The Comedian And Platinum Entrepreneurial Solutions Conference 15 : Was It A Success?
There is no doubt that we have entered a new era in Africa; the era of entrepreneurship. A clear indication that people are beginning to take the bull by the horns and blast their way into the next phase of Africa’s prosperity.
Week after week we hear of entrepreneurship conferences happening at one corner of town or the other. Week after week, new businesses are born. Week after week, global leaders emerge. Akosua Konadu Owusu, Platinum Exposure and the Knutsford Fraternity will not be left out of the game changers revolution. Theirs is the Platinum Entrepreneurial Solutions Conference (PESC 15) held at Knutsford University College on 22nd October, 2015. The conference was billed to begin at 10am.
Knutsford University College is located on Bamako road behind Mensvic Grand Hotel. The University is hidden in the crevice of plush East Legon with a design like one of England’s Old Cathedrals. Painted colour white including the generator that sat at the entrance.
Inside the auditorium; I was amazed by the number of roll-up stands mounted. Akosua’s team had managed to secure sponsorship from Tigo Ghana, ASN Financial Services, Surfline, Kwaku David, Invents, First Capital Plus, America Cola, Rush energy Drink, FiestaGH, Ende, Roots, Indomie, Minimie, T-Best among others. This is by far the largest pool of sponsors I have witnessed for an event of this kind this year. Event organisers will help themselves by seeing Akosua for some tips.
Foster Romanus is in the building!!! The rising Ghanaian comedian hovered around. Initially, I assumed he was billed as one of the mentors for the day; perhaps, there are those who desire to make a living by ‘fooling’ themselves left right centre. I was wrong. He was to be the Master of Ceremony. Akosua paaaa!!! Hahahahahahaha
Ato Ulzen Appiah of Ghana Think Foundation; the face behind Bar Camps, Adu Amani of Adu Amani Clothing and Paul Agbai of Invents drove participants through this segment. Ato Ulzen molested his mentoring class with questions, such that when you answered, another was waiting. He’s got some amazing perspectives to raising capital and about understanding your Customer. Ultimately, he advised, ‘start small’ and ‘if your application for sponsorship is rejected, still invite the individual or organization to attend your event.’
We did not have to wait for long before the crème de la crème issue surfaced like in all entrepreneurship gatherings: ‘How to raise capital’. Ato surely knew what was coming. He asked,‘For instance, if we gave you three thousand Ghana Cedis for your business, how will you use it?’ People’s eyes widened and they became ever alert. A middle-aged man answering said, ‘Ah! This money is too small for my business.’
Like seriously? I almost burst with laughter. There were some pretty answers though. Ato capped the session by sharing how his organization secured funding for the maiden Bar camp. Do contact Ato for details.
Foster Romanus then ‘forced’ us to sing happy birthday song for the Lead Coordinator Akosua Konadu Owusu. Foster, fascinated by cute Adu Amani insisted she led the birthday song for Akosua. Ah! Singing too be force? (laughs). Please come closer, I need to whisper what I’m just about to say.
(Earlier, in introducing Adu Amani, Foster Romanus said ‘Let’s welcome with a round of applause Mr. Adu Amani’. Like seriously? Ms Oyoo Quartey was the other victim of his overdose comedy. ‘Let’s welcome Ms. Oyoo Quartey, Co-founder of Story Foundry).How? Foster? How? It’s Store Foundry ok. Meanwhile, his eyes fixated curiously on the writings in the programme leaflet from which he read. Well?
Keynote Address by Mr. Kwabena Essel; Founder of Knutsford University College
‘By the 18th century, the whole world moved to the use of machines to do what man earlier did with their hands. Those who took advantage today are called industrialized countries.’ Mr. Essel punched. He spoke at length weaving in and out of history, business, Ages, Psychology, Economic Outlook, Students, Entrepreneurs and the future.
‘See opportunities and think outside the box in solving problems’ was how Mr. Essel brought his train to a halt. The Visionary had spoken for close to an hour admonishing participants. Naa Oyoo Quartey’s task was to be more difficult. How? She needed to win back the attention of those students who felt they had just been subjected to a ‘boring’ doctoral lecture, lengthy? Yes, but any aspiring entrepreneur cannot ignore the admonishing of a successful entrepreneur in the person of Mr. Kwabena Essel who founded the University. What have you founded?
Oyoo Quartey Releases The Brakes and Accelerates
As first speaker of the day, Oyoo Quartey, Co-founder of Store Foundry and a Social Media Enthusiast knew that she had the unenviable task of setting the pace and energy that would mark the event’s success or otherwise. She released the brakes by opting to descend the podium and rather talk with participants. Her point was unmistakable. She had not come to preach.
‘How many of you are doing what you really love to do?’ Oyoo asked. She didn’t expect an immediate answer but to provoke participant’s thought process. Participants adjusted their bottoms in the red couches and sat upright in order to grasp the core of her message . She continued.
‘We have to learn to kill mediocrity, we have to kill it.’Oyoo challenged. I mused, ‘eeeii Oyoo, It seems like you have come paaa’. Clearly, she was levelling mental strongholds. Me? Lying? Alright, let me prove it. Oyoo asks two students who the founder of Facebook was. They had no idea. These are university students for God’s sake. She knew she could hit harder and score the goal. Their minds were fertile.
‘A lot of you waste time on social media just chatting your time away’ her sultry voice sank through; one could literally touch the passion which accompanied her every utterance.
‘We have to kill that thing where people say Made in Ghana goods are not good’ Wow, some rhyming. Good! ‘We have to learn to talk less and do more, Something that cause people pain and you bring the idea, they’ll pay you for it.’ She took some questions. She was done for the day.
Jesse Jets Off
Foster Romanus in introducing the next speaker said ‘When I began my career as a comedian some years back, people thought I was an armed robber. It was this man who encouraged me and ten years down the lane; I look back and say wow’. ‘It is my singular pleasure to invite Mr. Jesse Agyapong, the Marketing Director of Tigo Ghana.’ Foster announced beaming with smiles.
A well groomed young man in his late thirties took the floor. His first statement was a question cum appeal cum instruction. He asked participants who sat at the back to move forward. Their response was snailish. He makes the appeal again and a third time. Still, the response was snailish. Jesse says, ‘If I fail at persuading you to come forward, I might fail at communicating my simple message to you today.’Boom! Period!
Jesse takes off without further camaraderie, as if to say ‘Join the flight or join the flight’. In the most practical of ways, Jesse compresses a marketing degree course into a thirty minute presentation.
Using the case of the lanky student of New Century Training School who wishes to start a business in the energy supply sector, Jesse traversed the terrains of Problem identification and Analysis, Customer Identification and Segmentation, Competitive Advantage, Target Consumer Understanding Tool and Marketing Brand Funnel.
I was amazed at how he brought marketing home and explained the concept of ‘A day in the life of your customer’. People like Jesse are needed in classrooms too. No, he is more needed on the field. And to imagine that Jesse has not branded himself a speaker speaks a ton. If he does explore this area, Tigo Ghana risks losing him to full time speaking in the long run.
‘The greatest joy you have is when the customer moves from consideration to purchase your product’…Jesse Agyapong definitely went beyond the consideration stage in the minds of his listeners.
John Armah grabs the Baton
John Armah, Director of the Ghana Centre for Entrepreneurship, Employment and Innovation received the baton with firmly planted feet. He sprints forth with a talk on the essence of having a Business Plan.
‘I thought a business plan was not important until I went into business, so I refer to it being the document that will guide my thoughts’. John’s delivery is a replica of John the Baptist in the Bible. Though I could hand count the number of people in the auditorium, he spoke as though he were addressing a thousand-seater audience. There are those who get discouraged when the crowd they expect to speak with is less by one. He was not bothered by the numbers.
‘If you have the idea but don’t find the people who are ready to pay for it, then you are not in business. The idea is not the success; the business is the success, Let me tell you, ideas exists already, the difference is in how you structure yours.’ John said.
About funding, he opined that, ‘When you don’t have the wisdom to know where the capital is, how do you access it? I did not have a cedi when I started my business. You said you’ve done graphic designing, you have a laptop and you say you are unemployed, fire burn you!’
Not just these, he possesses a rare skill at posing red-hot questions. He asks questions in a way that stops you in your holy tracks, forcing you to go like ‘I think I can do better.’
I advise you get in touch with John for a chat. I intend to do same. In wrapping up, he quoted 1 Corinthians 3:16: ‘I planted, Apollos watered but God gave the increase’. Mr. John Armah, of the Orios Group had planted. Bernard Kelvin Clive was going to water.
Amazon Best Seller Bernard Opens Doors
‘Most of us have lost our true identity. We have lost our identities in the shoes of others. We are in the wrong tracks but we are running very fast. When you look back, beyond your wigs and make-ups, who are you?’, ‘Are you sitting and your heart standing? You are doing one thing but your heart is in another thing’ Bernard asked. ‘I came to resurrect the dead.’ Bernard began with aplomb.
He then took participants through ‘PURPOSE’ which as he defines it mean Passion, Understanding, Resources, Position, Opportunities, Service, and Earn.
Bernard Kelvin Clive plays the ‘Sweeper’ role, a football term for a special kind of midfielder. I can even liken him to the Fernando Torres of Chelsea against Barcelona in 2012 and the Neymar Jnr of Barcelona against Bayern Munich in 2014. At his peak, He is the ‘Zinedine Zidane’ of Branding and Success Coaching.
He operates like the ‘queen’ piece in the game of Chess. He mops up the speech of his colleagues with such mastery that’s been tested of fire, brimstone, water, thunder, lightning and dumsor. No wonder he kept asking participants, ‘When you are naked, when you are naked, when you are naked, who really are you?’ (not physical nakedness though). Bernard is usually the last man to walk off the pitch. He symbolises the embodiment of Consistency and an amalgamation of little things done well.
No wonder he defines himself as ‘the man who opens doors’. He closed the Platinum Entrepreneurial Solutions Conference 2015 but no doubt opened the door of hope for his listeners and friends.
Yeah! There was a lunch break along the line. I had America Cola drink and 7A unique Pie, while chatting the time away with Adu Amani, Founder of Adu Amani Clothing. (A one-on-one with Adu Amani coming soon and I’m excited already) I used the lunch break to visit the exhibition stands and the items on display were amazing, mostly handcrafts.
The program closed around 4:30pm, only downside being delay in start of event. John Armah according to the programme line-up was to speak at 12:50 but it wasn’t until 3pm before it was his turn. Akosua admitted the delay, apologized and promised to incorporate lessons learnt into their next event.
I made some new friends including Nana, Laud, Chris and Baaba. Wonderful people trust me. Thank you for staying with us. I hope you enjoyed the read. I’ll love to hear from you and very importantly, your suggestions and feedback. Also, do let us know if you have an event coming up, I’d love to do a special review for you. Spid-up