Collaboration over competition!

Is collaboration among organizations/stakeholders necessary?

Just as in business, where people choose joint ventures to strengthen and join forces with others in order to maximize profits, In the same way that one can bring their strong sides and complement each other where one is weak.

Similarly, organizations/stakeholders aiming to change society can use the same approach. Working together to ensure we’re all pulling our weight to help each other.

A popular saying goes, “A broomstick can easily be broken, but when broomsticks are tied together, the broom will bend but not break.” This statement carries some weight.

Why don’t we all help each other succeed because, in reality, you can succeed best by helping others.

collaboration

InspiNest collaborative effort with other organizations.

One of the most important factors that stakeholders hammered on during our recent advocacy meeting was the need for partnership and collaboration between NGO’s to help solve challenges in the entrepreneurial world.

We live in a country where people like tearing each other down. It appears to be more of a battle to prove or show yourself approved.

Even though this is not necessarily a bad thing because you improve as a person when you can show a progress report of what you do, in the same light, one person can only do so much, but when individuals decide to collaborate, the end results are usually worthwhile.

Civil Connections visit from Denmark to Ghana demonstrated one thing: ‘teamwork.’

There is so much that can be done, but by working together, everyone on the team can find their voice. When organizations join forces, whether for charitable or business reasons, they can leverage on others to form a formidable force.

How can we foster collaboration?

  • TRUST – The foundation of any long-term relationship is trust. For others to put their trust in you, you must be trustworthy as a person. This is a moral principle, not a business one.
  • RESPECT – Respect does not imply superiority. It cannot be demanded, but must be earned. Whether you’re a leader or a subordinate, it’s critical to respect each other as people first, then for the roles you play.
  • WILLINGNESS – This can be translated in a number of ways, but in order to not give up easily, you must be willing to give your all for a higher purpose. Know your goal and commit to achieving it.
  • EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION – Disagreement will always arise when two people misunderstand each other. As a result, communication and opinions must be received with clarity.

The main goal is for individuals to be able to collaborate in order to achieve a common goal. Goal 17 of the SDGs discusses partnership for sustainable development.

The UN even admits that achieving this goal will require strong global partnership and cooperation. This only emphasizes the importance of people working together to build better, more effective communities and a more sustainable world.

collaboration

Consider an individual doing all of an organization’s planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling. It leads to burnout, but if more people join, each one can be assigned a role; a role where they are good at . Then we can achieve more effective and better results.

Collaborations have shaped organizations all over the world.

There is no limit to what companies from various industries can create when they collaborate.

Take into account how organizations such as McDonald’s and Burger King, as well as Uber and Spotify, were able to increase recognition, make better use of knowledge and resources, and increase profitability simply by collaborating.

Collaborations can even reveal that you share the same audience, which aids in the development of a formidable brand for both companies.

When two companies collaborate, both organizations benefit from the experience. They bring their own insight and creativity to the table, which is what makes a collaboration successful for both parties.

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.

collaboration

Less talk, more action.

It appears to be a cliché, and it is said everywhere, but the truth is the truth. Rather than just talking about it, we need more action and implementation.

Having multiple advocacy meetings with no results.

Meeting stakeholders for brunch is not the way to go.

When policies are implemented, public education should be improved. 

The general public should be aware of what the policy stands for.

The beneficiary should be aware of the implications of those policies.

What this country lacks is access to information. The majority of the population is unaware of the policies enacted on their behalf, let alone understands them.

What are policies and what role do they serve?

Policies are based on the idea that what you put in is what you get out. Simply put, your efforts are rewarded. People must be informed about why a particular policy is beneficial to them in order for them to invest in it.

People must be convinced that what they put in the demand box will generate funds.

They become interested when their grievances are addressed or when a specific need is addressed.

Let us not kid ourselves, people need motivation and inspiration to feel like they belong, but it cannot be just another sod cutting event; work must be put into any idea or policy for it to serve its purpose.

Miss Mercy Boakyewaa, a Political Science student at the University of Winneba in Ghana, explained how the political system works, including the support and demand factors I mentioned earlier.

Anything imposed has no future, and you do not impose policies on citizens. You must properly explain these policies in order for them to flow freely

MERCY BOAKYEWAA, POLITICAL SCIENCE STUDENT
less talk, more action

A few of the impediments are bureaucracy and a lack of implementation.

We’re discussing the political system because of the country’s bureaucracy. Your project may work, but it may not be completely effective if those at the top do not advocate for it.

Whatever you do can work, but there are certain structures you must follow. You cannot do it alone; you must have people who can speak on your behalf in rooms where you are not present. This allows your work to spread more quickly.

This whole structure lacks substance and it is a mindset that has to change.

During our policy dialogue meeting, the majority of stakeholders expressed their dissatisfaction with how policies are developed and implemented.

bono policy dialogue

The issue with most policies is their implementation. There are no resources to put them into action in order for them to have an impact.

 On the ground, how are policies affecting society?

There has to be a strong advocacy to ensure that some of these policies are tailored to suit the implementation.

Mr Baffuor Anane, Regional Director, Community Development, bono region

Ways to champion “the more action” agenda!

Policymakers must eschew the gain-at-all-costs mentality and be willing to work with others to effect change and development in their community.

So, what are the options? Our educational system can be reformed, and people can be taught useful skills. Schools can collaborate with local organizations in their communities to provide students with hands-on training. Teachers and parents should identify their children’s strengths in order to provide a solid foundation for them.

Most importantly, the youth must be allowed to express their creative and innovative sides. Only in this way will policies be able to benefit the younger generation.

This blog talks a lot about the struggle with policies, but we can’t talk about the struggle if nothing changes. That is why InspiNest strives to be a voice for the younger generation while also changing mindsets.

Our mission is not in loud works but effective works.

Create jobs instead of seeking jobs

Why is entrepreneurship so fascinating? For me, it’s about experiencing the passion of people who want to throw everything they got into an innovative idea with the hope of creating a sustainable livelihood for themselves and subsequently others. That is exactly what I witnessed at UEIC in Accra.

Last week I had the honor of being a judge at the UPSA Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center (UEIC) start-up pitching contest at the University of Professional Studies in Accra (UPSA).   

I was impressed by the level of innovation and progress these young students had obtained in just one years training at the UEIC accelerator programme, which is;

“..aimed at developing the interest and building graduates’ mindset from UPSA to spend their one year national service period developing a business that will bring systemic change in Ghana regarding job creation and employability.”

The pitching event was the culmination of the one year training at UEIC. The 13 aspiring startup founders pitched their business, showcasing product samples, 3-year financial plans and funding requests.

upsa ueic

Re-using waste material

If you live in Ghana, you will know that waste collection is a huge societal and environmental problem. But these young innovators turn the problem into opportunity.

Ghana’s future looks brighter when you witness young Ghanaians come up with ambitious and innovative business ideas, especially when they are based on societal issues with an eco-friendly and sustainable touch to it as well. Several contestants was basing their operations on the use of all sorts of waste material as their primary resource.

This underlines that a mindset of seeing possibilities instead of limitations can take you very far. Something we preach everyday at InspiNest, when trying to change peoples mindsets in the Bono Region.

upsa ueic

I was also happy that these aspiring business owners, was only asking for realistic funding between 10k – 50k and not for half a million. The youth unemployment in Ghana is widespread and growing. This is why it doesn’t make sense to focus the start-up funding on a few extremely talented and fortunate ones.

I will keep saying this:

Let’s focus on many small investments, instead of a few large. There are so many youth in Ghana that can start their own businesses with very little funding provided. 

As my fellow judge Mr. Richard Osei Owusu put so right: “Create jobs instead of seeking jobs.”  

Mr Richard Osei Owusu, Director of Finance, Interglobal Partners Limited & Member of the Governing Council, UEIC.

The winners of the pitching contest will be announced on graduation day, September 8th at UPSA.

Read more about the event at Ghana News Agency: Thirteen UPSA Start-ups pitch business ideas for capital injection.

Relocating from Accra to Sunyani – alone!

Relocating appears to be a simple task until the time comes to take the plunge.

To be clear, I’ve always said in passing that I’d like to leave the hustle and bustle of Accra, but never considered what it would entail to relocate to an unknown location.

What necessitated my relocation to Sunyani?

It all started with a job application with no surety of relocating but still applying because it looked promising. I came across a publication by InspiNest while searching for job applications on LinkedIn one day, and as a communication professional with a degree in Public Relations, I thought why not?

I applied because I thought it would be a good opportunity to improve my communication skills. I had no hope of moving because I assumed it would be one of those numerous job applications where you never get called.

relocating

Favor on my side, I received a message in the early morning of February 8, 2022 informing me that I had been scheduled for an interview with InspiNest. I met with my current boss, Emil Persson, and our project manager, Godfred Darko, for the interview. I had a stressful morning, so I don’t think I gave it my all. But after the interview, I briefly considered whether I would be willing to relocate to Sunyani.

Let me walk you through the process of deciding whether or not to relocate.

Immediately, I began looking for Sunyani on the map, and that 8 hour drive from Accra killed my spirit. Truthfully, I gave up until four days later when I was contacted for further discussions. I kept asking myself, “Why me?”

I remember talking to my mother and two close friends because I needed to know if I was making the right decision. Living in an unknown location, having to fend for yourself while providing basic amenities and utilities, is the definition of the ghetto. Please do not take that step if you are not prepared to make certain difficult decisions about your finances and life.

Inspinest Ghana

If skeptical was a name, I would be it. I had to leave Accra by March, so I had a month to wallow in worry and overthinking. I awoke numerous times wondering if I really needed to do this. Some days, I told myself that this job wasn’t for me, while others, I wanted to follow my heart and take the risk.

The only thing that kept me going was this: I’m going to start my professional communication journey with this and build a career around it. After deciding to relocate, I realized how important it was to have a vision and pursue it.

I started having imposter syndrome a few days before I had to leave. My dad, as usual, wanted to be an investigative journalist so took all the pertinent information about the company. On March 12th, I finally packed my bags and a few essentials and headed to the bus station. I called my sister for moral support, and by the time I arrived, I knew this was where I wanted to be.

relocating

Relocating has been the best decision I’ve ever made.

How did I find out? When praying for a job, ask for a work environment that will not lead to burnout, depression, or regret. Felix Dumong, our co-founder, met us at the bus station, and the reception was phenomenal. I felt like I belonged here, and all of my uncertainties and doubts vanished.

Most at times, you will think that the reception is a nine-day wonder, but no, I get the freedom to be creative.

A few months later, and it has truly been an interesting journey filled with widespread optimism. There have been both setbacks and surprises. But ultimately I have no regrets. The work culture, coupled with the fact that I enjoy my job, has made me feel at ease in Sunyani. I rarely think about going to Accra anymore. Now I get to speak to young girls about my passions and make a positive impact on their lives.  

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!

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.

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

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