“When I went for the job interview, I told them about my desire to be an entrepreneur in future. Straight away I was told I should rather go and chase my entrepreneurial dream than come looking for a job.”
And that is how it all began for Hope, a young entrepreneur who is into making upholstery and providing such services. Rather than feeling discouraged after the interview, he was emboldened and motivated to start his own business. He narrates how it all began to the B&FT’s Inspiring Startups.
Who is he?
Hope Komla Gbeve grew up in Gemini, a small town in the Volta Region of Ghana, with his uncle. In such a remote area life was tough for them. So, from infancy Hope learned how to hustle; doing all kinds of jobs with his uncle.
As a stutterer, he usually found himself timid and shy – finding it difficult to socialise with friends for fear of being laughed at or shunned by them. But, thankfully, the situation has so significantly improved today that it will surprise those who knew him from childhood how fluently he speaks.
In time, he moved to with his father in Accra for a quality education. The competition was initially tough for him, as the standard of education in Accra was higher than what he was used to. With hard work and determination, things began to normalise – and he was soon able to match his colleagues boot for boot, academically.
His hard work eventually paid off when he gained admission to the renowned Achimota Senior High School, where he studied General Arts and completed in 2012. From there, he gained admission to the University of Ghana where he read philosophy, English, classics, and political science, and graduated in 2016.
It has been a long journey for Hope, but all in all, he has managed to endure and be strong to face all these challenges.
After his national service as a teacher, he was faced with the fear of every graduate in Ghana—the unending search for a job. He applied for many jobs, but to no avail. However, one job interview he attended became a turning point in his life.
The game-changer interview
It was a job interview with a bakery in Accra that needed someone to design a system to keep account of its inventory and monitor sales. Hope, as you may not be aware, also has knowledge in IT and can develop apps – so he applied for the job and was called for the interview.
“The bakery belonged to a man and his wife. During the interview, the woman asked what I am really passionate about in life. I told them I envisioned starting my own business in the nearest future. Then she asked what I want to do, and I said ‘upholstery’.
“She then told me to go for it, because I didn’t know how far it would take me. Maybe they would be my future clients one day, and it would help me to provide jobs for others as well. So, rather than giving me a job, they motivated me to go and start mine.”
Those words, Hope says, was all he needed to set him off on the journey to becoming an entrepreneur. He left the interview in high spirits, and when he got home his uncle and sister about his interest in starting an upholstery business. They didn’t discourage him: he was rather encouraged to pursue his own dream.
Thanks to the Internet, he read and watched videos online and practiced to perfect his skills. It took him some time, but eventually, he got it. He registered his business with the name Prime Threaddle – and right from his bedroom, he started.
He does upholstery for cars, office or home furniture, sports facilities, and many more.
Prime Threaddle, in the nearest possible future, wants to become one of the sought-after upholstery services in the capital and even beyond.
Again, he is looking for a partnership to grow his business and even provide training for young people who are interested in learning the trade.
And, ultimately, he wants to provide employment for others.
For a young man who had no employment after completing university to help him gather some capital, it is obvious that financial constraints top his list of challenges. For him, he is willing to welcome a partner who shares his vision so they can combine resources and grow this business.
The same capital challenges have stifled his growth, as he is unable to raise money to buy the needed modern tools and machines for his work – let alone rent a spacious place to do his job.
The help of education
For Hope, education – especially at the tertiary level – is meant to open one’s mind to think outside the box; and that is what he feels education has done for him. It has opened his mind to be ready to learn and do things he has not had any formal training in.
How government can support
For him, one way for the government to assist startups is by creating an eco-park for them that will provide office spaces at very cheap cost, as the cost of rent has led to many startups resorting to doing business in their homes.
He argues that when the government does this, it will help many startup businesses to expand and employ others.
Advice to the youth
“I would say they should dare to dream. They should be determined to try whatever idea comes to mind. They should not be afraid to fail, as that is part of the learning process.”
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