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Sierra Leone Business: From House Boy to Millionaire… how a houseboy beat all odds and made over $1 million from $250

Life gives you what you put into it. Everyone has the opportunity to become successful in life irrespective of their background. Poor beginnings never define the future of any man or woman. It only shows the reality of their starting point.  A man or woman’s life accomplishments not only lies in his or her decision to try, but in their ability to position their minds for success, no matter what setbacks they face. This is the success story of Kofi Kwabena a Ghanaian who lost his parents in an accident at the age of 7. He went to live with his grandmother in Kenema but fled back to Kumasi, Ghana in 1994. He went to work as a house boy for a Lebanese trader and after 5 years saved enough money to start a petty business selling soap.

The Early Life And Education Of Kofi Kwabena

Kofi Kwabena was born in 1973 to poor parents in Ghana. Growing up, he attended the Kumasi Primary School in 1977 and subsequently the Accra School of Arts & Science in 1985. In a bid to successfully have a formal education, his mother toiled day and night to sell groundnuts and oranges, so she could feed her children and try the little she could to pay for their education as his father was always broke due to drinking and gambling. In 1986 he travelled to see his grandmother who was living in Kenema. It was during this period that his parents had an accident and died. After a while his grandmother died, so he had to go back to Ghana to live with an Uncle. His dreams of someday becoming a college graduate came crashing when his parents died but Kofi did not give up hope for a better life.  He had no choice but to drop out of school. Being the eldest son, he had to fend for the family by working as a house boy for a Lebanese trader dealing with household goods.  He would accompany his master to his shop were he learnt how to do business selling household items like soap, toothpaste, toilet roll etc. After working for a while he was determined to own his own business by saving the equivalent of $250 which he used to start trading.  After running this business for two years Kofi had $5,000 in capital, which he invested in buying and selling slippers imported from China. In five years, his business grew exponentially from $5,000 to $100,000 dollars, which was a substantial sum at the time. Kofi Kwabena grew his revenues steadily, and by the year 2005, he had 2 warehouses and 10 retail stores in Ghana selling items like provisions, cosmetics, clothes and electronics imported from various countries around the world like China, The United States, Turkey, and India. In 2010 he had an accident that almost claimed his life. He was hospitalized and had to be flown to India for medical treatment.  He however was confined to a wheel chair but that did not stop him expanding his business empire. With the help of his two sons the business grew and expanded to other West African countries.

His Business Today

Today, Kofi Kwabena and his two Sons run a factory that produces bathing soap, detergent, bleach, toilet roll and a host of other household consumables.  His factory supplies products to over 1,000 businesses within Ghana, Nigeria and other West African neighbouring countries and rakes in an excess of $800,000 yearly in revenues. In a country of about 30 million people, Kofi Kwabena’s success is remarkable. His accomplishments despite the poor upbringing he had and the travails he faced through his life, is a sign that anyone going through any form of disappointments or challenges in life can find success if they’re smart, hardworking, and prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. John F Fowler is a business consultant, entrepreneur and youth entrepreneurship development trainer. He has produced books on various SME business start-ups. For business advice or speaking engagements contact him on info@startabusiness.com.ng, www.startabusiness.com.ng, whatsapp +234 802 325 4577

Monday January 14, 2019.

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