Sarkodie; 2019 BET Best International Flow Artiste, on Tuesday October 20, paid a visit to the Graphic Road and Silver Star Towers, Airport City showrooms of Silver Star Auto Limited – the leading automotive distributor in Ghana.
He was ushered in by the Sales Manager for Mercedes-Benz brand, Mr. Rabie Agha who took the rapper on a tour around the airport city branch of the establishment to preview the 2020 models of GLE SUV, GLC SUV and the E-Class Saloon.
He was also offered the opportunity to test drive a range of Silver Star vehicles such as Citroen C4 Cactus, C5 Aircross, Berlingo Van and Citroen Jumper. At the Peugeot Showroom, he was taken around to see the New Peugeot range of vehicles which includes 301 Saloon, 3008, 5008 SUV’s and the workaholic Pickup.
However, according to speculations, the rapper is set to secure and ambassadorial deal with the automobile distribution firm.
Silver Star Auto Limited is a leading automobile firm in Ghana that has been synonymous with luxury for over 20 years. We started our operations in 1996 and now have branches in Accra, Tema and Kumasi to cater to all your sales and servicing needs. As the authorized distributors of Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot and Citroën brands of vehicles in Ghana, our product line covers the full spectrum of automobile needs including saloon cars, SUVs, vans, trucks and buses.
They also deal in the sale of genuine spare parts, and are authorized distributors of Energizer Batteries, Power Oils and Motul Oils in Ghana. They guarantee reliable after-sales service support, including body and paint repair works.
Photo Credit: Rob Photography
Apple Launches Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers
As part of Apple’s ongoing commitment to empower the Black community and dismantle barriers to opportunity, today the company is welcoming leaders and their teams from 13 app companies as the inaugural cohort of Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers.
In 2019, Apple held its first-ever Entrepreneur Camp, an immersive tech lab for app-driven companies founded and led by developers from underrepresented backgrounds, with a class of women founders and developers. Program participants have gone on to secure major funding rounds, garner numerous awards and accolades, and significantly expand both their teams and app users worldwide.
The program is designed to give developers the opportunity to take their existing app experience to the next level by mastering new technical skills, applying a critical lens to the user experience, and more through hands-on technology labs, one-on-one code-level guidance from Apple experts and engineers, and mentorship, inspiration, and insights from top Apple leaders.
“These incredible app creators and business leaders embody the entrepreneurial spirit that runs so deep in the Black community.”
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives
In addition, Apple is partnering with Harlem Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm based in New York that invests in diverse founders, to offer guidance and mentorship to the participants. This new partnership is part of Apple’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI), which builds on the company’s work to advance racial equity in education, the economy, and the criminal justice system. These commitments aim to expand opportunities for communities of colour across the country and to help build the next generation of diverse leaders.
“These incredible app creators and business leaders embody the entrepreneurial spirit that runs so deep in the Black community,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, who leads REJI. “Their work already demonstrates the power of coding to build a better world, and we’re honoured to support them as they blaze a trail we know so many more will follow.”
Meet the CURATORS on APPLE MUSIC.
Raising Capital Means More Responsibility – Don’t Celebrate Too Soon
You are the boss. YOU make your world go round. Your proverbial sun rises and sets where you command. The moment you allow outside money into your camp, all that changes whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, whether you accept it or not.
Celebrating the mere raising of capital is a mistake. The keyword there is “mere”, which means ‘being nothing more than’. Capital is good. It is however a total disconnect from reality celebrating the mere raising of capital. It’s the good that the money does that’s a win.
“Kofi & Ama Enterprises gets funding from ABC Capital and doubles its revenue”.
Now THAT is the kind of headline I am talking about. The hype around just raising capital is a disconnect from reality and reality is that a lot of new challenges are going to manifest with the raising of capital. It is prudent to celebrate the conquering of those challenges rather than its commencement of them.
MANY ENTREPRENEURS FAIL UNDER PRESSURE
Most people, especially entrepreneurs, forget that when it comes to money, it’s in very few instances that people care about anything else other than the subject matter: THE MONEY. Has anyone owed you money before? When it was due, how did you feel? What did you think?
It’s already difficult raising capital, especially during a pandemic. Limited access to capital is one of the main reasons why entrepreneurs and SME’s fail. Yet, when the money comes, many do not have what it takes to stand the added pressure, or understand why the added pressure.
Raising capital adds to your responsibilities. You’re merely trading one headache for another and that’s a fact. When you’re not ready for the responsibility and it comes, that’s when it turns out to be discomforting.
Even when you think you’re ready, the path of growth is generally hard, also for successful people you look up to. The journey has always been hard for entrepreneurs. It still is. So, yes, discomfort will come. It is the recognition of that discomfort… the management of that discomfort… the mental labelling of that discomfort… the rationalisation of that discomfort that’ll make you a great entrepreneur, or not-so-great entrepreneur.
WE ALL NEED TO BE MORE PREDICTABLE
We are almost done with our company’s 5-year strategic plan. Over the next couple years, we want to be more predictable. We want to be more focussed. And most importantly, we want to be calculated. During a pandemic, predictability is credibility.
When people do not know what will happen next, they move towards constants, something they can depend on, like their faith, or a company that’s open and predictable. Research on how many more people have bought Apple shares during the pandemic. Apple feels safe, and predictable. People are scared. Everyone is having some irrational “what if” at the back of their heads.
So what do you do when everyone is scared, even the big, massive companies? We figure that breeding predictability starts with reporting and communication. We need to communicate our intentions, our plans. We need to communicate our operations when they’re happening, and retrospectively when they’re over.
You also have to be genuine, to others and to yourself. Remind yourself of who you are and who you aspire to gradually be. Life is evolution. Many people will invest in the vision but the vision bearer is always part of the package. It’s just as bad lying to yourself as it is lying to someone else. Arguably, it’s even worse.
Lastly when all is well, capital raising isn’t easy. Imagine uttering the words “trust me” during these times. That won’t work. So we need to also be honest about our strengths and be transparent about our dealings. Don’t expect much of blind trust these times.
YOUR LACK OF INFORMATION CAN COST SOMEONE MILLIONS
As I just stated, do not expect much of blind trust these times. It’s the harsh truth. I’ve been telling this guy Nii about how he uses the words “trust me” too many times when speaking with me. He’s very guarded. In response, he tells me the commonest story ever told among entrepreneurs, of how many people pass behind his back and cut him out of deals so he’s admittedly scared of sharing vital information.
The harsh reality is that at a certain age, time flies, I wake up at 4am, blink, then it’s 6pm. If I started seeing opportunities as a factor of time, I wouldn’t have babysat some ideas for too long, especially when the downside costs me nothing.
Nii’s million dollars might be the next person he talks to. But he seldom reveals anything and that makes me antsy. Because even though I know he’s a bright young man with lots of lucrative opportunities for him and I to collaborate on, his privacy can cost me a lot, literally.
That’s when Alan came to mind because one of his favourite words is “report”. I suddenly started seeing things from his side of the telescope. Without reports, even if all is fine through my side of the telescope, all he sees through his end is RISK.
WHEN YOU RAISE CAPITAL, YOUR PRIVACY IS DEAD
So understand this: when you raise capital, accept that your corporate privacy is dead. When you want to raise capital, accept that a sizeable number of good, prospective investors will need to hear every secret you have under your sleeve to make a decision, that is if you don’t want to be rationally questioned. You can nail the pitch better than anyone but without adequate information, investors will pass. It’s just the truth.
In that same line, after you raise capital, you no longer hold the only key to company information and processes. Members of the funding party, through regular reporting should get to know your supply routes, your most dependable suppliers and customers, how much money you make, how much money you spend, and many more.
I feel like reading thing can maybe flick a switch in someone’s mind before they miss out on opportunities for sensational growth.
When you’re guarded, it makes sense. It’s a rational reaction. Some information are crucial to your business’s existence and could destroy everything you’ve built if a competitor were to get their hands on it. That could be due to a number of factors. One of such factors might be that the feasibility of your business or idea has a really high dependency on one or two entities, be it staff or suppliers and should that be tempered with, everything will come tumbling down.
Nonetheless, you cannot become Jeff Bezos alone. So accept that bringing people in is necessary and work towards bringing in the right people. Because to succeed after raising capital, everything needs to be in the open and I literally just wondered while typing this sentence if that is why a lot of managers in Ghana fail. The kuluulu is too much! But that’s for another article.
Let’s move on.
WHEN YOU RAISE CAPITAL, YOU PLEDGE TO COMMIT
I’m in constant discussions with the consultant working our 5-year strategic plan. He’s good. Mr Amankwah is very good at what he does. I know he gets cross with me sometimes because he is passionate about me as I am about the business and I tend to investigate alternative ideas a bit too much for comfort, if any of my mentors will tell you.
I perpetually engage because I know that if everything works out, that document is a commitment, one that I will have to pledge to my staff, my Board and other stakeholders that I will fulfil the commitments within. If there’s any discomfort during the next few years after he’s done with his part, he’ll only do what his title says: to consult. But it will all be on me to feel the heat.
That’s exactly how raising capital is. It’s a commitment to carry a whole lot of responsibilities. It’s no time to jubilate, not yet. Different monies come with different rules and expectations. When the primary objective is just “raising money”, then that could cause a problem because after that’s done improperly, harsh realities have to be lived. Eventually the landlord will come check on his rent regardless of how cheap or expensive it is.
Think of it this way. Generally, you wouldn’t feel like your rented apartment is yours to do with as you please. Neither do you stop working on accommodation when you pay your first instalment and move in. Yes you’d smile but you’d also constantly be thinking of rent and what happens when that rent is due.
It’s natural to keep plotting to move out, rent a new apartment or build/buy a house for yourself one day. Yet not within a single one of those thoughts do you not cater for paying what you owe your current landlord first.
After you raise capital, you literally owe, both money and many more tangible and intangible stuff.
GET THE RESULTS, THEN CELEBRATE
Catch your breath if you must, but don’t stop having that start-up mentality. When you raise money, it means there’s more to do. It means your business or idea just took off and flying takes work. That work will be more feasible with the money but don’t underestimate how hard it could be. Until you literally start delivering, nothing has happened yet as far as meaningful Get the money, then move on your plans. Only celebrate when you get the results.
Video: Two Projects That Will Change The Music & Entertainment Landscape In Ghana, 3MUSIC HQ & TIGON STUDIOS.
On Thursday afternoon, I spent time touring two new infrastructural projects, 3MUSIC HQ & TIGON STUDIOS thats is set to impact the Ghanaian music and entertainment landscape.
The 3MUSIC HQ office will house the new 24hours 3Music TV channel, a state of the art television and a radio studio as well as offices for 3Music’s new music digital distributions unit. A new Astro-turf space is also being developed on the space to host the media & entertainment brand’s internal and other external events.
TIGON Studios, Lynx Entertainment’s new subsidiary is a multi-purpose audio-visual content productions studio intended to provide a solution to the absence of large multi-purpose audio visual productions studios to enhance the video productions space.
The two projects comes at a time the Ghanaian entertainment space is in need of such investments to enable the space.
The two projects are led by two young passionate Ghanaian entertainment executives. Sadiq Abdulai Abu leads the 3MUSIC HQ project and expansion works whilst Richie Mensah, founder and CEO of Lynx Entertainment leads TIGON Studios development.
Otema Yirenkyi, formerly of Microsoft, IBM & Vodafone, talks “Networking with Intentionality”, and more!
Maxwell: Good evening Otema. I’m looking forward to a pleasant conversation with you. You’ve had all these leadership roles in big corporations, like IBM, Vodafone, being the first-ever female country manager in Microsoft’s Africa operations, what advice would you share with young woman entering such a male dominated profession?
Otema: Thank you for having me Maxwell. I think the first thing I would say to them is that it’s really important to be well skilled, right? You’ve got to know your stuff. And then you’ve got to network and build relationships. And that becomes the way in which you step up the ladder.
Then also, what I found very useful is go for that stretch assignment, something that makes you push yourself a little bit further. For me, my stretch assignment with IBM was coming to South Africa. I had never done that before. I had been based in the US. And so that was a stretch. I learned; I grew; I worked with different sectors within IT. And that’s something that I would highly recommend. So, whether it’s a global assignment or even within your country, a different department, definitely try and stretch yourself.
Maxwell: So, to get out of your comfort zone a little bit, get into some position where you learn new stuff, where you push yourself to bring out, let’s say, whatever you have in store for the world, correct?
Maxwell: What do you think right now is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
Otema: I think that one of the most significant barriers for some women is that we lack sponsorship. So when you’re sponsored, you get mentored and coached. But also doors get open. And experiences happen. For me, about a decade or so ago, through an emerging leadership program I attended, I met with one of the top executives who was at IBM at the time. We then built up a mentoring and sponsorship relationship. I think that, that opening doors, that network to find out what are the key opportunities, that’s one of the things that impedes women. Because we’re not in the know, of what’s that next assignment, what’s that great opportunity, and I think it’s really really important. You have coaching, mentoring, but sponsorship is people at the most senior levels, helping you to shape and grow your career. And that’s a key disadvantage, I would say. I’ve become a sponsor to a number of young women because I know the importance of it.
Maxwell: That actually ties into your answer to the first question on the importance of networking.
Maxwell: From your standpoint, at this point in your career, what do you think is the biggest challenge for the generation behind you?
Otema: What I see is that there’s still, unfortunately, so many more ceilings to smash through, right? They still have to work very hard, be really prepared. But I think one of the challenges now is that you need a diversity of skill. Gartner refers to this as like being a versatilist.
You can’t just be in one area. So say for example, you’re a doctor, and you’ve got a clinic. It’s great to have business skills as well, right? So that you can effectively manage. So I think these days, what’s the challenge of our time, is being people who are versatilists, multi skilled, and that helps you to scale both the corporate ladder and to grow entrepreneurially.
Maxwell: Such a vast and major problem with the generation, how do you recommend they overcome this challenge? What precise avenue would you recommend to our audience on how to differentiate skills?
One of the things I’m trying to do with this Entrepreneur In You podcast, is to try to give our audience definite answers.
Otema: I think it’s also about understanding Maxwell, that it takes a team. So maybe let’s go back to the example of an entrepreneur who starts a business, it might be a tech business, and you’re highly skilled in coding and developing, but you’re not strong in sales and marketing. Partner up with sales and marketing friend or colleague who can give you guidance on how do I effectively market this product.
That’s one of the concrete things that I’m always coaching because I do coach a number of startups. And I always say, look to where your differentiation is, but then bring along a team, whether it’s an advisory team, or if you have the funds to afford to bring people on who can complement the skills and the capability that you currently have. That’s really important in order to scale any business.
Maxwell: Excellent. Again, tying into the networking, which I think is becoming a theme of the day.
Otema: But it’s not just to like go and have drinks and stuff. It’s really to build upon your skills when you network. It’s about being intentional saying, “I’m a doctor, right? And I may not have really strong skills in marketing my clinic. So I might go to a marketing event, or whatever, and pick up those skills because a lot of the time, they have these little workshops. Also, I want to meet marketeers so that they can support me in my business”. So it’s not just networking, it’s not just moving around, but it’s networking with intentionality; to build skills; to build a broader network for getting customers; to acquire your customers through the network; and also to build your brand and awareness.
Maxwell: That’s great. Otema, you have done a lot, you have a lot more to give, and you have a lot of knowledge to impact. You’ve already mentioned you are mentoring a few people.
What is your “Why”? And by that I mean, why you do what you do? What’s your life’s mission? What drives and motivates you internally? What is your “why”? I think for now that’s the best way that I can put the question.
Otema: Sure. So my “Why” is change. I see myself as a catalyst for change. In the era and time that I grew up, when we lived in the US, many times we were the only black family. I was the only black child and I saw the importance of making a change. Over time, as a young student, I realized that around me, there aren’t a lot of people like me with my narrative; my story was not known. That’s where my writing came in, to share different stories, but it’s also about sharing that there are successful black accomplishments globally within Africa and the Caribbean, the US, etc. That also has an impact on you as a businessperson, right?
Let’s say you’re trying to do business in Europe, selling your products and goods. When people’s perception of who you are improves or when they have reliability in that particular environment, positive change happens.
If you think about Japan, in the earlier part of the time, Japanese products were not considered to be at the same level as those from Europe, etc. But as Japan started to build their reputation, build their brand, Toyota is a premier brand now, and people want it now. So the importance of what I’m saying is that if we change the narrative around Africa, it then changes our business opportunities. It changes how people interact with us. Then there will be many many positive outcomes. So that’s why. That’s my “Why”. It’s to be that catalyst for change.
Maxwell: I can see how that drives most of your activities with respect to the volunteer work, the mentoring and all of that, right?
Otema: Yes, it does. It really really does and I have a focus on, particularly people of Afro descent, you know, because I see that there’s a need for them to have that confidence. So I coach and mentor them, they see my leadership, and they’re able to say, “oh wow, she’s done it, maybe I can do it!” It’s representation, it’s important. You’ve got to represent but you also directly support by coaching and mentoring, and giving guidance and also, lastly, opening up your network to the next generation.
…to be concluded next week!
Listen to the full conversation on the Entrepreneur In You podcast by visiting www.linktr.ee/eine
Find inspiring stories from Otema Yirenkyi on her podcast, Catching a Glimpse, on the Anchor app.
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Maxwell Ampong is an Agro-Commodities Trader and the CEO of Maxwell Investments Group. He is also the Official Business Advisor to Ghana’s General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of TUC Ghana, the largest agricultural trade union in Ghana. He writes about trending and relevant economic topics, and general perspective pieces.
LinkedIn:/in/thisisthemax Instagram:@thisisthemax Twitter:@thisisthemax Facebook:@thisisthemax Website: www.maxwellinvestmentsgroup.com Email: email@example.com Podcast: Entrepreneur In You Mobile: 0249993319
Otema Yirenkyi is the Vice President for Global Engagement at Project Management Institute. She has formerly taken up leadership positions at IBM, Vodafone, NexInnova and was the first-ever female country manager in Microsoft’s Africa operations. She’s a prolific writer, storyteller, and her podcast, “Catching a Glimpse” shares much-needed messages of hope for many around the world.
LinkedIn: /in/otema-yirenkyi Instagram: @otemayirenkyi Twitter: @OtemaYirenkyi Facebook: @Otema.Yirenkyi Website: www.OtemaYirenkyi.com Podcast: Catching a Glimpse
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