Ghanaian Entrepreneur Sees Opportunity In Student Online Mentoring And Guidance
When Afia Bobia Amanfo thinks about Ghana, she sees a country ripe for harvesting, full of opportunities for its young population but lacking many basic necessities crucial for the success of young people.
“This might not be an advantage for every business but it is a great opportunity for us as a social enterprise to make a difference in the lives of these young ones and help redefine the future of Ghana,” Amanfo told AFKInsider.
Amanfo co-founded Students Hub Ghana, an online social enterprise that provides a platform for mentoring young Ghanaians in education, career, technology, and entrepreneurship. The platform features education resources and information on available scholarships with outreach to rural children.
Along with youth leader Nana Ofosu Boakye, Amanfo launched Students Hub Ghana in March 2017. It already has more than 3,000 followers.
Amanfo, 29, was born in Takoradi where she lived most of her life. The city’s main industries are timber and cocoa processing. She studied political science at the University of Ghana and is now studying business administration at the Lille 1 University in France.
Amanfo discussed her plans for Students Hub Ghana with AFKInsider.
AFKInsider: What made you want to start Studentshubgh?
Afia Bobia Amanfo: Studentshubgh was started out of the desire to help young people in Ghana and West Africa as a whole to gain access to quality educational opportunities, resources, scholarships, and mentorship to help them become successful future leaders of Africa.
AFKInsider: How does Studentshubgh work and what does it offer?
Afia Bobia Amanfo: Currently, Studentshubgh offers one-on-one mentorship to young people particularly in junior and senior high in the areas of their academics, career planning, scholarship search, among others. Mentoring is also done in general through our blogs and articles. We also connect them with opportunities by using our website and Facebook page to broadcast new opportunities and resources that are beneficial to the youth.
Our service is free for our users.
AFKInsider: Are your mentors paid?
Afia Bobia Amanfo: All our mentors and writers are volunteers. Currently, we have no paid staff. For now most of our volunteers are motivated by the chance to give back and impact into the next generation. We also offer to run free promotions on our site and pages for volunteers who run businesses and other events.
AFKInsider: What are some of your plans for Studentshubgh?
Afia Bobia Amanfo: We have great plans for Studentshubgh but we are restrained because of finances now. For now, we are working hard to carefully define our business model in order to be sustainable and have the opportunity to grow as we have envisioned. Our other challenge is getting committed volunteers to work with.
AFKInsider: How has the response been?
Afia Bobia Amanfo: Our Facebook page has more than 4,000 fans. We also offer mentorship as well to a lot of young people using WhatsApp and Facebook messenger. Our website is fairly new and we are still building on the traffic
AFKInsider: How does the company make money?
Afia Bobia Amanfo: For now, our activities are self-financed by me and my co-founder. We aim to become more profitable by generating more traffic on our website and thereby monetizing the site. We also have plans to launch e-learning tools later in the year and that will be another means of earning a profit. But for the most part, our organization is a social enterprise and as such the profit we earn will be re-invested in helping students and fulfilling our vision. For this reason, we are also seeking sponsors and grants to help with our work.
We intend to turn the website into a community using forums and discussions and this will drive more traffic to our site thus helping us to earn money through adverts on the site. Secondly, we are preparing to roll out an e-newsletter to the youth which will also have space for adverts but our key financial plan is the e-learning platform we will be launching soon. That will require registration and purchases and that will enable us to earn enough money to sustain and expand other operations.
AFKInsider: What is it like having a small tech business in Ghana?
Afia Bobia Amanfo: Ghana is a country that I will describe as “ripe for harvesting.” The country abounds with opportunities because of its young population and also because the country lacks so many basic necessities that are crucial for the success of these young people. This might not be an advantage for every business but it is a great opportunity for us as a social enterprise to make a difference in the lives of these young ones and help redefine the future of Ghana.
AFKInsider: What are some of the challenges of doing business in Ghana?
Afia Bobia Amanfo: There are a lot of challenges but I will mention the ones which apply to us directly. These include erratic power supply, limited (high cost of) access to internet facilities, high cost of electricity, labor cost, bureaucracy, and corruption in the public sector including even the educational sector.
AFKInsider: What are your main objectives with the business?
Afia Bobia Amanfo: To provide easy access to educational resources, make e-learning tools accessible for students in underserved communities in West Africa and create a platform for youth to be mentored in every aspect of their lives in order to prepare them for success.
AFKInsider: What do you enjoy the most about what you do?
Afia Bobia Amanfo: I have a lot of faith in African youth and it’s my desire to be a changemaker on the continent. I believe education is the way to go. That’s why I am committed to helping make educational resources and innovative e-learning tools available to the youth in Ghana.
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