Young startups facing daunting challenges

Ghana has seen a rise in youth-led enterprises over the past decade with the emergence of online marketing and digital technologies.

As the population grows, news and emerging needs arise and young people are finding creative ways to solve those problems as a way of creating employment for themselves and their peers in the ever competitive business environment.

Abraham Dzagbletey, a 26 year old media start up entrepreneur registered his company, Akpasa Media Network, in 2016 with the Registrar Generals Department and is involved in branding businesses, developing websites, training students and running a TV programme on Akpasa Media on the Ghana Institute of Journalism campus.

Another young person, 24 year old Edem Nyonator, started his unregistered business – Gari Vibes Incorporation. His company has taken a staple food, Gari, and branded it into an easy meal for busy workers.

Freda Astanga, who is 24 years old and still a student, has registered NutriShedd, an enterprise that is into smoothies, fresh juices and sandwiches packaged as a quick meal for students on different campuses.

These young entrepreneurs are part of a new generational mind shifters who are positioning themselves to be self-employed rather than actively look for office jobs. Abraham Dzagbletey believes that “growing in this growing world, white collar jobs are not enough to make a person survive economically. You have to do two or three jobs in other to earn good income to enable you rent a nice apartment and have a good living. But when you’re running your own business you’re able to multi task and build high value businesses.”

For others, creating one’s own business is a means to get off the queue of jobs in the offices. “Thousands of young people graduate each year and are looking for the same jobs that is being done by other people already. There are currently so many people in the offices who are not up to the age of 60 which is the required age to go on retirement so why not create a business to employ others to reduce the burden on the government?”, Edem Nyonator quizzed.

These young people who are excited about their business ventures also expressed diverse challenges they face as young start-ups. From difficulty in business registration to funding, they had to push harder to breakthrough with their business ideas.

“I needed to fight. I needed to make lots of sacrifices and find the right people to come on board because finding the right people sometimes is the critical part of every company and  it was something that pushed me a bit further,” Freda Astanga stated.

Edem Nyonator who has yet to register his Gari Vibes business also expressed the struggles to set up and operate smoothly. “Sincerely it wasn’t easy setting up Gari Vibes because I always say people can always start a business but sustaining it is the question. When certain things don’t go right then it means that will go through financial challenges and all of that but you should have good grounds to sustain a company,” he mentioned.

That notwithstanding, mentorship programmes for young startups and seed funding remain important to encourage young people to enter into viable businesses.

“I think young entrepreneurs need support because that is the only way they can grow in the business world. We need mentorship. There should be an office run by government to guide these young entrepreneurs like us to not to make certain mistakes. We need that mentorship and guidance so that we can all succeed,” the young CEO of Apkasa Media reiterated.

Rebecca Marteki Markwei