“We have a field trip at twelve.” This statement rang through my mind the entire morning, I couldn’t concentrate fully on our session on ”modeling your business opportunity”.
Twelve o’clock came around finally, and all members of the entrepreneurship module rushed out excitedly to the buses, “Outside at last.” At Lakeside Marina Park, our trip location, we had the chance of interacting with very successful entrepreneurs. They shared their experiences, finances, difficulties and all they did to get to where they are now.
I got to speak to Makafui of ROOM ’16 Studios, Edwina Baiden, co-founder of Baiden Christian Montessori, and John Osei of Barak Capital, after which there was free time for fun and recreation.
Meeting these people was definitely insightful, and I’ve been inspired to start my own venture, however small, right after AIX, because I “don’t need a million dollars to build a million-dollar business.”
Yesterday was Field Trip Day at AIX. We set off from the Ashesi campus at 8:00 and reached the Cargill Ghana cocoa factory two hours later. When we got there, we were introduced to Cargill and their philosophy by their Director of Logistics. We were given a tour of the factory, machinery, and equipment by Derek Boadi, a maintenance engineer. I learned a lot about the processing and manufacture of cocoa powder from the trip. Afterwards, we headed to a software development firm started by four Ashesi graduates and we had an enlightening discussion with one of the founders, Derrydean Dadzie, where he was asked several questions. All in all, the trip was insightful and exciting.
I had a lot of fun today and it was very interesting going on the entrepreneurship field trip because I was able to explore, learn about how successful entrepreneurs model their business.
I really had a great time with Benedict and Benedicta. The key word I took from the entrepreneurs I talked to was, see problems as opportunities because it is through analyzing these problems that one comes up with a business model to solve people needs. I asked them about their revenue structure and the profit they made from their business. They advised me that I shouldn’t consider the profit whiles going into a business because once I am able to solve my customer’s problems, the money will come.
I really enjoyed my time at Marina Park. I had a lot of fun and I was able to mingle with new people.
This was an eye opening and essential part of the week’s learning process. Before we got there, I anticipated a very strict and formal setting with people 50 years older than I am. However, once we got there, it was a different story. All the entrepreneurs were young people and the setting was in a very calm and relaxing place: Lakeside Marina. This helped to relax and relate to everything said. The resource people too had great knowledge on everything they said. I learned everything that I needed to start a business; determination and strong will.
The day started with so much to unravel. I really like surprises. Surprisingly, we set off and journeyed to the streets of Accra. We continued until we got to Tema and finally stopped by Cargill.
I was totally amazed because I had never been to a place like that before. At Cargill, I was so inspired by the experiences of the people who met us there. They treated us with so much care, which made me happy. The floor workers did not just treat us with so much care but they also exhibited a high sense of discipline. I was touched by their experiences that I almost felt like being in their shoes. I was also very much inspired by the fact that everyone at Cargill seemed like a family. From Cargill, I learned the need to work diligently to achieve the best in life.
Even after Cargill, there was still more to discover, more to learn. We proceeded to Dreamoval, where Nana Ama made me understand that no matter what course you offer in school, your destiny will always chase you. I was also inspired by the fact that the key to a successful business is sacrifice and holding on to your values. Considering that, the founders of Dreamoval have made me understand that success does not depend on teachers but rather dwells on the shoulders of every student.
Participating in the engineering module is absolutely one of the greatest experiences of my life. It has not been very smooth yet because programming the Arduino is not very easy to understand. However, I learnt a lot. Yesterday, we learnt the basic components of a circuit and how to connect them on a bread board. We also learnt how to connect the bread board to an Arduino in order to make LED’s light up simultaneously and randomly by programming it with a computer.
Today, we learnt how to connect sensors to the Arduino and program it to see how it works. I also absolutely enjoy working with Joseph who is my coach. I really don’t want this experience to end soon because am enjoying AIX.
Choosing the entrepreneurship module has definitely been one of the best choices I could have ever made. The challenges are demanding though arduous and require every bit of your mind to be working overtime. We worked on the opportunity identification process and how to analyze entrepreneurial opportunities. We had a hands on experience conducting interviews. We went out and questioned people on the Ashesi campus to put our hypothesis through the flames and justify them according to the public’s opinion. Besides the work, I’m absolutely enjoying working with Sena, Philip, Michelle and the coaches. They have provided insight into problems I couldn’t see and I’m grateful. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week and all that AIX has for me.
Nana Afrah Korankye
Today was the first full day of the robotics module, and it was awesome. It didn’t start out as great as it ended because there was a lot of lecturing in the beginning. With robotics, the lectures were not as interesting as the building because you need to be active to fully understand and enjoy it. As the day went by, we got to program some Lego Mindstorm EV3 robots we built and got them to move via a simple program we wrote. It was a really fun experience for me to see something I had built, move just the way I wanted it to.
Nana Ama Adoma Atobrah
On the first day at Ashesi, a lot of thoughts ran through my head, some were, “what am I going to learn here?”, “How will I relate to other people?”, “Who is going to be our resource person?”. However, my questions were answered later in the day, we had a talk on the first day on self-discovery where we got to work on a SWOT analysis of ourselves.
AIX taught me to turn problems into opportunities. Challenges like the 10 cedi challenge were undertaken and everyone came up with creative ideas, at the end, we were taught to make use of our human resources and not to totally rely on our capital resources.
Day two was on effective communication and lateral thinking. We were taught how to give good feedback and how to think outside the box as well as moving outside of our comfort zones and to think far.
Day three was themed community and diversity. An activity was organised where coaches were made to act out parts and we were given biographies and money to make a living. It was fun and educating. I also got to learn about values, what they mean to us and how we should try our best to stick to them. Before I came to Ashesi I was an introvert and I was shy. But after some sessions I acquired some confidence and boldness which has helped me improve my public speaking ability. We had a debate as well where we expressed our views on the motion “Social media should be banned for people under 18”. We all came up with our possible best arguments for and against the motion and it was really fun and educative.
I got to learn about followership and how we should aspire to become star followers. Just so you know, star followers are those that are active and independent. We should all aspire to become one of those. We should be able to question decisions made by the people around us. I watched the most inspiring video of my life that day. It was about a lady who had several careers in her mind and thought she had a problem. From the video, I learnt that people like that are okay and are called multipotentialities. It is absolutely okay to have a lot of career choices in your mind.
I also got to learn about the innovator’s mindset and “designing with intent”. That was where we were given a problem and asked to come up with a solution for the problem.
For me, AIX thus far has been fun, entertaining, educative, inspiring, stressful but enjoyable and interesting.
My experience at AIX has been exciting so far. From working on the challenges to making new friends, I have had so much fun this week. The classroom sessions have been really insightful. I learnt how to come out of my comfort zone. I also learnt the P.E.A.S of critical thinking and that I should be determined in life. I have learnt not to allow my values to be changed by the outside world, and teamwork and patience are essential to growth.
Maame Araba Vander-Pallen
AIX for me so far has been one of the best experiences in my whole life. It’s like a breath of very fresh air. Everything is fresh and they make it so that it sticks in your head with videos and projects. I think all the socialisation and people you meet make it more interesting because you learn with so many different and crazy ideas and it is almost fun all the time. I would not change this experience for anything.
My name is Oladele Sunday Joshua. I am from Nigeria. This is my reflection on Friday which was themed, “Impact. Legacy.” Before we started anything, we are grouped into teams with each team assigned to a different problem to solve it. It included interviewing a person (a persona) whose problem we were to solve. In my team, the problem that was given to us was the issue of a young kayayo who was raped and had two children. She also said that she doesn’t have a place to sleep and told us that it was her friend that brought her to Accra. So we created a few prototypes and arrived at a solution we felt would help her.
Fortunately, my team was among the top four winning teams. I learned lots of things including designing with simple materials. This experience helped me to understand the power of teamwork and the importance of all that we learned since the beginning of the program.
I also made new friends.
Friday was a very exciting, during the final challenge we were tasked with using all the skills that we learnt in design and leadership to solve a problem in the shortest possible time.
We were asked to use some skills like communication, understanding of one another and our creativity. We were also asked to share our different ideas and to put them together to get only one idea.
I think during that session I developed teamwork skills.