YAFO-KNUST maiden event dubbed Opportunity Summit was organized on 10th February, 2018 under the theme “PRESENTING THE 21ST CENTURY OPPORTUNITIES FOR A PROSPEROUS SOCIETY” at the faculty of Agriculture, Lecture Theatre, KNUST.
Every year, universities in Ghana spew out graduates who are largely clueless about what the outside world has in stock for them. Most of these students graduate from school after four years and some seven years with little knowledge about the corporate world. They are usually inexperienced having spent all their time playing hanky-panky and writing exams that test their power of rote learning than wisdom. Some of these students go into the real world inexperienced to tackle the problems in the real world and without any sort of zeal to start their own businesses. Hence tend to depend on the central government for the provision of non-existent jobs and employments.
This typical cycle of whiling away all their years in college without starting any profitable venture of their own prompted the organizers at Young Africans for Opportunities in collaboration with Max International to put together ‘The Opportunity Summit’ event; first of its kind to aid students put their lives in perspective and also educate them on the benefits of ideologies of free market economy, libertarianism, entrepreneurship etc. Mr. Nathaniel Dwamena, programs manager for Young Africans for Opportunities, took to the podium after the opening prayer and took the student audience through a crash course of libertarianism. During his presentation, he stated emphatically, that, the central government was not employing any graduate into any of its sectors anytime in the foreseeable future and it was prudent for students to start their own businesses while in school. He pointed out that there were a lot of opportunities on university campuses that students turn a blind eye to; simply because they feel these opportunities were not worth their salts. He went on to say that businesses such as the sales of stationery, well packaged beverages and snacks could go a long way to make students independent of parents and the state.
He further explained a few concepts in liberty and why the need for students to equip themselves with these concepts. He lectured extensively on the need to limit the government and encourage competitions in the free market system. He buttressed his point by pointing the out the fact that, with the presence of multiple mobile networks (and healthy competition), individuals get to enjoy amazing offers from their service providers unlike when there used to be only one mobile network in Ghana. Competition has better the welfare of the citizenry and given us more choices. Mr. Dwamena ended his presentation by admonishing the students to take up the reigns of entrepreneurship and libertarianism and also taking steps to implementing their ideas notwithstanding how small they may seem.
Next came Mr. Marricke Gane, the main guest speaker who Under a minute had the students wrapped around his thumb, with his simple and plausible ideas at starting businesses and keeping them alive at all odds. With his fiery personality, Mr. Gane pointed out the need for volunteerism among students as a way to build their working work experience. He asserted that, ‘if one finds volunteering opportunities, one should take them as a way to building their curriculum vitae, if one truly wants to be employable.” He also added that volunteerism is the best way of buy experience.
With reference to CEO of Koko King (successful and popular porridge seller in Ghana), Mr. Gane implied that the best ideas are those that ‘itch’ us. He explained that personal problems (the ‘itch” as he puts it) propelled the CEO of koko king to package his product according to his own preference and in his bid to solve a personal problem, solve that of a larger community than expected. With this said he propounded that, by solving our own problems we become entrepreneurs since problem solving is at the heart of entrepreneurship.
He further advised that, to be an entrepreneur, one must be willing to fail or otherwise get a job and sit behind a desk for the rest of their lives. He however warned that, as students, its best if we do not jump the gun and rush into entrepreneurship since it was a time consuming and methodological process. He advised that we take it slow and hinted at the possibility of joining an establishment so as to gain more experience and the necessary network before branching off fully into being an entrepreneur. As a closing remark, he advised that we ‘just start it’. He promised that it wasn’t going to be easy but with the right team of doers, thinkers and organizers everyone could make it in the field.
“To be an entrepreneur, you should know yourself in order to know who to get on board. If you are a doer, get thinkers. If you are a thinker, get doers” Marricke Gane
After Mr. Gane’s powerful, action and thought-provoking delivery, Raymond Asante from Max International took the audience through the workings of their organization, his success story and how Max International has changed his life. He hammered on the need to start investing as students and the to push home his point, projected his earnings as a Gold associate of Max International. This display left many of the students visibly gaping for the better part of his short presentation. Mr. George show the student how to start a business with Max International and how to earn in the Max organization. To end the show, Mr. Matthew Mensah, an author and a motivational speaker, emphasized the need to do what we loved and also the need to discover ourselves as individuals. He reiterated Mr. Gane’s notation of the need for volunteerism and also voiced out the fact that no one was useless because ‘everybody can do something unique’.
During the open mic Q&A session, a lot of the students’ present expressed their enthusiasm at starting their own ventures in order not to be burdens on their societies. Most of these students acknowledged the impact of the Opportunity Summit on their decision process and expressed their readiness at being proactive in their various fields, halls and communities. These students went on to besiege the YAFO-KNUST to organize similar summits on other campuses and also looked forward to more memorable summits that are significantly tailored for them. YAFO indeed is Breaking Barriers, Enabling Opportunities. Together we shall build a peaceful, prosperous future for all.
By Kokroko Senyo Jesse