Michael Ohene-Effah is a brilliant entrepreneur from Ghana, Founder & Chief Inspiration Officer of LeadAfrique International, an enterprise that cultivates leaders among primary-senior high students through structured, classroom-based leadership development programmes called Leadership Farm.
“It’s a patient approach to planting seeds of greatness in young people, pruning and taking care of them regularly in order to prepare them to be responsible adults.” he told us, as he finished the first edition of E4Impact MBA at CIBT in Accra.
We’ve interviewed him to learn more on his activities.
1. How was your Business Idea born?
Prior to founding LeadAfrique, I worked as the Governance Adviser at the UK’s international development agency (DFID). In this role, I was always asked to analyze the governance implications of how our development assistance will perform. The key question that always came up was the attitude of the state actors that will be responsible for implementing the programme. It dawned on me that attitude, order and discipline is the bane of many African societies. Hence this business idea; to help shape the attitudes of the next generation of Africans so that they will be disciplined, ordered and responsible.
2. How is your business improving the life of the beneficiaries of your activities?
Thus far, we are operating in 15 schools, we have trained 950 teachers and have impacted on 5,000 young people. We have taught primary to high school kids to solve their own problems and not look up to someone else. Called “CampuServe”, school children in our operating schools identify a problem in their school, and then embark on a quest to solve it themselves. 24 CampuServe projects are currently being undertaken across our schools. Furthermore, nine of our participating students have been placed in our programme, the National Alliance for 21st Century Skills, and supported to undertake internships to expose them to real-world corporate world challenges, broaden their horizon and build their confidence.
3. What do the Students think of Leadership Farm?
I can’t help but sharing with you some children’s thoughts:
“I have always thought of myself as a good person, but after taking this class I know I can be better. I loved having the opportunity to learn about all of the people who have done great things in life” M, SHS 2
“This class has taught me a lot about using good judgment and using good character. It has shown me what kind of person I can be and what kind of person I should be. This class makes you actually think more than most of my academic classes” T, SHS 3
“My friends call me dump, some say I have a mental problem, initially, I kind of agreed with them. But leadership Farm has helped me identify how unique I am. I have identified my learning style and I am a very happy person now. Thank You” E, JHS 2
“It’s a patient approach to planting seeds of greatness in young people, pruning and taking care of them regularly in order to prepare them to be responsible adults.”
4. What has been the main challenge you had to overcome in your entrepreneurial experience?
Attitude of school heads to the new concept of teaching young people leadership skills. We are using parents in some instances to advocate for our programme to be run in the schools.
5. Is there a person you are inspired by, i.e. an entrepreneur or a particular mentor?
6. What would you suggest to a new-born entrepreneur?
- Be passionate about your business; eat it, drink it, sleep it.
- Be resilient; the entrepreneurship road is littered with tough times.
- Be fluent in finance and the basics of your business.
- Learn all the regulatory stuff associated with your business. Pay attention to detail and document everything.
7. Could you tell us a particular satisfactory moment you had in your entrepreneurial activity?
The day we launched our first CampuServe project in The Flobar School in Accra, where kids had done 6 projects. It brought tears to my eyes. Another proud moment is when kids in Shield International School wrote their personal mission statements to guide them for the next 10 years.
Michael in a tweet
Michael is an introverted extrovert, lucid-dreaming, reality-manipulating, perpetually-optimist young man.
Learn more on LeadAfrique International on:
Facebook page: www.facebook/leadafriqueinternational
Twitter account: @leadafriqueint