The youth wing of the Church of Pentecost (COP) organised a business event for young people in over 25 centres across Ghana. This was meant to empower them in Business.
Among other topics expoused to the participants were Moral Vision & Integrity, Business Strategy and Time Management and ‘Creating Opportunities in your Immediate Environment’. The program reached out to over 15,000 youth. Speakers who covered the program were the likes of Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyapong, Zoomlion Boss, Consultants from Osei-Kusi Foundation (OKF) and Consultants from AFReG.
Zoomlion Boss to the Youth; ‘Create Opportunities in your Immediate Environment’
Dr Siaw Agyapong, the Zoomlion Boss, urged young people in Business to learn to create opportunities from within their immediate environment.
Delivering the session to over 400 youth, Dr Siaw Agyapong made strong submissions about how young people could make their own life count, by identifying opportunities around them. Using his own life as a testimony, he stated that he started very small through a life that seemed like he has almost failed. He could not make it to secondary school immediately to pursue his vision of a Marine Engineer or a Pilot. He defined success as the “sum of small efforts repeated day in, day out.”
He trusted God to show him the way, upon which he decided to take his father’s advice of sticking to businesses. He started securing businesses for printing houses and earning a commission. He could sell anything he identified that people needed. Through that, he established the printing press which was his first business. He advised on another principle; to critically assess your immediate environment to identify people’s need and create a service out of it.
According to him, the ability of the entrepreneur to see is key, ‘the DNA of an entrepreneur is to see’. Once they have seen, they should be prepared to start small and be prepared to face the difficulties that arise out of his/her small efforts. He disclosed that he started Zoomlion from Bolgatanga which was a smaller market to roll out, before gradually expanding into the southern part of Ghana.
On financing he stated that it is always best to start your idea before thinking of ‘capital’. His words were, ‘anyone who says they are waiting for capital to start a business has already failed’. He additionally responded to a question on looking for investors for your business, that there are no ‘investors’ anywhere. People are their own investors and they should look hard at themselves and at best, relatives to finance and grow their businesses.
He advised though business plans are very important to a business, one should not necessarily be boggled down in preparing business plans and proposals before setting off with the business.
Most businesses, because they are starting small, do not really need a business plan to begin operations. The typical entrepreneur should be ready to take risks which he likened to ‘Jumping off a cliff before assembling an aeroplane on the way down’, quoting from Reid Hoffman.
He advised young people not to take out the God factor in doing business as it remains key to one gaining favour for certain engagements.