Stories

 
 

182114_490787014270842_1230738598_nIts possible to turn your hobby into an income earning job. That is exactly what I did 3 years ago and by turning my love for crafting accessories into a fashion accessory business.  Whilst browsing online, I came across some lovely fabric brooches and a thought came to me on how these would look lovely in African print. I also got thinking about how there were less fabric fashion accessories on the Ghanaian market and how cool it would be for every Ghanaian woman to own one of these in their jewellery collections.  I then researched on how these were made and got started. My friends loved it! After giving most of it away as gifts, I realised the potential of turning this into an income-generating hobby. I got started by building a Facebook Page and uploaded quality photos onto the page. Within weeks my fanbase quickly grew. I then realised that creating an online shop would be so much better for better management and also for the fact that I had a full time career going on. I attended a Google Plus event organised by +GoogleGhana and I heard of a new Google product called GetAfricaOnline where small businesses could sell & display their products. I signed up that evening.

My products are all handmade fashion accessories. They range from brooches, hair accessories, Peter Pan collar necklaces, pocket squares to unique gifts like journals. Gradually, I am adding more lines to the products such as throw pillow covers and journals. I envision a home where the African fabric is celebrated in various ways imaginable. I market my products via the web using Social Media. My current tools are Facebook Pages, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest where I update and upload content unto these platforms whilst engaging with my fans and clients. I use my personal blogsite www.Ganyobinaa.com to also market the products and to blog on how the products are to be worn etc.

journals

I have been managing this online business for almost 2 years now and I have employed an intern to manage the client database and enquiries. My plan is to train the local porter women to enable them to gain the right skills to earn a better living.  

The challenges I am facing involves the cost of shipping to international markets and online payment services. This challenge however will soon be overcome by a partnership the business is entering with ShopAfrica to assist businesses like mine in shipping and payment services.earring

The business was awarded Innovation Hero by #InnovationGhana an initiative of the Ministry of Trade & Industry in recognition of businesses using technology to promote their business this year in May. The future looks very promising as more Ghanaians continue to purchase quality Made In Ghana goods to support the local industry.

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Two years ago, we decided to upgrade ourselves from a group of friends to a registered non-profit organization.  

We were hesitant of taking that step, I guess we worried that it would take the fun out of the group. We had met every month since 2008 to discuss society and social media, and we had a lot of ideas.  Eventually we dared to take the step!  Registering as an official entity has allowed us to partner with other organizations and look for funding, and only 2 years after receiving our documents, we have come a long way in promoting and improving social media use in Ghana.

And we are still having fun!

March Meet up Group pic

Join the BloggingGhana family or read about our projects, BlogCamp and GhanaDecides.

This blogpost is written by Kajsa Hallberg Adu, BloggingGhana co-founder and chair, and is adapted  from a longer post on kajsaha.com for Blog Action Day 2012.

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Dev Congress

The tech landscape in Africa is increasingly becoming a hotspot for the world with tech entrepreneurs rising from Africa to rub shoulders with the best of the world. South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana currently lead the trend, with Kenya positioning itself as the tech hub of Africa.

With the job markets flooded with job vacancies for software developers, it is increasingly becoming quite obvious that the budding tech scene in Ghana must be given all the push it needs to fill in both the human capital development and economic empowerment gaps created as a result of the under supply of the demand. This is where Developer Congress comes into the picture.

Software developers in Ghana can and should be able to match developers from any part of the world. The reason for the current deficit, some believe,  is two fold. First of all, the developers in Ghana are not very well resourced to develop their full potential. The level of exposure is also too narrow. This inadvertently dovetails into the second reason; lack of confidence.

The Concept

DevCongress, as its sworn mission, is to provide an enabling community for software developers in Africa, beginning with Ghana, to be exposed to the rich resources that will enhance their skills and build confidence. The team intends to achieve this mainly through conferences. At these conferences, they will bring highly experienced developers to share their experiences and expose the audience to new and better ways of getting things done, have hands on sessions to hone in the skills. In addition, they will offer  a number of speaking slots for individuals who are not necessarily experts to speak on any aspect of software development they are passionate about in the bid to grow their confidence. This is  the principal objective of Dev Congress; to build developers’ confidence.  Hence their tagline: Developing developers.

Their objectives are very simple;

1. To build confidence among software developers in Ghana and Africa for that matter by giving them the opportunity to share what they know and to challenge them to do more. In short, build a reputation among the developer community.

2. Expose developers to a rich array of resources by which they can develop themselves to international standards and make global impact.

3. Contribute to open source projects that have great social and economic impact on their country and the software development scene. Leave a legacy.

4. Harness the combined talent and resources of the local tech community to create solutions to national problems which will be open source and jointly owned by all participants.

At the maiden edition of their congress, dubbed dev:congress{2013} coming off at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology the attendees will have the opportunity to pose hard questions to a panel of experts on the state of electronic payment in Ghana and the technologies currently at the disposal of developers, take a deep dive into version control (using git mainly) and explore Chrome developer tools among other exciting sessions. They will be launching two major projects that will keep the developer community engaged till the next congress, hopefully next year. Curious what these project are? You will only need to be at the conference. Registration is free by the way.

Is this yet another developer group springing up only to die in a fortnight or at best have three or four active people? They think not. They claim it will be the most vibrant developer movement across Africa.

Well, such boldness usually gets rewarded eventually. Shall we rally around them and make it happen? Yes we should. And you can start from here.

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Sytris Osu Oxford StreetFocus on ‘young professional’ and you’ll be fine on the harem bit (you naughty naughty reader). But it is really a get-away space, this Sytris coffee-lounge. It is an unusual name, but it is also an unusual space in a zone that is known for its formidable and sometimes perturbing cluster of premium brands, names, and services – the Oxford Street of the Osu, of Accra.

I recall describing it to my best friend in what was definitely an exercise of imagination (she is so particular about details), and I will attempt to share it with you: entering Sytris is like indulging in your first ever fruit-burst bubblegum. Right after the tinkle of the wind chime at door greets your entry, you are assailed with the gifts and souvenirs section, then immediately after by the rich variety of magazines they have on sale by the cash counter to your right …and your left. As you force yourself to casually saunter onwards so as not to appear like a Johnny-Just-Come, the cozy children’s books section captures your attention, and your foot freezes in mid-air and refuses to work. Never mind that you do not have children, nor the budget to buy a book for your favourite niece, nor the intention to even look at children’s books. You find yourself wheeling over there like a New Age zombie, stumbling a little at the edge of the story-motif carpeting lining the floor, in uncertainty over whether your shoes ought to come off or stay on. But oh well, on you go and soon find yourself looking through the kid’s reads and other monthly magazines and comics, asking yourself, why did I never get all these to read when I was a kid?

Finally, your grown-up self floats back into your body, and you feel the call of the rest of the room (a.k.a. the great hall). Ahead to your left is a wide expanse of book shelves on wheels, filled with the book-candy (lots of it); to your right is the coffee-lounge, starting with this absolutely appealing sink-into-me set of sofas that most bookworms and small meet-up groups call home. It is semi-detached from the dining area that follows it, but you wouldn’t notice it unless you’re told … or a nit-picker. But that fact quickly evaporates from your mind as you notice the high-bar area right beyond the dining space area, which permits you to perch on that barstool and gaze down like a god/dess onto the busy, sometimes chaotic hustle and bustle below on the street. Aaah, home. Harem. Haven. Call it what you want, but it hits the spot, and you’re taken.

2013-06-28 19.52.37Now, Al Green starts crooning in the background over the surround stereo system, dropping all those notes and falsetto moments like peppermint drops on your tongue on a hot day, and you just want to sing along with him, “I’m so tired of being alone, I’m so tired of being on my own, aaaaaaaah….”. Of course, none of us here at the lounge will mind, because we’ll be right up there on that high with you. Those tapping away at their laptops, blogging and catching up online, those taking a moment away from it all to have a quiet healthy lunch/brunch, or to work, or meet up with friends and colleagues for an hour or two; then in the evening, those who come to grab a cocktail or bite and huddle over at the high bar area or the sofa section and gaze out onto the headlight-lit street in a semi-surreal state of peace of mind; or music-infused happy hour moments.

More soul music and afro fusion pieces keep the atmosphere vibing. The menu rings with drinks, cocktails, bites, bakes, and grills. The books on the other side of the room fill you with an awe only books waiting to be explored can, and the savvy people strolling in and out assure you that the outside world may suck sometimes, but inside the coffee-lounge, all is momentarily right with the world once again.
Sytris Coffee-Lounge & Bookshop …. can you see it now?

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