Ato Ulzen Appiah, the first time that i heard this name was from my friend Tatiana Pogzounou, a young Burkinabe; while we were talking about the organisation of Barcamp Ouagadougou. She was also talking about Barcamp Ghana and mentioned the name: Ato. I then asked her: « Euh … Who is he?
When she started speaking, i remembered that: « Google is my best friend » so I go on it and try to find and conducted a meticulous survey about him.
In this new era of technology it was so easy for me to find him. I brilliantly found his Facebook, Twitter, Google+ profiles. Automatically, sent him friend requests, followed him on, went on his blog and try to get a lot of information as much as possible about him.
From these researches i noticed that:
- He is a Ghanaian
- He had a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at MIT and a Master’s degree at Stanford in construction and engineering management
- He worked at Rancard as product manager building new revenue services off its platform
- He worked at Google as a program manager building sustainable tech communities in Africa.
- He’s a member of the Global Shapers Accra Hub, part of the World Economic Forum community which organizes the Accra Discourse
- He co-founded Museke.com -an African music website
- He is one of Ghana’s top blogger thanks to his blog that can be found on : mightyafrican.blogspot.com
- He’s the director at the GhanaThink Foundation (An NGO based in Ghana and the USA) which: mobilizes and organizes talent for the primary benefit of Ghana and organizes Barcamps Ghana.
When i finished reading these information i expressed my feeling in that way
(I know that it’s the same feeling you have had my lovely readers, don’t be ashamed lol)
I told to myself, ah? He is not a small person. Since that day i started tracing all his daily activities on the various socials network precisely on facebook and twiter.
And i don’t know if i could say it was a hazard but i came in Ghana, trying to improve my English (ohh yeah I have planned to interview Mark Zuckerberg not today but surely one day or why not very soon, I need then to be well equipped before going to meet him).
Coming back from where i left you. I remembered that Ghana is Ato’s country, after recovering my blog, i decided to meet him, know more about his passions and also what he thinks about entrepreneurship in Africa. I know that i have spoken a lot but please don’t be bored as it is say the end of something is far better that its beginning, the following report below is a wonderful interview that i conducted with ATo purely made in Africa only for you my dear reader… So for those who are so curious and would like to know more about Ato this interview is your special gift, enjoy yourself.
Hello Mister Ato, how are you doing? Even though i gave much details about you, however I want to give you the freeway to briefly present yourself,
I am an African from Ghana. I am from Elmina, grew up in Kumasi and live in Accra. I’m an engineer by learning and an entrepreneur by doing. I’m passionate about connecting people, networking talent. and I have a burning desire to see a great Ghana and Africa and am committed to doing what I can to realise that.
What words better describe you, I mean if you have to present yourself before a child, what would you say?
Passionate, patriotic, positive. I am trying to be even more proactive, progressive and productive.
As the director of GhanaThink, we can say that you are an entrepreneur; i want to know why did you decide to leave your job for Ghana Think? is it by passion ? to generate more revenue? We want to know
GhanaThink’s mission embodies my passion – mobilize and organize talent for the benefit of Ghana and beyond. The enterprising part of that is doing this in a sustainable way, where I can grow in value and stature while building an organization and institution that has great, massive and far-reaching impact.
Nowadays we notice that, entrepreneurship is growing in Africa what do you think about it? In Ghana and in Africa? We see some young entrepreneur very enthusiast when they freshly start, but after encountering some difficulties regarding their business most of them easily give up, what can you tell them in order to make them bring back alive their business?
Especially through our Barcamp Ghana program which started seven years ago, we’ve been championing entrepreneurship. Young Africans are now creating entreprises out of opportunities. There are challenges everywhere, but those who brave these challenges are those who are focused, smart and really have products or solutions that people really want and will pay for. Entrepreneurs must plan and take calculated risks, as well as compete but collaborate. We must make sure people want we are providing, if you don’t have customers, you don’t have an entreprise.
Are you really satisfied as an entrepreneur?
I could be making more money to grow the entreprise, and build a bigger organization. Our work could be serving more people with more tenable impact. I am doing what I love to do and that is more satisfying than anything. I’m happy and I can see growth. It’s a lot of fun doing this actually.
Before ending, i want to know a lot about Ghana’s web community, what can you say about it? Present it for those who don’t have much knowledge
Ghana’s web community has a lot of energy. Many consume content online but we have a shortage of people creating content for the web. There is also shortage of very competent and accessible people. The demand for web and tech related experts is high but the supply is low. There are a lot of novices who are learning but not a lot of experts. The great thing is the web community is very networked so information sharing is easy, and learning is closer to people.
I see a lot of young people who are leading in their fields, challenging the status quo. I see a lot of middle class families that buy many things (maybe beyond their means). I see Ghana
What can you say to tokpatic’s readers and what’s your final word?
Less talk, more action. As African youth, we must start learning about how to solve our problems the way we can and implementing those solutions. We are the ones we have been waiting for. As we say in Ghana, more vim.
NB : The second part (audio) of this interview will be available next week ^^ .