Replicating DreamOval to Reduce Unemployment in Ghana

A little more than three years after graduating from Ashesi University, Derry, Claud, Charles and Henry have built a company that employs ten people. Their company, DreamOval, which provides world-class internet and mobile software solutions was started in April 2007; four months after these young men graduated from school.

Considering the fact that Ghana’s most pressing need is providing employment for its many unemployed youth, of which some are graduates from our tertiary institutions, what these four young men have done is not just something that is highly commendable but something we should earnestly seek to replicate.

The building of businesses by young people is not a new or strange phenomenon, especially in a country like the United States. Global companies like Microsoft, Dell, FedEx, Apple, Google and Facebook were all started by very young people. There are many more, relatively less known, companies that were started by young people.

DreamOval is, however, one lucid illustration that the building of businesses by young people is something that is possible in Ghana and in Africa. We must seek to reproduce many DreamOvals. To do that, however, we must understand the challenges of venturing out after school and develop an effective strategy for overcoming these challenges.

Some Challenges of Venturing Out After School

Securing Financial Capital

As Derry, CEO of DreamOval, said, it is highly unlikely for a young Ghanaian graduate who has no track record to secure start-up capital from any financial institution or venture capitalist in Ghana. For DreamOval, they had to rely on their own little accumulated savings as well as money from family and friends.

Financial Pressure

According to Derry, they were able to pay themselves only after running DreamOval for about two and a half years. How did they foot their bills all this time they could not pay themselves, especially considering the fact that, in most cases, one cannot continue to look to his or her parents for livelihood after graduating from the University? For Derry, the support they had from friends and family helped to minimize this pressure. That notwithstanding, it was at times very frustrating for him to realize that two years after school, he was finding it difficult to afford certain things he would have been able to afford had he been working somewhere else.

Getting Customers

Without any track record, how are you going to get people to give their important jobs to you? For DreamOval, they had to do a lot of pro bono work to prove their capabilities to their prospective customers.

One Way to Deal With These Challenges

One approach that would help to counter some of these challenges is what I refer to as the ‘Dream Big, Start Now’ Approach

Adopting The ‘Dream Big, Start Now’ Approach

Students who dream of owning their own business after school have a lot to gain by starting their entrepreneurial pursuit while in school. If they are successful in building a business while in school, they will graduate owning a business. Obviously, they would be relatively better off than if they had to start from scratch after school.

First, it would be relatively easier to access financing since it is easier to persuade prospective investors to put their money into a business that has been running successfully for some time than one that is about to start.

Secondly, their exposure to the financial pressure explained earlier on would be limited. They would be able to start earning income from their business earlier than if they had to start from scratch. Financial pressure is an important issue to consider in discussing venturing out after school because unbearable financial pressure can force an entrepreneur to abandon his or her dream.

Also, if you have to do some pro bono work as a way of breaking into a market, what better time to do this than when you are in school and your parents are taking care of you!

Maintaining the Balance

Using the ‘Dream Big, Start Now’ approach requires the ability to combine one’s academic work with one’s business pursuit. It is not wise, in my opinion, to neglect one’s academic work while pursuing the dream to become an entrepreneur. I am, however, very convinced that there are many students in our tertiary institutions that have the ability to successfully build a business and achieve academic excellence at the same time.

Encouraging and supporting students with the ability to successfully build a business alongside their academic work to utilize this ability provides a most effective way of tapping the entrepreneurial talent of our youth to reduce unemployment in the country.

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6 Comments on “Replicating DreamOval to Reduce Unemployment in Ghana”

  1. kwukub Says:

    Well, this is a laudable idea. With the changing of mindsets and the causing of awereness of these ideas to even the people around and close to us can make a great difference in our nation as a whole.

  2. Sarbah Dzidzor Says:

    I fully agree with the idea of balancing business with academics.

  3. benzyno Says:

    the ability to dream itself aint enough………..the ability to dowload them into reality is the key….

  4. Wonderful article. Totally agree with the dream big, start now approach. SesolHP Ltd is a product of this approach and starting from school was helpful because the financial pressure was less.

  5. Prince Says:

    God bless you and make you a blessing to other enterpreneurs like me.

  6. Amin Larry Says:

    Since entrepreneurship is all about identifying opportunity and making good use of that opportunity. I believe here in Ghana, we have a lot of opportunities, and that I believe if we make good use of such opportunities, we will be the best country ever in this global world.

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