Join us in visiting our Changemakers

To say it’s a joy to see our changemakers every day would be an understatement. Words cannot express that moment because you play an active role in a project that aims to change lives.
As our Project manager, Godfred Darko, would say; “follow InspiNest to know my passion,” so why not follow our journey to learn about ours?

Background of our workshops.

Prior to that, for anyone reading our blogs for the first time, we held a number of training sessions for young girls in SHS and JHS schools in the Bono region. Our teaching model incorporates activity-based learning while also changing these students’ mindsets toward innovation and entrepreneurship. We take pride in knowing that we are not simply instilling a skill in these children, but rather providing them with the knowledge to identify problems and provide solutions to them.

Highlights from each of the schools.

Our first stop was at NOTRE DAME SHS. Six trained changemakers have now increased to 30 changemakers because these young girls did not keep their knowledge to themselves and had to train their colleagues. During the visit, they presented the innovative ideas they had already developed. They wanted to create a robotic air cooler that traps dust in schools to make it easier for asthmatic patients to breathe. They also proposed establishing an organization to educate young girls in their community about their basic rights.

These are all brilliant ideas, and with the right assistance and support, they will be able to realize them.
View excerpts from the visit by clicking on this link.

Our next stop was at Our Lady of Providence in Drobo. We joined our changemakers at their hub meeting here. We listened to and discussed their ideas, provided additional information about the business model, and included some participatory games. The girls and patrons were advised on how to best sustain the hubs while also ensuring that everyone participates in the idea generation process. The two-hour drive to campus was definitely worth it.

Moving on, we went to Serwaa Kesse SHS, where our six changemakers had changed and added over 50 new girls. We took them through the workshop again to ensure that they all had an equal understanding of what the project was all about.

Our next stop was the Bishop Owusu Girls School Complex. The young girls expressed their excitement for the project and hoped that more people will participate. We have young girls as young as 10 years old who have gone through this training process, and hearing them express themselves in this way is fascinating. This also demonstrates that if you give children a voice, they will use it as a stepping stone to greater heights.

Finally, our train arrived at NOTRE DAME JHS. The joy and excitement on the faces of these young people was unrivaled. They express themselves better through art. These young girls are able to draw problems they see in their surroundings and provide feasible solutions.

The emphasis on local communities is important to us, so we are pleased to see that the girls are on the right track.

What do we hope to accomplish?

We are working to make these entrepreneurial hubs as sustainable as possible. Allowing changemakers to take ownership of these hubs and, more importantly, to be problem solvers in their communities, as well as to pass on ownership to the next generation of girls, and them to the next, and so on..

We want like-minded individuals who recognize the need for the youth to change their perspectives on entrepreneurship and innovation. Everyone of us is creative in our own unique way. Creative enough to come up with innovative ideas that can be turned into a business venture. We simply need the right education, guidance, and support to succeed.

What they don’t tell you about entrepreneurship!

Entrepreneurship is a ruthless battle.

Entrepreneurship can have you up at 3 a.m stressing about finding a solution. Idea generation and idea execution are two distinct processes. Having an idea is one thing, but how we put those ideas into action is what really matters. One common mistake that entrepreneurs make is assuming that having an idea is sufficient. The real job entails putting in the effort.

There are times when the level of sacrifice can emotionally weaken you. Missing out on important life events because you must devote all of your energy to your business.

Do not be embarrassed to withdraw from certain activities. It simply means that your discipline is taking you to places where you cannot be distracted.

IS ENTREPRENEURSHIP WORTH CONSIDERING ?

What could be more exciting than creating your own life by doing what you love, with less reliance on the government or individuals to recommend you. That is the essence of entrepreneurship. Being self-sufficient and able to sustain it is admirable, but all too often, we only see the end results.

Who walks you through the production process? NO ONE! You have to figure it out on your own.

Unfortunately, entrepreneurs face poor business environments, a lack of originality because someone else is ready to copy your business model, human resources, and, most importantly, a lax attitude toward work.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS FIELD

One aspect of entrepreneurship that receives little attention is its relationship to human relations. Whether you like it or not, the people around you have an indirect impact on your ideas or business.

That is why people require role models and outside inspiration. Entrepreneurship has a link to our interpersonal relationships. Your success is directly related to the health of your relationships.

If you’re constantly giving your energy to distractions and worrying about those around you, you won’t have the mental clarity to create, manifest, and grow a brand.

There is also the issue of oversharing. You’re constantly told to move in silence for fear of having your ideas stolen. Because people sabotage your dreams, you must move in strategic silence. 

However, knowing who to be silent around is also important because the right people in your circle can help you think about things differently in order to bring ideas to life.

When you decide to become an entrepreneur, you learn, make mistakes, and do what works best for you. The long term result is that you get better and more creative every day.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

I’ll conclude by saying that with the advancement of social media as a channel for growing businesses, entrepreneurs are finding it easier to reach a larger audience. It’s not at all easy to go from 100 followers to thousands or even millions.

It takes consistency. But what if consistency isn’t determined by how frequently you post, but by the purpose of your posts.  It means that each post has an impact on your community that is greater than the noise. Do not jump on every hot topic just to stay relevant.

Entrepreneurship can humble you, but do not be too quick to fold. Continue to nurture your ideas and don’t give up when doors are slammed in your face.  

No matter how tough things become, remember why you started!

Policy Dialogue – charting Bono region’s entrepreneurial framework

InspiNest has held its first policy dialogue meeting in order to strengthen the region’s entrepreneurial culture as part of the project Bono Changemakers targeting young female entrepreneurship in Bono.

The policy dialogue is part of the organisation’s efforts to generate policy recommendations on the challenges that young female entrepreneurs face in the Bono region, entrepreneurship inclusion in schools, and ideas for how to best structure this course.

The event headline under the theme “identifying the challenges and opportunities for growth: the reality on the ground” had in attendance: The Department of Gender, Department of Children, Department of Social Welfare, Department of Community Development, Ghana Education Service, Sunyani Youth Development Association as well as other stakeholders from the region.

Discussions were centered on recommendations and suggestions made by Inspinest’s advocacy group. Some of the challenges highlighted that young entrepreneurs in the region face include lack of room for innovation for children, parents suppressing their children’s potential, lack of mentorship within the community, and unhealthy competition from pioneers, to name a few.

Targeting the youth early on

Madam Joycelyn Adii, regional director for the Department of Gender, lauded InspiNest for providing young girls with the necessary skills to succeed in entrepreneurship.

“What we can instill in them at a young age will go a long way.” People at the university stage often have already formed a mindset about what they want to be, but at a younger age, we can change their mindset pretty early,” she reiterated.

Mr Felix Dumong, co-founder of InspiNest, expressed gratitude to all stakeholders in attendance.
“When mindsets are changed, outcomes are different and if we change mindsets towards innovation, our societal problems can be easily solved ”, he added.

There was also a call to action that, as policies are developed, implementation and sustainability should be prioritized in order to ensure an effective system for young girls.

Following each advocacy meeting, a Policy Dialogue Forum will be held bimonthly to allow participants to share and exchange their experience and expertise, as well as to gather new policy initiative ideas.

The young female entrepreneurship initiative is in partnership with Civil Connections and SDG WORLD.

Is your ability to be innovative hindered by doubt and uncertainty?

The true impediment we face as humans is the spirit of doubt and uncertainty.

We live in an age of what IFs. “What if I fail to achieve this?” What if I don’t succeed? What if you do not fail should be the question. What if you have the ability? Because no one can predict the future, we must entrust it to the one who does.

Identify your doubts and uncertainties as you read this and decide whether they are worth putting in that category. Join me on this journey!

Where did these doubts come from? Some of the most common reasons for people’s doubts are as follows:

  • Comparisons With Others
  • Fear of Failure / Fear of Success
  • New Challenges
  • Past Experience and Mistakes
  • Childhood Upbringing

These are just a few of the reasons why people are skeptical. I believe anyone reading this falls into one of these categories.

We need inspiration because we require it in our lives. Once someone has done it, it clears the way for you to follow in their footsteps while making it better. The negative aspect arises when people begin to compare themselves to one another. “The sky is big enough for us all to fly,” as they say.

Only you are capable of doing what you are good at. This brings us back to the subject of passion. When you’re doing something you’re passionate about, the only room for improvement is for growth, not for self-doubt.

This is not another motivational speech where you get bamboozled. Yes, the fears and doubts will cripple in, it’s only human, but you have a choice : deal with them or allow them to manifest.

Simple steps to overcoming uncertainty and doubt

Our mind is the most powerful tool because it is the source of all human innovation. Every innovation originates in the mind. As entrepreneurs and innovators, we will face many roadblocks, including doubts, but can we view them as hurdles to overcome? We may not completely overcome them, but we will definitely reach a point where we are no longer afraid.

You can’t win as an innovator unless you have complete faith in your own abilities,  as well as your solution and business model. There is also a tendency to be overconfident, but ideas are frequently sabotaged by uncertainty and self-doubt.

Every small step or success must be celebrated with joy and zeal. This drowns out all of your fears. When things get tough, remember to be kind to yourself.

Overcoming doubts may be an unending journey. Consider whether your ideas are attainable. When making decisions, turn off your analytical mind and be very rational. You’ll be able to trust what you’re bringing into existence.

Finally, learn more and put it to use.

Discover your strengths and use them consistently. Trying to improve everything at the same time may not be ideal. You’re either an idea person or a business builder, or both. Find what you’re good at and build upon it.

Surround yourself with people whose strength are your weaknesses.

Never let yourself be concerned about mistakes you have made or may make in the future. Instead, celebrate all of your accomplishments and positive moments along the way.

Get motivated because, at the end of the day, you are your own biggest critic.

Advocacy meeting to boost entrepreneurial and innovative culture

InspiNest as part of its project to train young females in entrepreneurship and innovation held its maiden advocacy meeting.

This is in line with boosting the entrepreneurial and innovation culture among young girls in the Bono region. 

The project; “Bono Changemakers”, seeks to train 2000 and more girls in entrepreneurship with an emphasis on change of mindsets.

The advocacy meeting forms part of the organization’s efforts to bring stakeholders, NGOs, and entrepreneurs who are concerned with entrepreneurship and how it is viewed in the Bono region, to come together to discuss relevant issues and provide solutions, favorable to the girl child. 

AREAS OF INTEREST

The event headline under the theme “identifying the challenges and opportunities for growth: the reality on the ground” had in attendance ActionAid, SmAid International, Camfed Ghana, WanHive Ghana, Glomef, Fiapre Youth Association, IWEN, ADAF Ghana as well as Entrepreneurs from the region.

Some of the challenges raised which were crucial were the mindset of young people, the educational system, public policy, access to information, and many others but the key factor was the mindsets of young people.

An entrepreneur in the region Miss Nana Ama Asiedu stressed the need for these young girls to be educated to gain a different perspective on entrepreneurship. In order to do this, there should be a collective effort to seek mindset change.

“It all starts with the mind, young children must be given the platform to excel. If we want to champion entrepreneurship, we have to start from the basic level in order to do away with in-built mentalities regarding entrepreneurship”

NANA AMA ASIEDU, ENTREPRENEUR

The co-founder of InspiNest, Mr. Felix Dumong noted that the Bono region operated differently as compared to other urban places.

“ The more people we have thinking about change, the better for the region. Girls at young ages should be made to see that they can achieve more, inculcate in them the need for change at an early age, then the reality of unemployment which we face in the country will be minimized”

MR. FELIX DUMONG, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER,Inspinest
advocacy meeting

ADVOCACY GROUP TO SHAPE POLICY DECISIONS

Discussions and suggestions held during the meeting are to be presented to policymakers.

A policy dialogue meeting will be held to deliberate on how best policies can be formed to improve entrepreneurship.

In order for sustainability, the advocacy group meetings will be held occasionally. This is to strengthen collaborations with stakeholders and also ensure ideas are being implemented.

The young female entrepreneurship initiative is in partnership with Civil Connections and SDG WORLD.

Discover our secrets to change mindsets

Entrepreneurship and innovation means different things to different people. When people take up entrepreneurship and innovation projects, focus is usually on training people in a particular skill, either bead making, soap making, ICT related courses and many others. InspiNest would like to change mindsets and redefine the thought of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Our mantra is simple; changing mindset towards innovation. Every individual has their own passion and what motivates them. It will be a time-drain to train someone in a particular skill then after a year or two, the person neglects it just because it was imposed or for the simple reason of not being passionate about it.

HOW DO WE CHANGE MINDSETS THEN?

Every venture you set up must come easily to you.

This is why we do what we do. We want young people to identify within themselves things they would like to change. Things they consider problems that they can solve. Things they can relate to in their local communities. That is where the change of mindset begins.

If young adults can define their own path and figure out what to do in their own space, then we can say we’ve done a good job of inculcating entrepreneurship and innovation spirit in them. 

CASE STUDY!!

Taking reference from our changemaker trainings we’ve done so far, most of these young girls came with varied expectations, varied thoughts and reasoning on how entrepreneurship should look like. We all agree that it should be looked at as an art through which you make profit or establish a business but we see the journey as a change in mindset in order to solve a problem.

We want people to have fun while being innovative. The creative process is harnessed effectively when you have fun doing it. One of the activities we focused on was including games into the training. The girls become more involved when they’re having fun.

These games help shape their thought process too. For instance, our risk taker game involves throwing a ball from a distance into a pit. The higher point you throw from, the higher points you get. This is related to any business, even banks make this assertion that investing involves risk, the higher the risk, the higher the returns.

Same as entrepreneurship, if you need to bring something into existence, you have to be willing to take higher yet calculated risks for it. The simple way of teaching the girls this was through a game. That’s a mindset change there because, complex things were broken down into much more relatable context.

Another angle to take into consideration when seeking to change mindsets is drawing inspiration from people, surroundings and many more. People become more creative and innovative when they can draw inspiration from it. Our entrepreneurial pitch forms a major part of our training exercise.

We have seen how engaged the young girls become when external presenters in the form of entrepreneurs share their journey with them. The highs and lows these entrepreneurs share serve as a major inspiration to our young ones. They now believe that, if someone LOCAL can do it, then they can do it too.

We change mindsets by seeing issues more as opportunities other than problems. We have this mantra that says, if it annoys you, then it probably annoys someone else. It goes to affirm that problems will always exist, it’s up to as us individuals to try to solve them. But seeing them as problems might be limiting.

We should then ask ourselves how best we can provide a solution to it. That is all we preach to our young females. They should find any problem within their local community, draw inspiration from others, get feedback, make adjustments then build upon it.

By doing this, it becomes an opportunity to exploit their creative and innovative side which goes a long way to be a business venture if it’s feasible. Thus satisfying our vision of bringing up innovative entrepreneurs.

At InspiNest, our young females should after the one year form new mindsets regarding innovation and entrepreneurship. This change should also trickle down to their communities, peer groups and nation at large.

Our evaluation report shows that 75 mindset changed at the end of the BONO changemakers workshop.

Our focus is on the youth; grassroots!

Every institution, people in authority, older figure we meet or engage with more often that not leave us with the statement, “ I wish I had this training when I was younger”.

This rings in your head often because you’ll begin to wonder how things were done. Could it have been better?

Now there’s no room for regret because it’s our aim to assist and help the youth, mostly grassroots because that’s where the focus should be.

What we refer to as grassroots is simply the younger generation. Young children who are still finding their feet in the world. Junior high and senior high school students who have not yet been exposed to the hardship of the job market or even the world at large.

Why are we focusing on the female youth?

We still live in a very male dominant world where there are limited opportunities for young females. It may seem far-fetched because mindsets are changing and there’s a fight for gender equality but at the grassroots, there is still a long way to go.

Most young people often have the ” I cant mentality” in this part of our country. Before they even try, there is less motivation to pursue their goals. Being at a young age gives the advantage to try, make mistakes but then you get better throughout the process.

Young people should be given the room to feel that their dreams are valid and achievable.

The creative gap asserts that young children tend to be more creative and innovative as compared to adults. Its just like every growth process, each stage of your life presents you with things you can do. Young children are free to explore, make mistakes and harness their creative ability to the best of their abilities.

There is usually no limit to how innovative they can be. This is why we focus on them, to guide them to be the best versions of themselves at their young age so as they grow, there is something tangible to rely upon.

Extracts from changemaker training of the youth; grassroots

During our training, we had a 10 year old girl from Bishop Owusu Girls JHS. She happened to be the youngest yet one of the brilliant changemakers. You will ask why the youth? This is why.

These young ones tend to be very open, vocal, innovative and passionate about their ideas.

Using Michelle as an example, we were so motivated and proud of how she fit in with her peers who were much older, and be creative in her own way.

 If we can get thousands of young children to champion this course, imagine the future we will be creating for them. A future that enables them to follow what they are passionate about. Then we’re bringing up young adults who thrive for more which reflects in everything they do.

To sum it all up, we will like to see the youth identify and take ownership of anything they create. There is a sense of responsibility when one feels involved in a task. They should take ownership of their creative journey and be the best version of themselves.

Michelle and our project manager

The Ghanaian girl, A changemaker

Who is a changemaker?

A changemaker is one who achieves positive change for the greater good by taking innovative action.

He or she influences and inspires others to support until the change is achieved.

Imagine a young girl between the ages of 15-18 being bestowed as a changemaker for their school. Feels like a heavy load one can carry.

How do you navigate this role effectively?

How do you act as a changemaker and be able to in turn educate your fellow students? Seems like a hurdle to me if you ask.

Was that even the case?

This is an amazing project and I’ll want my friends to hear about it so I’ll definitely spread the word.

Patience, our lady providence

This assertion on the first day crumbled all the worry and gave confidence that they were going to benefit a lot from this project.

Now lets get into details of how the project proceeded. We had a 4 day workshop to imbibe in their inner self the need to be creative and innovative. Girls from 3 SHS schools namely Serwaa Kesse SHS, Notre Dame SHS and Our Lady of Providence Girls’ received training in various entrepreneurial development.

These girls were taken through various training namely in innovation, problem identification and solving, business models, how to identify their unique selling points and also communication and social media.

How do you turn your passion into a business idea?

It’s one thing to perform a role and another to be passionate about it. Entrepreneurship becomes easy only when you’re passionate about it.

The next step is applying it to a business model to check its feasibility.

HIGHLIGHT OF EACH DAY

Our changemakers identified their passions and limitations and you should consider doing the same too. Having an idea of what you’re passionate about helps you narrow down on the things that are achievable and what are not.

On DAY 2, business models were introduced to the girls. Every business needs a model for it to operate effectively because a business is about the people. A simple business model addresses the following: the resources you need for your business, what value you are providing, how to reach your customers, your expenses and income.

It is amazing to see young girls come up with brilliant ideas like a disease detector, preserved pito (pito: local African drink), a wooden calculator, among others.

changemaker
STORYTELLING

Storytelling is a major part of the entrepreneurial journey. Every successful entrepreneur sells an idea by telling stories. Stories of how they were able to identify a problem and provide solutions to that problem. What better way to boost the confidence of these young girls than to inspire them with a local entrepreneur.

People feel connected to whatever you do when you’re relatable and they can draw inspiration from you.

On DAY 4, we looked at essence of social media and how to leverage it to grow your business. We shouldn’t deny the impact of social media on the growth of businesses. More than half of the world’s population use it as a means of communication.

It will be sad to limit them because that’s where customers are focusing their attention. This brings us to the question; what’s a brand without your customers or audience?

THINK LOCAL BEFORE GLOBAL

Our aim for this training is to be able to change the mindsets of these young females. The young girls from the various schools left inspired and confident that they can make a change in their own community.

They should be able to think locally before making global impact. There’s so much of the world we haven’t seen. Try to impact your world and then go on and take on the world.

Gloria Bribi
Communications Officer
Inspinest Foundation

Role of parents in Entrepreneurship

I want to be an artist but my dad wants me to be a doctor.

“I want to be a business woman but my mum wants me to be a lawyer ”.

These are some of the common comments from young people when asked what they are passionate about. Most stories we hear are parents deterring their children from a particular career path.

In this blog, we’re going to demystify the myth surrounding certain career choices and the role of parents in entrepreneurship, how they can assist to change their mindset and that of their children.

Let’s put the disclaimer out there, our parents sometimes make choices they see best for us. These are mostly due to security, sustainability, less risks and among others. Parents would want their kids to have a secure future in terms of employment. I mean who would want a 30 year old child still struggling to get a good source of income. So it’s much easier to define a clear path at a younger age so as to avoid the former.

The issue now stems from different passions and dreams. Young people will gear into entrepreneurship because the job security promised became unachievable. Major cause of this is the high unemployment rate in Ghana.

Parents are our first Entrepreneurs.

As parents are shifting their kids to pick more white-collar jobs, what we notice is, our parents themselves are more involved in entrepreneurship. They own businesses, employ themselves, they are their own accountants and everything but their kids venture into something totally different. This shows us that, the role of parents in entrepreneurship cannot be overlooked. So why are the youth not inspired to tread the same path? Are they not attractive enough? Is it not lucrative? Mind you, it’s the same business that provides for everyone at home also. Why then do we not make it a habit to inculcate the entrepreneurial culture in the youth at an early age.

There’s a verse that goes, train a child in the way that he should go, and when he grows he will depart from it. This verse we can proudly say applies in every aspect or stage of a young child’s life.

What is the way forward?

 We at InspiNest would love parents to come on board on this mindset change journey. We can do so much in their schools and through our training activities but what happens in their respective homes? What role does the parent play in ensuring that their kids, apart from securing a good career path, can also pursue what they’re passionate about with fewer restrictions. It’s amazing to see professionals have a “side hustle” as we call it attached to what they have studied.

We would really love our parents to be involved in the mindset change journey and it begins with one home at a time.

Gloria Bribi
Communications Officer
Inspinest Foundation