It is our tradition at the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC) to present a seedling to each entrepreneur during their induction into our business incubator program. Each entrepreneur is expected to nurture and care for the plant daily like they would their business.
This comes with challenges, opportunities and triumphs, as it is with the journey of nurturing a business. As he developed a relationship with his “GCIC potted plant” the asparagus fern, entrepreneur Lawrence Bampoe, founder of Nsoroma Farms Limited, stumbled on some important lessons which he writes about in the following article months after his induction into our 5th Cohort with 29 other entrepreneurs.
“Today, I can confidently say that Nsoroma Farms is a zero-waste farm focused on producing, processing and distributing quality and healthy catfish and pig products. But this was not always so. My business came to be clearly defined with time… yes, time and experience.
When I first registered my business, I knew there were lessons I would come to learn from influential people, mentors and experienced business practitioners. Honestly, out of all the places I looked for inspiration, a young seedling was last.
Do not go in with assumptions:
When I received my potted plant on induction day from GCIC, I thought, “this is fancy” and believed I just had to water it on most days and it would grow, period! I would later find that thought presumptuous and unwise, when I should have at least researched on the plant. Research could have given me a better idea of what I was dealing with and the basic dos and don’ts of its care.
So, I struggled with it. My very first challenge was finding out if it was an indoor or outdoor plant. Secondly, I had to find out how much time to commit to the plant – it seemed too demanding for a plant.
Oh! Trust me when I say there were times I almost gave up on this plant because it virtually died off. The guilt of having the beautiful plant die under my watch prompted me to do more. I started to watch closely to see it the soil was nutritious enough for my plant. I took note of how the asparagus fern behaved with little or no water, compared to how it did with enough water. I experimented with exposing it to the sun and saw how it fared without it. The plant needed to survive, not per my terms but per what it needed.
With my renewed zeal towards it, my dear asparagus fern survived. Little did I know that the experience served as training of some sort. It tested my decision making and managerial skills. I learnt about strategy and putting “your heart where your mouth is”. Every move counted; I needed to apply firm resolve and delicate care to achieve balance.
Knowing the plant well became part of my daily routine. At first, it was difficult managing it especially with a very busy schedule – running an enterprise and a family – when I made time, it gradually gave me satisfaction. I also discovered something new about this amazing living organism every time I spent knowing it and it proved to be a worthwhile venture.
I can boldly say that the journey of entrepreneurship is unpredictable; the only factor that makes a difference is an entrepreneur’s commitment to give off their best.
When you find yourself in a competitive business environment with all the challenges you can think of, discipline and patience keep you grounded. They enable you persevere and guide your choices – financial, social, sales. Very often in decision-making, an entrepreneur’s personal choice may conflict with their business choice but discipline helps me choose my business first because it represents a course greater than myself.
To fellow entrepreneurs, keep working diligently at overcoming the many hurdles you face today in your entrepreneurial ventures. What matters is the lessons you pick up from these challenges that shape the businessman or woman you become. Always remember, you can only be a failure if you tell yourself you are.
Thank you, Ghana Climate Innovation Centre for providing me with priceless life and business lessons that I may never derive from a training room.”
The Ghana Climate Innovation Centreis a pioneering business incubator with a unique focus of developing SME ventures and entrepreneurs in Ghana’s ‘green economy’. Our mission is to develop and support an exceptional set of transformational ventures and entrepreneurs who are pioneering adaptive and mitigating solutions for climate change issues in Ghana. We do this with a focus on five key economic sectors (energy efficiency & renewable energy; solar power; climate smart agriculture; domestic waste management; water management and purification), the provision of premium business advisory and business mentoring services, technical support in the development, prototyping and testing of their innovation, as well as financial proof of concept grants to qualifying SMEs within our incubator.
GCIC is funded by a grant from the Governments of Denmark and the Netherlands through the World Bank, and is managed by a consortium led by Ashesi University, and including Ernst and Young, SNV Ghana and the United Nations University. The Consortium offers the perfect mix of experience and excellence in private sector development, climate change, entrepreneurship, education and training, and research and development know-how.
Through our work 1,129 Metric Tonnes of CO2 have been avoided. Over 200,000 households have access to products innovated by our entrepreneurs and 127 direct jobs have been created with 57 of them being women-led. More than $1.4 million has been received in grants by businesses – about $700,000 of which was disbursed through GCIC proof of concept grants.
Watch video of GCIC Cohort 5 Induction and Cohort 3 Graduation below.