In 1969 when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon he proclaimed those two footprints to be “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” On March 18, 2017 fifteen budding Ghanaian business and social entrepreneurs living abroad (largely in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey) gathered on the 9th Floor of the Museum of Art & Design for brunch. That was the beginning of a unique experience of discovering and supporting each other; and thinking through engagement with mother Ghana. The 13 men and two ladies believed they were taking one giant leap for themselves and for Ghana. The event was organized by the effervescent Mr. Charles Nimmo Ntiamoah-Mensah well known as “Mr. CNN” under the banner of his 3G Media, Inc. The author served as the moderator and the event was graced by the hardworking and economic-minded Ghana’s General Consul based in New York City- Mr. Bernard Quantson.
The discussions were animated and a sense of connecting with like-minded Ghanaians Living Abroad (GLAs) to excel in business and social enterprise to benefit self, community, and Ghana was palpable. The 15-cold weather braving souls believe that if they stay connected and share ideas, the moon will indeed be reached and Ghana will benefit immensely. Dreams cost nothing, actions to realize them cost blood, sweat and tears. They are willing to sacrifice, and call on others to join them. The next meeting will be announced for May 2017 and will be held at the Ghana Mission in NYC. The picture portrays the attendance: From left to right- standing – Kofi Koranteng, Kofi Karikari, Kwasi Twum Ampofo, Kwabena Fosu Oware, Fred Kojo Kyeremeh, Hon. Bernard Quantson, King Ohenew Asumaning, Kwadwo Adu Ameyaw, Dr. Owusu Kizito, Daniel Affum-Darkwah, Bernard Aduse Poku; and seated from left to right – Charles Nimmo Ntiamoah- Mensah, Mary Margaret Edusei, Dr. Kofi A. Boateng, and Gloria Arthur.
The group wasted no time and worked on crafting a statement of mission/purpose. Evoking the example of the immense multi-faceted support of Jewish Americans to the State of Israel, the group evolved a working draft that states: To offer mutual support for success and promote the socio-economic development of Ghana through the marshalling of human, financial, and material capital; led by Ghanaian business and social entrepreneurs living abroad.
Here is a sampling of the budding business and social entrepreneurs:
- Improving Conditions for Orphans and Patients: Daniel Affum-Darkwah leads TADMI, Inc, a NJ based nonprofit organization that has been collecting material to support orphanages and hospitals in Ghana since 2012. Himself a lab technician with connections to major hospitals, Daniel has been able to make TADMI the go to organization to pick up almost new and refurbished hospital supplies. The problem of others in Ghana selling his donated items and the burdens of clearing customs are his persistent headaches. TADMI plans its 4th Annual Fund Raising Gala on April 22, 2017 (tadmi.org).
- A Ghanaian Engineered Quality Cell Phone: Kwasi Twum Ampofo recently took delivery of the first consignment of his self-designed KTA dual SIM cell phones. The KTA phones are comparable in many features to the best of Apple and Samsung but priced hundreds below at $149.99 (ktamobileusa.com).
- Pooling Investment Funds from GLAs: Kofi Koranteng, leading Highlife Management LLC, has succeeded in getting Ghanaians to pool funds at a minimum rate of $5,000 for investments with nearly 60 participants paid up. This is an example of one giant leap in getting GLAs to contribute beyond funerals and outdooring (917-292-1067).
- Documenting and Sharing GLA Stories Online – Watch out Ghanaweb! Here comes Ghanaian American Journal published by Fred Kojo Kyeremeh of Connecticut. Its mission is to focus on the many accomplishments of GLAs; and track their challenges, contributions to mother and host countries, and serve as a vehicle for connections (gareport.com).
- GG’s Kitchen -The Tastiest Catering: Based in Yonkers, NY, Gloria Arthur has built a reputation for offering the most original and tastiest morsels that can grace tables and make palates love their hosts at any event. Call 914-471-7656.
- A Real Estate Deal Maker: Mary Edusei has been selling real estate for 14 years and has three offices in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Valley Stream. If you are ready to buy or sell, Mary is ready to serve you with her army of courteous agents. Call MayJay Property Management, Inc at 917-686-5108
- Making YOU Money: Owusu Kizito as head of InvestiGroup is at the concluding stages of his efforts to raise $3 million with 80% committed to building infrastructure in Ghana. He plans to expand his financial management activities to China. In the meantime, if you need business plans, tax, and management counseling reach out to 908-977-7320- (www.fundinginvestigroup.com).
- Engineering to Soccer Scholarships: King Ohenew Asumaning is the man behind the “Denkyem – Give to Ghana” logo. His day job is an engineer with General Electric but his passion is scouting soccer talents from Ghana to gain scholarship admissions to U.S. universities. To date Denkyem has placed 400 youth in schools (denkyem.org).
- African Fashion: More popularly known for his fashion label – KWABS COUTURE- Kwabena Fosu Oware an MRI Specialist at the Hospital of Special Surgery in NYC by day, believes in showing off African fabrics and is fully invested in making a name for himself as an avant-garde designer to be reckoned with.
- Building the Largest Media House: That is the dream of Kwadwo Adu Ameyaw of NJ. He wants to gather, feed content, and distribute online, TV, and Radio (themonteoz.com).
A common refrain from the exchanges was that GLAs generally do not support each other. For example, more than 90% of KWABS customers are foreigners. Hon Quantson praised the group for daring to go beyond culture and funerals to think, and do business since that is the key to Ghana’s long-term development. There are rising opportunities in Ghana that will materialize for GLAs who learn to trust and work together, he added. The attendees on their part bemoaned their country’s visiting officials sidelining them in their rush to court foreign investors when they fail to realize that though not individually wealthy yet, by their reputation and work connections, GLAs are best situated to attract foreign investors to Ghana just as George Owusu and partner attracted Kosmos to successfully drill for oil in Ghana in recent memory.
They live here. They work here. They know the terrain here. Why skip them? Jewish Americans direct where their visiting leaders should go, why do Ghana’s leaders ignore that well-proven track? But first, budding GLA business and social entrepreneurs must know, work, and support each other. Look out for the May meeting.