Admittedly, the dilemma of what one really wants to do being an entrepreneur as against what one ought to do, how to start it and it’s repercussions is just half the challenge of a budding entrepreneur. The other half is how to fund the business.
Kelvin Nyame, CEO and Co-founder of Meqasa Limited is one of the speakers at the Student Entrepreneurship Week Ghana slated for July 26th to 28th by #SFAN. From his perspective as an entrepreneur and businessman, the Entrepreneurial space is a young market that’s growing but cannot afford to compromise on creating value to meet the demands of the market.

The question is how do you struggle to fund your business and yet not compromise on value? How does the young entrepreneur raise funds? Okay let’s just assume the government of the day even have a support system in this regard. How many can have access to this fund and can this be the ultimate support any budding business will need?
That not withstanding, almost a year ago according to a Citifmonline report, the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP). During the launch , he confirmed the unemployment canker and the fact that the fund is to support entrepreneurs so to nip the former in the bud.

“Let me introduce you to the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan. This is the flagship initiative which will be the primary vehicle for providing an integrated national support for startups and small businesses. Despite the severe constraints of our public finances, which have resulted from years of mismanagement and corruption, Government has contributed US$10 million as seed money for the Plan. It is the intention that this seed money should be leveraged to raise money from private sources and public organizations to the tune of US$100 million to fund its programmes”, he elaborated.

 

He explained, the fund is meant to support budding business through “financing and business development services, to secure markets during the critical formative years, and to tap into a wide supply chain and network during their growth years, helping to create jobs at a widely distributed, national level.”
So there is hope… but let’s play the devil’s advocate here, having considered that there have been similar programme/plan by previous governments which seemed like “fairy tales” in the end: does this come across the ultimate funding solution?
Kelvin said the goal of a start-up is to create value. Now this is very critical to fundraising because at end of the day no investment or support system will give out money if they cannot guarantee the purpose for which it is going out is worth it. Now you may want to charge for this value “if possible” meaning you don’t charge for just anything, it should be worth the charge, when that is done, you can now think of becoming profitable.
He stated however that the problem with most of these start-ups is going about this process differently, but even that, they can be pardoned sometimes obviously because of different business models. However “I think there are some common variables though that are critical to making this a reality regardless of your business type”. More so, the entrepreneur should also consider people/team.
“ It’s extremely important you find good people who can execute. Keep them for a longer period if you can. I think an entrepreneur should identify that it’s a lot easier to work with the right people to building a usable solution for the problem than trying to do it all alone. He/she should be guided by data (if possible) to execute really fast. So less of gut feeling”

Meanwhile, After creating more value and making money, there is a need to evolve as a company by looking at the value chain and see if there’s something more you could add, product wise etc.
It is only prudent to warn that in as much as one MAY succeed in a venture that is driven by frustration of being unemployed, it is just not the way to go, Kelvin admonished. According to him, it usually doesn’t create a bigger impact because you’re likely to be solving a small problem just to make ends meet. “We need more passionate and dedicated entrepreneurs who can take problems that have the potential to expand and create a lot more opportunity for others than just themselves” he explained.

On the other hand we want to take a serious look at our school curriculum. He said stakeholders should find a suitable model that works for the University curriculum (Allowing students to take risk and think outside the box) because there are several problems that contribute to the unemployment menace. Amongst these are those the individual can work on such as identify one’s strengths and focus on developing it really well. “I know that out of desperation to land a job, people can be tempted to add all sorts of skills to their CV in an attempt to put them ahead of other candidates but unfortunately most Business owners I think are looking for that one thing that you really can execute on very well”.

Besides, he thinks students or even fresh graduates should spend time to challenge themselves by applying to internship position in other fields/industries rather than chasing for paid positions. Again spending some time to identify which field(s) you’re interested in or can be better at than looking for internships/jobs that pay.
Kelvin will be speaking on Fundraising at the event and is hopeful that the people this event is designed for at the end of the day have a lot of “takeaways”. He said they cannot afford to miss out on this considering the fact that organisers carefully chose experienced speakers to serve this purpose and to this he says KUDOS to #SFAN

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