The founder & CEO of MUKYIA delight, one of the thriving eateries in Kumasi Kwadwo Boakye has disclosed that until recently, the only personal effects he had in his house were a bed and a laptop computer with no regard for relationships.
The business magnate in his thirties, whose general merchant trade turned over 3 million cedis per month, made the stunning revelation when he addressed youth in Asokore Mampong at a No Business As Usual Project seminar dubbed Screw-Up.
Screw up takes the rare module of inviting accomplished entrepreneurs, professionals and business executives to tell stories about their failures in business and how they dug themselves out of hopeless situations when they almost gave up on their dreams.
Mr Boakye indicated that he forfeited a paying job offer to learn trading from his father’s shops; an experience he leveraged to build a business which was supplying provisions and other commodities to TECHIMAN, Kwame Danso, Atebubu and its adjoining towns.
He, however, recounted how his high appetite for risk landed him into a state of overtrading virtually running into debts and losing all his creditors.
He narrated, “I was driving my company where it couldn’t go. I wanted to be called among the likes of Despite. I set my goals to retire at 40. It got to a time I was taking more credit and never considered that I could default. I could sell anything. I could virtually sell a trotro to a driver and sell a driver to a trotro.”
“I wanted to get into food service business at a time I was doing retail. I decided to renovate one of my places and turn it into a retail shop and a food service shop. We didn’t examine the building because we were in a hurry to be successful. When we started knocking the blocks down, that was when we realized that there was no iron rod in the building. Before our eyes this building was about to fall and it was a rented property. “
“Immediately we had to do something. My engineer said if we wanted to secure this building, we had to rebuild the foundation. We ended up spending 850 thousand cedis instead of the 200 thousand originally budgeted for the facility.”
“And now most of my creditors were afraid so they started pulling out. I negotiated and told them it will be well, you know me I can do it. But they said no your risk is too high. One pulls out after the other and about 5 million portfolio of business everybody is pulling out because they heard that your business is down.”
“For those who were left, it was not much to even pay our bills because we were spending about 90 thousand cedis a month. We had borrowed too much from the bank and the interest was piling and that was the biggest screw-up moment of my life,”
“I began selling off assets for cheap. Trucks that I bought for 90 and 100 thousand, I begun selling for 30 thousand and 60 thousand just to complete that building and that is Mukyia Delight, the building you now see there.”
Sharing his heart-breaking moments, Boakye pointed out that one of his regrets in all these trying moments was that he never took time to build relationships
“You need to learn to build people who will hold on to you when you have gone down. At that time, I was at home and what will even make me sad is that when I walk into my house, I don’t have a TV, I don’t have furniture, I don’t have any young child who will come and welcome me to have some cheer. I didn’t have anybody. It was me and my bed,” he disclosed with grief.
Boakye told the youth the biggest lesson he had learnt from his down moments was to put his sense of achievement aside and rather put people first.
“Life is not about what you achieve. Life is about who you impact. Life is about what you use your vision to impact. Now I am a changed businessman. I don’t think about money I put people first in whatever I do. I put my employees first,” he said soberly.
The participants who spoke to Ultimate News were both inspired and prodded to the seldom told reality that successful businessmen also face daunting hurdles.
An NBU trainee Muntala Mohammed shared, “These are people who have gone through what we are yet to step in and sharing their experiences and failures and how they overcame them was very insightful and helpful.”
“I wanted to become a midwife but when I got admission I realized I was pregnant so I had to drop out of school but now joining the NBU and their training SESSIONS I realize that you can become whatever you hope to achieve in life.; you just have to be determine to move forward,” young Sekina told reporter Ivan Heathcote – Fumador.
The programs manager in charge of social businesses and private partnerships with the No Business As Usual Project, Daniel Okiti Boama was positive the examples shared by resource persons on the Screw-Up sessions had begun making lasting impact in building the sense of resilience and optimism in the youth who have availed themselves for the seminars.
The No Business As Usual Project is a brain child of the SOS Villages supported by the Asokore Mampong Municipal Assembly and the European Union.
It has set itself to reduce unemployment in the municipality while working with the assembly and residents to foster participatory governance and accountability for the economic development of the area.