Building Entreprising Communities & Creating Wealth — #AfricaDay2021

Ato Ulzen-Appiah
6 min readMay 25, 2021


Building Entreprising Communities & Creating Wealth — #AfricaDay2021

It is clear I write blog posts when inspired. “ Today was one of those days. Funny enough, earlier today, I had thought about what am I doing for Africa Day. You know the one that was made a holiday in Ghana within 201 and then was removed as a statutory holiday in 2017? The day on which the Organization of African Unity was formed, even as the OAU is now known as the AU (African Union). A day synonymous with Africa’s Man of the 20th Century, Kwame Nkrumah. Yes, the guy I like to write to letters to (Letta to Osagyefo). Anyway, Kwame Nkrumah is also famous for leading the formation of Tema, affectionately known as Ghana’s Industrial City. On this Africa Day 2021, I shared about “ Building Entreprising Communities & Creating Wealth” at the Rotary Club of Tema’s virtual meeting, inspired by the theme for Barcamp Tema 2019.

Here is a summary of what I shared. I started by saying Happy Africa Day o!” with Diaspora Camp also in mind.

I talked about GhanaThink, sharing our mission, vision and standard introduction. We talk about a lot of network at GhanaThink, mentioning a GhanaThink network. We have several communities as well. Like our other Barcamps, communities have emerged out of Barcamp Tema. The Google Group tied to #bctema is still useful. The Konnect groups which are Whatsapp communities are growing in several ways, with Tema Konnect one of the most active, with multiple physical and virtual Konnect meetups.

Photo of some participants of Barcamp Tema 2018

Entrepreneurship is defined in multiple ways, but for me, entrepreneurs are those who take on risk and reap rewards. To be successful at any entreprise, you need to do a lot of research. I shared about this quote I first heard at #bctema 2019, made by Bright who was representing IPMC at the event. “ As an entrepreneur, you need to do your research well, or else your side hustle will hassle you”. I added this one, “ Commercialization is the observation of this civilization. This is a song from the 1970s. You have to observe the people, know their needs, then you can commercialize”, stated by another Barcamp Tema participant, Selassie. Research is important to figure out the pain points of customers, what they would pay for and potentially how much, as well as all the ingredients that go into one’s business model canvas, pitch deck, business plan, etc.

In researching for this presentation, I went through the 2010 Census Report on Tema. A couple of important stats: “Of the population 11 years and above, 91.1 percent are literate and 8.9 percent are nonliterate”. Chalk up one up for Tema. “About 72.0 percent of the populations aged 15 years and older are economically active”. Key word here is active

“I’ve been getting ideas for businesses. I decided I’m going to start lean, bootstrap. I learnt a lot from
@GhanaThink’s #Ghana Youth Social Entrepreneurship Program. I learnt about pricing too.”- Esperanza Yakubu @EspeeGH at #bctema

I referred to this tweet by Esperanza Yakubu while also sharing about how GhanaThink trained 44 social entrepreneurs via our Ghana Youth Social Entrepreneurship Program (now known as the Komseko program).

I also talked about some important aspects of entrepreneurship. I find it very important to bootstrap: work with small amount of money, time or even effort for great results and impact. Lean methodologies and lean practices are also critical for any entrepreneur, especially one in Africa where funding is not easy to come by. Yes, you may have been hearing about lots of big investments in African-led or African-focused startups, that’s a microcosm of the ecosystem. I shared about ideation and the need to pilot and work on a minimum viable product.

Like we have learnt, Tema was created as an industrial city. More stats: 26.3 percent are employed in wholesale and retail; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles industry, followed by 18.8 percent in manufacturing, 8.8 percent in transport and storage, industry and 8.2 percent in accommodation and food service industry. Buying & selling!

The census report mentioned: The country’s biggest port and harbour facilities are located in Tema. These contribute substantially to the revenue of the state but not much to Tema Metropolitan Assembly. In order to reverse this trend, the Assembly is collaborating with businesses in the shipping industry to mobilize enough revenue from the Port. This struck me! There is a shipping industry, but we need to talk about a shipping community. And communities of professionals all around Tema and beyond. Repeat after me. “Private sector is the engine of the growth”. Repeat it enough times till you are tired of it and have to absolutely tell someone in an African government that you know. Or take it from Tema = The private informal sector is the largest employer (65.4%), followed by Private formal sector (23.6%) and public (government sector (9.3%)

There is a big opportunity in processing and value added companies — not just due to the industrial history of Tema but in also being on the outskirts of Accra, sheer number of people in the informal sector and the number of literate people. About 31.5 percent are in service and sales occupations — good opportunity in services — especially targeting community by community.

I shared about a few other communities important to see more entrepreneurship in, in Tema. Tourism, think about the traditional and newly created festivals, the Greenwich Meridian in Community 1, Meridian Stone, the Sakumono Beach (sparing a thought for Accra beaches), and the inactive Meridian Hotel. You cannot talk about Tema and not mention music. Several top young Ghanaian musicians have emerged from Tema: Sarkodie, King Promise, R2Bees, or nearby Ashaiman: Stonebwoy. They all make #MusicWeDeyFeel. What about community health services — mobile services? Health can be delivered in communities around Tema, or public health education if you may. Did you know that almost a third (31.2%) of all dwelling units in the Metropolis are compound houses?

“If communities can change, neighbours “- Diana Setsofia Agbenyo at #bctema

It is important for members of a community to support businesses within it. Neighbourhoods can also grow particular businesses. Community 1 is the Central Business District for Tema. Several businesses can work out of this. We always party after Barcamps in Ghana — we call them after-parties. A couple of years after having Barcamp Tema at the Rotary Centre, we could not find places to party in Tema for the duration of the night (which meant multiple places) — making us end in clubs in Accra. One year, 2018 I think, we decided we should party only in Tema — no matte what. We succeeded. A couple of communities in Tema can be the ones for entertainment, lifestyle, family outings, etc. Think of new communities, like Community 25, it is ripe for delivery services to all the estates in there.

If you have rich friends, pitch your business idea to them. That’s one of the means to secure funds for your #business.” — Lovelyn #bcTema

I recognized the Barcamp Tema team members present at the virtual meeting, Benjamin Adadevoh ( team lead) and Peter Asare-Nyarko ( resources lead). Peter talks a lot about financial literacy, and the ESI Principle — Earn, Save, Invest. I expanded this to talk about: Earn everywhere, Save in great places, Invest in community avenues.

Once you have entreprising communities built, where the members support each other, buy from each other, etc, wealth will be created for many. In wrapping up, I made these points — Entrepreneurs investing in others, Musicians investing in labels, Businesses in communities, Franchising in communities.

I was honoured to have been invited by the Rotary Club of Tema. Engage them on Twitter and Instagram.

Originally published at on May 25, 2021.



Ato Ulzen-Appiah

I’m part of @GhanaThink which runs @barcampghana @JuniorCampGhana @volunteeringh, etc & @Museke. Read #mightyafrican blogs & @Abocco’s @ #GhanaConscious.