In this current climate of financial and employment uncertainty, it takes a great deal of faith in one’s capabilities to move from the relative security of a full-time job to focus on a start-up. Yet, that is exactly what 34-year-old Yaa Aduba Asare did.
Yaa was the Human Resource Manager for a church with about 3000 congregants. She had a first degree in Fine Arts from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology as well as certifications in HR management at Valley View University. Being the mother of four daughters, she started a poultry farm as a way to augment her finances. She had been working with her start-up on a part time basis because she wasn’t sure the farm would be a success. She saw the link to the Jobs for Youth training on a WhatsApp group, followed it to register and after the training module, she applied for a one year relieve of duty from her fulltime work employers so that she can focus on her start-up business with the knowledge and skills she has acquired. Her request wasn’t granted by her employers which made her resolve to quit and focus all her energy on her start-up business. Joining the MDF/Innohub based in the Greater Accra Region, Yaa learnt how to document every transaction, prepare in anticipation for business opportunities, built her capacity, be innovative and to stay focused.
Asked how the training had impacted her, she responded, “I am now able to put in much effort and it is reflected in increase in sales and market share. Operational cost has also reduced. I took the incubation program very seriously because it was an opportunity and a dream come true for me. The business model canvas is my take home. It makes me see my business in totality. Other areas that I previously overlooked are now given detailed attention. The incubation is a dream come true”.
Yaa continued “I really needed coaching and a mentor to care for me as I boldly took business decisions, report details and projections. Journaling my transaction, looking nice and well groomed to customers, packaging and branding my produce, collaboration with other industry players for support, networking and learning how pitch in the project have made me to easily sell my product in a few seconds. I have been able to add an innovation to my product range. I am grateful for this rare opportunity.”
Yaa now employs two young ladies to help on her farm on a part time basis as well as two male labourers. Her eggs sales have gone up, also her novel idea of smoked chicken had proven to be a major hit among her customers. She has also partnered with an organisation, which focuses on women in the poultry business and through that she had gotten a lot of support in building up her business.
Yaa is very hopeful about the future. She reports that “my business is no longer in an ad hoc state but now registered. My business is thriving very well and through social media adverts I am known to my customers. Sales have increased and so has market share. Based on market demand which is more than my supply, I need to expand to take advantage of economies of scale.”
She often repeated her gratitude to GIZ and the British Council for the Jobs for Youth programme saying “I still can’t believe it was all for free.”