Ghanaian sculptural artist, Constance Swaniker grew up in many different countries: in Ghana, Gambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. She is the CEO and founder of Accents and Art who encourages and inspires youth to live their own dreams.
The best entrepreneurial advice I ever heard came from an uncle of mine, who’d been in business for many years before I started. He told me: “Always work with client’s money’ if you want to grow organically”. So I collect 70 per cent upfront from my clients; and collect the final 30 per cent before I deliver. So in essence, I am working with their money.
First of all, passion must serve as your driving force all the times. The day you lose passion is the day you lose your business. For most entrepreneurs, the motivating force is not money. It is the passion we have for what we do that drives us. This is what helps us get through the rough times.
I spent most of my formative years overseas. We lived in The Gambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe. When I was 18 years my parents decided to send me back home. It was the best thing they ever did for me. My experience overseas is what gave me the exposure to be able to establish something which was new, relevant and needed in the industry. I came in with finesse, I came in with fresh ideas, I came in with something very different to offer. I think for most Africans who grow up overseas, you are to absorb other cultures, new ideas, bring them back and include those with what your home country already offers.
Africa is a virgin territory; so once you have a great idea, you most probably would be the first person to have started it. Let’s not take that for granted. There are so many opportunities staring at our faces so it’s great time to be an African. Africa is the last frontier and we are roaring lion now. This is our time.
Ghana has always been a leader in Africa. We were one of the very first to gain independence so we have the advantage of start. Being the first sometimes just motivates you to continue to remain in that position. In 10 years from now, Ghana will be one of the top ten African countries to reckon with.
Ghana’s biggest opportunity is its Creative Industries. It is the next big thing; we just have to learn to acquire and equip talented young people with the necessary skills so we can grow our music, movies, art and vocational skills.