Kafui Mansu- early life of the graduate entrepreneur
Israella Kafui Mansu was born on 26 October 1985 in Sogakope in Ghana but moved to Liberia with the family where she spent 6 years before moving back to Ghana due to the onset of war.
Upon her return to Ghana, at age 6, she enrolled in Sogasco Primary in Sogakope, moved to Dabala Primary and JHS, and later St. Francis Demonstration JHS in Hohoe, where she took her BECE. The shifts in schools were a result of the transfers her mother went through due to her work as a school matron.
After completing Junior High Israella gained admission into Anfoega senior high school in the Kpando District to study Home Economics. She then went on to the University of Ghana where she completed her tertiary education with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Consumer Science and Psychology.
After her completion of National Service in 2009, like most youth, Israella went out in search for a job but to avail. Instead of breaking down and being derailed by her circumstance, she was rather motivated to use the little resource she had on her to start a business.
With the little capital of GHS300 which the graduate entrepreneur gathered from savings during her National Service exercise she started researching into the natural cosmetic ingredients. This began her business of formulating cosmetic products using her kitchen as a laboratory.
According to Israella in an online news interview, she started the company with “two main visions in mind, to make money to survive, and create jobs to employ people because the rate of unemployment in the country now is just so high and pathetic, so these factors motivated me to start this very company.”
Today, Israella products are being exported to other African countries, Europe, the United States of America and Asia.
Recognition and Awards
Israella, in 2012, participated in Enablis Ghana’s Business Launch Pad competition and Ghana Startup Cup where she placed 2nd and 1st runner-up respectively.
In April 2013, she was awarded at a ceremony in South Africa by the deputy minister of Trade and the European Women Inventors and Innovation Association in Sweden.
During an online interview, she expressed gratitude in her achievements and the experiences she had to go through to set up her business.
“Today, I would have lost a lot, trust me, because things really have changed 4 years down the line. Five years ago, I applied for a visa to go to the US and I was bounced but today I have business meetings with the ambassador of the US to Ghana in his own home and the staff in the US Embassy know me due to my products…”
Israella Kafui Mansu’s story teaches that no amount of resources is too little to start a successful business venture. Just like Israella any resources you have at your disposal can be turned into a worthwhile venture. All you have to do is tap into that little resource, seek knowledge through research, put in the work and most importantly never be derailed by present circumstances. The sky will be the limit.