The proprietor of Clearpower Ventures, Mr Clearforce Tetteh has urged fellow young entrepreneurs to diversify their product offerings to help survive the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sharing his experiences alongside other beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme (CoRe), he said although he was an electrical contractor, he has now ventured into selling of foodstuffs as a supplementary source of income in order to survive the challenges of the pandemic.
The CoRe programme is an initiative of the Springboard Road Show Foundation, in partnership with Solidaridad and the Mastercard Foundation. The programme is supporting over 692,000 young people in the country to survive and thrive during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
My Tetteh who is a beneficiary of the YIEDIE Programme participated in the weekly CoRe Hangout on the theme ‘Business In Crisis; ensuring survival post COVID-19.’
“I am an electrical contractor and I work for real estate companies; but with the blow from COVID and the financial issues it has brought upon the companies we work for, they are not able to pay us. We keep working and our resources keep going but our clients are unable to pay us
“So then what do you do? I sat down, strategized and started selling electrical materials and food items. My fellow entrepreneurs have to diversify their businesses. If services doesn’t go well, people eat everyday so if you don’t make money from the services side, you will end up selling something.
“You don’t have to put all your finances in one pot. When the pot gets broken you will be in trouble,” he stated.
Ten years journey of Horseman shoes
The CEO of Horseman Shoes, Mr Tonyi Senaya, also shared the story of his ten-year journey in the business of making shoes.
“It’s been quite humbling and very fulfilling. Something that started in a bag pack has travelled a lot of hurdles to be ten years. It is not easy but we believe we could have been somewhere higher than where we are now.
“The journey has been that of hard work, tears, sweat, blood and lot of learnings. There have been high moments and we have rediscovered ourselves at several points. All in all its been a great and difficult journey but a fulfilling one,” he pointed out.
Commenting on how COVID had impacted the business, he said the partial lockdown was a very difficult period for the business and for him personally.
“I was thinking how we were going to survive because for six weeks we had not made any sales. When the first two cases were announced, our sales dropped that week, the following week, no enquiries were made, not even a phone call or Whatsapp enquiry, so we decided to close down even before the president asked us to stay at home.
“We lost lots of money during the period because social gatherings such as weddings, parties and birthdays were the drivers of our sales and all of these events were put on hold. I however used the lockdown period to design a new line of shoes for ladies, ” he explained.
He said, even when the restrictions were eased, sales did not pick up immediately but started picking up around July when the fear and anxiety began going down.
Mr. Senaya, who is also a Springboard alumnus, referenced his learnings from the 2009 road show as the foundations of his resilience as an entrepreneur.
Although sales had picked up, he said it was still not yet at the levels of pre COVID sales.
Also speaking on the programme, Afro Soul artiste, Quayba, said the COVID-19 pandemic had hit really hard at the creative arts industry, the sector she finds herself in.
“I am in the creative industry and our industry thrives on people coming together so young and up-and-coming musicians probably had the biggest hit with the COVID situation,
“But out of tragedy comes some of the greatest triumphs so a lot of artistes have used this time as a period to let our creative juices flow. It has also allowed us to be innovative, which has led to lots of virtual concerts. So yes, it hasn’t been great but we are finding ways to survive,” she noted.