Can you tell us a bit about yourself? family, educational background.
I am Emelda Adjei, a Social Entrepreneur and a youth and Women Empowerment Advocate who resides and come from Ghana. I am the last of four children and 26 years of age. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the Ghana Institute of Journalism with 4 years professional experience. I also run an interior decor business called Think Emmy’s Interior Decor, which has been in existence since October 2018 and has served over 20 homes and offices.
How was your childhood and growing up like. Would you say it influenced your choice of a career path?
Growing up, I didn’t have a rosy life as some people were privileged to have. But it was somewhat an interesting one. I lived with an Aunty and her family in Accra. I really was not the outing type of girl when I was little. I was the little girl who was always designing papers, drawing flowers or creating art with beach sand, shells and stones. You will always find me at home drawing or designing something, if I am not in school or at church.
I used to also sell pastries and some of my new clothes to my colleagues and this is how it all started. I remember when I was in high school (De-Youngster International), I went to school one day with a pastry I bought for myself and then during break time, I shared it with a few friends and they liked it. So they asked that I get them some the following day. I brought them their pastries the next day and they shared with other colleagues who also showed interest. So subsequently, it happened that before we closed from school each day, those who wanted the pastries the following day will inform me and then I get it for them and through that, I had my little business growing and I decided to add the sale of new clothes that I had. But it never occurred to me that I will one day become an entrepreneur, a social entrepreneur for that matter because in the past, all you were told was to study hard, pass your exams with flying colors so you can further your education through Senior High to Tertiary and get yourself into the cooperate world.
Can you share your story with us?
From where you started your career and how you finally ventured into this sector?
I started my career as a Journalist in 2012, when I interned with the Herald newspaper for a month. Interestingly, the first story I did with a colleague on the bad state of the Mamobi Poly Clinic was published on the front page of the paper the following day and some radio and TV stations discussed it on their morning show. Trust me, I was so overjoyed that day. I then did my national service at Ghana News Agency as a reporter. During my stay with the news Agency, I reported on general and trending issues in the country, conducted market surveys from various markets in the capital, to know the rise and fall of grocery prices and I also worked on press release and statements from various organizations that were sent to us. After serving a year at GNA, I interned with Multimedia for 6 months where I was again engaged in reporting on general and trending issues in the capital and also playing in-house roles such as prompting for the anchor during the news bulletin, making calls for phone interview during the news bulletin and edited international news scripts. From there I moved to GHOne Tv in 2016, where I spent 1year 8months being a Broadcast Journalist and assisting with production. It was after I separated ties with GHOne TV that I birth Think Emmy’s Interior Decor and it’s been great so far. The business module is set to use recyclable materials and African Print fabrics to provide glamorous and affordable products and services for our clients.
I am dedicated to promoting the awareness of solid and plastic waste recycling to protect the environment.
This is because over the years, I have seen how solid and plastic waste have caused and are still causing harm to our environment. We also provide products and services such as pallet beds and couches, painting among other.
What will you say motivates you?
Sleeping late and Waking up early to communicate with people requesting for our service keeps me gingered. This is because it gives me the understanding that our service is of good impact to people and the society. Aside the personal motivation I give myself, the support I am get from family and friends has been a great pillar to lean on. It is never easy working in a cooperate world and managing a business at the same time. Becoming a social entrepreneur, I really did not know how things were going to turn out but the support I get keeps me going and pushes me never to give up on my entrepreneurial dream.
What are some of your greatest fears and how have you dealt with pitfalls and setbacks?
Starting the business, one of my greatest fear was whether my idea was going to sell and if it will really make any impact as I thought. The first time I had the opportunity to pitch my idea to someone, I was afraid the idea will be rejected so I was torn between selling the idea and just leaving things as they were. At a point I just pushed myself to accept the fact that rejection or failure is all part of the road to success. So I mastered courage and told the person about the idea and that was my first client. Through the service I offered him, I got other people calling for my service and that’s how Think Emmy’s Interior Décor started.
Another fear is with the issue of how to balance time between my cooperate work and my business. In a situation where I have a lot of orders to sort out and some of the team members I work with are not available because they also have cooperate jobs, I have to sacrifice time to sort things out on my own. For instance, there’s been countless times that I have to sacrifice my lunch time to quickly rush to the market to buy things we need to complete a project for a client.
What are some of your greatest regrets? If given the chance, how would you do things differently?
So far the greatest regret I have had to deal with is not starting my journey as a social entrepreneur early. This is because I see that there’s a lot of work to be done as far as the development of the country is concerned.
What have been some of your greatest accomplishments?
As a young lady growing up, one of my greatest accomplishment is following my desire be a Social entrepreneur.
What are some of the principles, philosophies and values you ascribe to?
There are 3 principles I live with.
Put God first.
Rise up for yourself. If you don’t, nobody is going to notice and appreciate you. You should know that everybody is trying to live their lives so live yours.
Think about the pros and cons of everything but always be positive minded.
Can you mention three books you have read and how they changed your life?
Three books I have read are
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
The teen God uses by Jones Boakye
Divanomics by Michelle McKinney Hammond
These three books have taught me how to be prepared for opportunities and how to manage my finances as an individual and an entrepreneur.
What do you do for leisure and socialization?
During my leisure time, I like to try my hands on new designs for my business based on the inspiration I get within me. I also hang out with friends or watch movies.
There has been an increase in entrepreneurship across the continent and the globe from small scale enterprises to large corporations. What are your thoughts on it? Do you think it’s the best way to solve some of Africa’s challenges and improve the lives of people?
Ghana is faced with many socioeconomic challenges that often characterize developing countries. With most of the issues we face as a continent, entrepreneurship is the gateway to changing the narrative. So for me, yes entrepreneurship is the best way to solve most of Africa’s challenges because our political governance will not do all. But then, there is also the need for us to change our mentality if not, nothing will ever change. We live on the continent and it’s our responsibility to take care of it and make it a better place for all.
What will be your advice to others especially the youth about the effects of comfort zones and on the importance of entrepreneurship?
If you choose to be in your comfort zone forever, you won’t be able to achieve your dreams. Don’t sit there waiting for someone to employ you. Yes, I hear some people say entrepreneurship is not for everyone. But that should not limit you. I believe everyone has a gift. Just find your gift and make it happen. Don’t choose to always be someone’s employee. You can also become Boss and give your quota to the country by employing others to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country.