Posts Tagged ‘employment’

Conversations in Accra

Monday, March 9th, 2009

We are spending this week researching the themes that we will be presenting at the employability workshops in Koforidua and Takoradi – I will be covering “Business Planning” and “How to Start a Small Business”. As Nat and I were sitting in the internet café this morning researching the process of starting a small business (she will be presenting on financial planning), we realized that while there was a lot of information available online, some answers were also available just around the corner.

In order to learn more about what people need to start a small business, why not ask local Ghanaian entrepreneurs? We met a framer who had a small shop down the street and he was more than happy to share his experience with us. He had started his business with a small loan from his family and in the past ten years, he had managed to scale his business quite well, going from selling on the street walking around to setting up a shop on one of the main streets. He had also diversified his offerings to cater to different markets. He had also recently begun importing directly from China to reduce his costs. He stressed the importance of clear written contracts as there was a misunderstanding regarding some quality of product received, but it was a lesson learned.

From the conversation, it seemed that the qualities that were critical to his success were resilience and the self-discipline to save his profits and reinvesting it back into the business over the years.

A little further down the street, we met a woman who was working at a book cart and we asked her about how she had found that job as our group will also be offering resume workshops and interview skills. She had learned how to create a CV from a friend and had also found the job at the book cart through a friend. The situation seems to be similar in Canada, schools typically don’t teach students how to prepare a resume and most people find job through their networks. She was saving to eventually go back to school to become a nurse, something she had always felt drawn to. Like the framer, she also placed a great deal of importance on saving for the future.

It’s been fascinating learning more about the labour market in Ghana. More details to come as the workshop comes together.