Although Ghana’s GDP is only some 0.23% of that of the United States, Ghanaians are quickly and increasingly establishing themselves in the entrepreneurial world. According to the Mastercard Index of Women’s Entrepreneurship, Ghana is actually producing the most female entrepreneurs out of any country in the world. Additionally, with the Ghanaian government getting involved in fostering entrepreneurial talent, it surely won’t be long before Ghana starts to give rise to more successful entrepreneurs and business leaders.
A part of the mission to empower more Ghanaian entrepreneurs is Emmanuel Nyame, co-founder of Educational Communities Worldwide, an organization dedicated to closing the youth skills gap, Kairos Fellow, and author of Rise Above, a book he launches today, July 16th 2018; having just released his book, Emmanuel already has endorsements from the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, among other top leaders.
Today, we had the chance to chat with Emmanuel to learn more about his story, how he got started, and why he does what he does today.
Steven: How did you get started in entrepreneurship?
Emmanuel: When I was younger I was always interested in trying new things additional to the things that I was already accustomed to. What really triggered my entrepreneurial spirit though was Junior Achievement, a program that I participated in during high school. JA allowed me to learn more about business, and having read about a number of businesses previously, I started to get interested in entrepreneurship. JA and my reading pushed me to pursue a career that would allow me to impact people, so there would be no better way than starting something of my own.
Steven: What drove you to found Educational Communities Worldwide?
Emmanuel: So I ran the Ghana Startup Cup, a pitch competition that we ran in collaboration with the US Embassy in Ghana. I thought, “wow, wouldn’t it be great if students had mentors, and other opportunities” as I ran the pitch event. I recognized that everything I learned about business, every bit of mentorship I had received up until then was from Junior Achievement. It was clear to me that I wouldn’t have been as good at what I do if it were not for JA. So I realized that we need to give students this kind of exposure to business in order to help them realize and achieve their potential. I wanted to give Africans and other young people the opportunity to succeed in business, just as JA had given me a chance to achieve my dreams.
Steven: So you recently wrote a book, Rise Above. Could you tell us more about why you wrote the book and what it’s about?
Emmanuel: Rise Above is an accumulation of my experiences growing up, including the challenges, successes, and things I learned from my entrepreneurial journey. It was important to me to inspire other Africans and give them the power to believe in themselves and to think larger than the norm, which our society perpetuates. With the belief that each person has a unique potential for themselves, I wanted to write about the steps that young people could take to start successful careers. And that’s what the book is all about.
Steven: You’re also a recipient of the prestigious Kairos Fellowship. What has Kairos taught you and how do you leverage its platform to grow your influence and impact?
Emmanuel: I got into Kairos on a recommendation from another fellow African entrepreneur. Kairos is amazing because I’m able to meet great people around the world who are building million-dollar companies. It is so inspiring and to me, it has been a great exposure in allowing me to believe in myself and what I do while observing all the different ways that other fellows are changing the world. Kairos pushes me to be better and focus on building something that is going to provide a solution to problems within the community that I live in. It has really been a game-changer for me and taught me the importance of networking and surrounding myself with people who are much more accomplished than I am.
Emmanuel’s 3 Tips for Young Entrepreneurs
- Be Serious About Your Potential: It’s important to realize that you have the potential to succeed if you know if which areas to improve at and understand that you have to put in a lot of work to make it happen.
- Grow Your Network: The people you surround yourself make up who you become. You can start with attending events in town (many of them are free). It’s not about just seeing these people – try to get into contact with them and grow that relationship. Try to learn from them; there’s always something you can learn from any other person.
- Rise Above Challenges: Difficulties show you things that you could never learn from school. You can move on or you can dwell, but at the end, you need to move on and learn from your difficulties and make the most of your challenges.
Emmanuel’s resourcefulness and deep understanding of building business relationships has gotten him far in business today; surely, as he continues to foster entrepreneurship within Ghana, we’ll hear more about his work in the years to come.
Steven is the founder of ProjectileX, Managing Editor of Youth Business Collective, Fellow at Stanford’s Designership Institute, and Member of the Youth Skills Initiative at Global Business Coalition for Education.