Meet Adwoa Agyemang

Founder

Ghanaian Londoners Network
Precise Marketing Solutions
Fawohodie Designs

Serial entrepreneur Adwoa Agyemang is the founder of the Women in Enterprise Awards and three London based companies – Ghanaian Londoners Network, Precise Marketing Solutions and Fawohodie Designs.

Ghanaian Londoners Network is a social enterprise with a core focus on enterprise, women empowerment, community and youth development in the UK and Ghana.

Precise Marketing Solutions provides marketing and events management services for UK based and international businesses.

Fawohodie Designs is a fashion and lifestyle company focused on exploring the beauty of African prints with the main aim of investing in Africa and creating jobs.

Adwoa’s companies employ a team of 10 in the United Kingdom and Ghana.

Tell us more about the Ghanaian Londoners Network, what does the organisation encompass?
Ghanaian Londoners was founded in February 2009 as a networking platform for Ghanaians and friends of Ghana in London to connect people to share ideas and information, but mostly to encourage people to use the power of networking for mutual benefits and advancement.

Our vision has since evolved with a mission to reinforce the Ghanaian identity and culture, while promoting economic prosperity and stronger ties between Ghana and the Diaspora.

We seek to promote greater ties between Ghana and the Diaspora by providing a platform for networking home and aboard, developing our community in the UK, branding Ghana, encouraging and supporting Diaspora entrepreneurship, empowerment of women and youth development.

We operate through our comprehensive services and projects which include a range of events, seminars, workshops, conferences, activities and membership initiatives designed in line with our aims and objectives of encouraging and providing support for our clients to live to their fullest potential.

We run monthly networking events, an Entrepreneurs Club, general consultancy, Ghana relocation services, general support services, youth enterprise projects and women empowerment programmes.

What type of clients do you work with at Precise Marketing Solutions?
Precise Marketing Solutions, which is a marketing and events company, was launched in January 2005 as a part time business whiles I was in full time employment.

We work with both UK and international clients, ranging from sole traders, charities, property companies and organising events from press launches to fashion retail shows.

What was the driving force behind the conception of your fashion label Fawohodie Designs?
Fawohodie Designs was launched in June 2009 on a trip to Ghana as a business advisor with AFFORD, a UK Charity which develops innovative and effective ways of harnessing the resources of the African Diaspora to create and maintain jobs in Africa.

I volunteered to offer my skills and knowledge of business on their SEEDA project, Supporting Entrepreneurs and Enterprise Development in Africa. This got me thinking about how I can set up an enterprise which will engage with assisting job creation in Africa.

Fawohodie Designs was born out of my passion and vision to invest in Ghana and create jobs. I started by buying my initial collection from local entrepreneurs, forging business relationships with them. Later on that year, my father opened a sewing factory in Takoradi, Ghana which employs 10 people who now produce my clothing line. I still continue to buy from individual entrepreneurs and provide a platform on Fawohodie Designs for designers from Africa who want to showcase their products to the UK market.

How did the Women in Enterprise Awards originate?
The Women in Enterprise Awards were founded in November 2010 under Ghanaian Londoners’ Women Empowerment programme in celebration of Women Enterprise Day, during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

I was driven to launch this initiative for three main reasons. Firstly I have been inspired by the bold and spirited women who I’ve come across, who are making waves in their respective fields. The awards were also put together to recognise women’s achievements which sometimes goes unnoticed and inspire others – men and women, old and young – to embrace entrepreneurship. I wanted to promote and acknowledge those, in these case women in my immediate and wider communities, who are dedicated to economic growth and community development.

Secondly, I always get letters and emails from young women asking for advice on how to start projects or businesses. Sometimes, all they needed is a word of encouragement, inspiration and endorsement of their ideas to get them started, so I felt an award ceremony like Women in Enterprise will be a great platform for this as well as networking.

Thirdly, I wanted to establish a network of enterprising women to share information and ideas as well as mentorship for young women. Our winning eight women of Women in Enterprise 2010 will act as the mentors for young entrepreneurial women and the same pattern will follow each year.

What was your career path prior to starting your first business?
I began my career in media working for OBE TV as an administrator, and then later moved into presenting and producing TV programmes for the channel. Prior to that, I worked at a management level for a UK based retail company.

Did you always know that you would become a serial entrepreneur?
Yes, from a very early age I always knew I wanted to be in business and run a number of them too. I come from a family where my father always had a range of different businesses from a record shop to a boutique to a sewing factory.

What are your future goals for each of your businesses?
My goals for my businesses are to see them all grow in size and profits as well as keeping true to their real values and vision.

With Ghanaian Londoners, our goal is to become the leading organisation in the Diaspora promoting the Ghanaian culture, encouraging enterprise, investment opportunities, development and empowerment for Ghanaians to achieve to their fullest potential.

With Precise Marketing, our goal is to forge more partnership with freelancers to enable us carry out all the work that comes our way.

With Fawohodie Designs, our goal is to branch out from clothing into furniture and other household products.

What are you working on at the moment?
The current project I am working on is Ghanaian Londoners Young Entrepreneurs Programme, which provides free interactive weekly business learning and mentoring sessions for young people between the ages 18-24 years, giving them the training, necessary skills, encouragement and support to begin a career as an entrepreneur in the current business sector.

We aim to work with 60 young people in total and give them greater awareness of the running a business, self development and confidence. This programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, which is a tremendous achievement by Ghanaian Londoners.

We are running this programme from July 2011 till September 2011, so if anyone is interested, has a business idea and want to apply and take part, please email us with your CV and why to: info@ghanaianlondoners.org

Can you describe your typical working day?
My typical day begins as early as 5am which sees me making a list of all the critical activities I need to carry out during the course of the day. I spend the rest of the day focusing on the activities which involve lots of emailing, researching, phone calls, meetings and at times attending networking events. Whatever I don’t get to complete, gets carried over to the next day.

How do you balance running multiple businesses at the same time?
Luckily for me, my team are very supportive and take lead roles in my businesses. What I tend to do is focus on the critical decisions and activities and balance the work that way. For example, Ghanaian Londoners is my full time work, whereas I classify Precise Marketing and Fawohodie Design as my part-time work which enables me to balance things out.

Due to the nature of Fawohodie Designs, we have found that it’s a seasonal business and tends to be very busy for me during the summer months. Precise Marketing is operated by a collective of freelancers, which makes it easy to manage.

What have been the highlights of running your own businesses?
The highlights have been the learning experiences from conceiving an idea, nurturing and seeing it grow. For example, the launch of Ghanaian Londoners attracted over 150 Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians alike from different professions.

Due to my businesses, I also enjoy opportunity to be able to motivate people into taking action positively to pursue a dream or do something with their talents. As an entrepreneur, you can bet that each day will be filled with new opportunities to challenge yourself, be creative and learn something new.

What is the hardest part of running your own businesses?
The hardest part of running your own businesses is that it’s all riding on your shoulders. No longer do you have a boss to look up to, a marketing department to drive up sales, a foundation of business to work upon.

When you own and run your own business, it all comes down to your own dedication and passion. When I began I found it challenging to find a working pattern for myself and time management was a struggle. Just trying to stay on top of everything is the hardest part I think.

What, or who, inspires and motivates you?
First and foremost, my inspiration and motivation comes from God, who I believe has given me all my talents, skills and enabled me to be in business.

Secondly, my father is a big inspiration for me, because he has always been an entrepreneur, so I share a lot of ideas with him and I get a lot of advice from him too. He encourages me and its feel good to have that from my father. The rest of my family are very supportive which motivates me.

Outside of my family, I take inspiration from the ‘greats’ like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the founding father of Ghana who saw their opportunity not to just better themselves but for the continent of Africa. I also strongly believe that my purpose in Life is connected to many lives and my success will unlock doors for many people now and the future, so that’s a big motivation for me to keep going and break down the barriers for other to follow.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve received?
I would say that the best piece of business advice I have received is to keep going until I achieve my desired results, and I apply this to everything I do. I don’t let failure the first time I don’t achieve something discourage me at all.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting multiple businesses?
I would definitely advise them to go for it, but make sure it has the right balance between the companies. For example my businesses started at different intervals a year to two years apart and also they weren’t capital intensive businesses.

I started all of them on a shoestring budget, so I guess I didn’t have the stress of huge investment business which needed to make profits immediately, which meant I could afford to work on them at my own pace.

Fast forward five years, what do you think you’ll be doing in 2016?
As a serial entrepreneur, I think by 2016, I would have started some new ventures, especially in tourism and its impact as a developmental too, which is my passion too.

Adwoa, is there anything else you’d like to share?
I just want to encourage all young women reading this to follow their dreams and work hard to make them happen.

In August 2008, I was forced into redundancy with no immediate work to look forward to. Considering my next options, I knew networking would play a key role in whatever I did next to make me successful.

In February 2009, I launched Ghanaian Londoners as a networking platform which has been a huge blessing to me, so that goes to show that you can achieve anything if you believe and work towards it.

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For more information visit www.ghanaianlondoners.org, www.precisemarketing.co.uk and Fawohodie Designs’ Facebook page.

You can also find Ghanaian Londoners Network on Twitter and Facebook.

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Adwoa Agyemang was interviewed by Octavia Goredema, founder of the Twenty Ten Club.

The Twenty Ten Club is an award-winning networking organisation designed to connect, inspire and support Black female entrepreneurs. You can also find Twenty Ten Club on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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