It all started as Africa Internship Academy, where Mr. Emmanuel Leslie Addae, and his team had a goal to train people who had the ambition of starting their own businesses instead of looking for a job after school. As the company grew, they had to change the business model to linking young professionals to job opportunities, while adding entrepreneurship into their program. Entrepreneurship, however, became 80 per cent of their core activities. They trained people to start their own businesses and offered them access to funding opportunities. At some point, the purpose of organizing internship programs was no longer the focus of the organization which led the company to rebrand as the Africa Skills Hub.
With a mission of helping over 1 million young people to get jobs by 2030 while reducing unemployment through the creation of start ups and businesses, the company began working hand in hand with government to offer training and funding support to employees and entrepreneurs alike. According to Mr. Addae, government funds helped them to work effectively to further grow the business into what it is today.
Sharing on his challenges as an entrepreneur, he explained that starting a business without passion in Ghana can prove difficult. Other challenges for the entrepreneur includes, stiff tax regulations and improper structures for the regulation processes. ”For instance, when you go to GRA and say you want to register a business, they make you go through long processes before you get registered while in other countries, you can easily register one within three days,” he lamented. As a skills and talent manager, the entrepreneur cum career coach noted that it is much easier when for an organization to work in tangent with government institutions since the government is already on a mission of creating jobs for the people, to alleviate the unemployment challenges in the country.
For him, aligning to government initiatives, such as, NABCO, YEA, and NSS has been useful for his organization. For instance, he disclosed that his organization had the opportunity to train the newly recruited NABCO trainees in partnership with the government.
”Initially when I travelled to London, I wanted to start my business there. I however realized that there are more opportunities to start a business in Ghana due to the skills training gap which I decided to launch into,” Mr. Addae explained. Furthermore, he advised that money should not be one’s main focus when starting a business since the first three to five years is for breaking even. Speaking on the need for focus, he disclosed that every entrepreneur needs to focus on being able to run the business effectively while finding ways to cover costs at the initial stages of the business, adding that, making huge profits comes in the long term.
According to Mr. Addae, competitors come in the form of direct and indirect ones. What his organization is doing differently from others is having an online platform where skills assessments and online courses are available for trainees and clients. As entrepreneurs one key lesson that we must learn is selling skills and that is what sets the Africa Skills Hub apart from everyone else. Whatever you do, you need to know how to sell it. ”When I hear young entrepreneurs saying they are into social enterprises and NGOs without having revenue streams, it saddens me. You need to find a revenue stream which fetches you more money to run whichever initiative you are into,” the Africa Skills Hub cofounder revealed.
According to the businessman, starting a business requires the use of better strategies rather than focusing all attention on making money. A lesson Mr Addae left with our readers is that in the scheme of entrepreneurship, one does not necessarily have to focus on fixed costs such as rent rather, one must explore free tools and resources at the initial stages of their business if they want to succeed. He concluded by advising young people to use their leisure time to learn new skills which are relevant for today’s job market in order to stay relevant in their various fields of work.
The Thriving in Ghana Series is an initiative by www.justicaanima.com that features Ghanaian business moguls who share their stories on how they have successfully built and maintained a career, business, or developmental project in Ghana.