The term social entrepreneurship was first coined by Bill Drayton in the early 1980s. Bill Drayton is the founder of Ashoka, an organization dedicated to finding and nurturing social entrepreneurs worldwide.
He believed that the most powerful force for good in the world is a social entrepreneur: a person driven by an innovative idea that can help correct an entrenched global problem. According to Ashoka, Bill Drayton’s organization, “world’s leading social entrepreneurs pursue system-changing solutions that permanently alter existing patterns of activity.”
That being said, Ghanaian chef, food stylist, and tv host, Elijah Amoo Addo embodies the characteristics of a man who pursues system-changing solutions that are greatly impacting the world as we know it.
About Elijah Amoo Addo
Elijah Amoo Addo was born and raised in Ghana. However, at the age of 11, Elijah Amoo Addo lost his parents and had to move in with his Aunty to Lagos, Nigeria. While schooling in Nigeria, Elijah Amoo took up a job as a cleaner in a restaurant to support the needs of siblings back home in Ghana.
At one point in time, Elijah Amoo Addo was in a hurry to leave for home after his cleaning was done. In a hurry, he accidentally threw away a sauce that the chef had prepared in a saucepan. This will be the turning point in Elijah Amoo’s destiny.
“One night in a hurry to go home, I threw away sauce which the chef had prepared in order to wash the saucepan. I remember the chef shouting at me, I started crying and burst out “Do you think if my Mummy was alive, I will be here as a cleaner while other kids are at home learning for exams?” This made the chef feel sorry for his actions and opened up his kitchen for me, adopting me as a son,” Elijah Amoo Addo recounted in an interview.
Since then, his interest had grown in the culinary arts, a major shift from his childhood dream of becoming a doctor. His interest also grew in the culinary arts as a result of the time he spent with his late mother in the kitchen.
“Whenever I cook, I feel her presence around me. This has always been my source of inspiration and passion for cooking,” Elijah Amoo said in an interview.
He soon became a Sous Chef and moved to Ghana where he worked for several restaurants and hotels such as Alisa hotel, Burger and Relish, Chase, and +233 Jazz bar.
Food for all Africa
In 2011, Elijah Amoo Addo was inspired to set up the non-profit organization, Food For All Africa after he came into contact with a mentally challenged man who picked leftover food from trash bins to feed his mentally challenged friend on the streets. His actions inspired Elijah to obtain excess food from restaurants to feed vulnerable communities.
This led to the formation of the Chefs for Change Ghana Foundation. He mobilized Ghanaian chefs to support the nutrition of low-income families in our society.
In 2015, Elijah resigned from his paid job as a Head Chef to start Food for All Africa. According to him, “Food for All Africa leverages on mobile technology to create efficient and sustainable means of nutrition for low-income families and vulnerable communities through food recovery and redistribution, as well as a forum for stakeholders within the food supply chain.”
Through his organization “Food For all Africa,” Elijah Amoo Addo is helping the hungry in Africa “by creating efficient and sustainable means of nutrition through food banking, diversity of long-term social development, awareness, educational and feeding programs.” Thus, Food For All Africa is a non-profit organization that addresses the issue of hunger amongst the underprivileged in Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa.
When asked about what his personal mission was? Elijah answered by saying “My personal mission is to use food as a catalyst for the socio-economic development of the African continent by leveraging on technology to ensure sustainable and efficient means of nutrition for all especially the vulnerable in society.”
Recognition and Awards
Elijah Amoo Addo has received several awards and recognition for his tremendous social enterprise. The most notable was when he was awarded by Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace as a 2017 Queens Young Leader, for his passion for supporting 5845 beneficiaries.
He once had this advice for young entrepreneurs, “Belief in your dreams. Two years ago around this time, I posted a picture of myself standing beside a picture frame of Queen Elizabeth. In a few days, I will be meeting her. Dreams do come through.”
It is worth mentioning that, Elijah Amoo Addo is a father of four and married to Wilhelmina Ayorkor Addo, Director of Eliwils Food Design Catering Services.