As a young person living in Ghana, there seems to be a structural defect in sourcing funds to establish or expand a business. This sets out to be one major stumbling block that discourages people with brilliant business ideas from developing them into genius enterprises that could become great industries creating auxiliary businesses as well.
One may dispute this assertion considering the numerous banks, microfinance and savings and loans companies splashed around the country, but what is the probability a young person from a remote village with brilliant knowledge and business skills having access to any of the financial products being offered by these financial institutions? Often the chances are zero owing to the high interest rate, lack of loan insurance, lack of collateral, and a general system that is skewed to favor more the elite class.
What are actually the options available to the genius walking the streets of Accra with the ability to challenge Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Garett Camp/Travis Kalanick of Uber, Oscar Miquel/Sacha Michaud of Glovo?
Perhaps venture capitalists, angel investors, corporate venture capitalist and bank loans are the available opportunities that can be accessed to finance a startup firm but all these can only be achieved after some success is attained in the market with a substantial profit rate, application of technology and a promising future. The question therefore is how does one start a business from scratch with nothing but a head buzzing with ideas?
It is in this light that Dalex Finance and Leasing Company, a Ghanaian owned financial institution seeks to raise new Ghanaian business heroes by creating opportunities and exposure for startups through the OpEx Prize initiative.
The winners take home a sum of GH¢10,000.00 each and mentoring that would catalyze the dream of a Ghanaian Zuckerberg. The OpEx Prize in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) hopes to give these projects the necessary lubrication for success.
It is not surprising that HandyTradie, a fast-rising web-app specialized in linking artisans to clients, was adjudged one of the top 10 finalist in a keenly contested tech pitch.
The OpEx prize initiative is spearheaded by non-other than Mr. Kenneth Thompson, CEO of Dalex Finance with support from Joe Jackson (Director of Business Operations, Dalex Finance and Leasing Company), men known to scrutinize even the best of the best ideas.
HandyTradie is a homegrown internet company focused on bringing luxury and convenience to local Plumbers, Masons, Carpenters, Graphic Designers, IT Personnel etc. and clients using a very simple process on its app. Offering users ease of access to quality services from numerous Artisans, HandyTradie was recognized by the panel of judges as holding the key to industrialization in Ghana. Aptitude testing, pitching and judging took place between May 18-19 2021.
Speaking to Teresa Lemaire, CEO of HandyTradie, she did not express shock but rather excitement that finally there is a genuine effort from leading Ghanaian companies and government institutions to promote industrialization through digitization, technology, and mentoring. Teresa explained “this initiative is worth so much as it gives the youth hope that there is a future in business technology and that our society supports innovation, technology and critical thinking.