Zeepay founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Andrew Takyi-Appiah, has called for a shift in the way success is perceived and measured in the country, arguing whatever is considered prosperity at the individual level is often translated to the group level and has a direct bearing on national development.
Speaking at the 93rd-anniversary celebration and Speech and Prize Giving Day of St. Augustine’s College in Cape Coast, he highlighted the societal norm that places a high value on social validation and immediate success, which he believes is detrimental to the entrepreneurial mind and urged for a renewed focus on nurturing young entrepreneurs.
“In this country, we put a high value on social validation, which is a fancy way of saying that we like to show off. The cars, the clothes, the parties, the lifestyle, it is all broadcast throughout our communities and the message is that the destination – not the journey – is what matters and that things equal accomplishment,” he said in his speech on behalf of the 1998 year group.
“That kind of societal culture is poison to the entrepreneurial mind, as it tells him or her that it is better to have US$500 today than US$5,000 tomorrow and that success is immediate and lavish, which I can tell you from personal experience is simply not true. Success grows, it doesn’t explode, it is birthed through pain and patience, as anything else which is truly worthwhile,” the Zeepay CEO added.
Mr. Takyi-Appiah argued that building infrastructure to enable financial growth is not enough to foster a nation of entrepreneurs. He stressed the importance of changing the way success is viewed and modeled to others, including the normalization of failure as part of the growth journey.
Citing himself as an example, he noted that his entrepreneurial journey began by selling pineapples out of carts on the streets, through various ups and downs to becoming the founder of the nation’s leading fintech – which had a pre-tax profit of GH¢11.82 million at the end of 2021, double the GH¢5.6 million recorded in the previous year and adjudged the number-one company in Ghana at the most recent edition of the Club 100 Awards.
As part of his commitment to fostering entrepreneurship, Mr. Takyi-Appiah made a commitment toward the establishment of an innovation centre at the College. He also promised to offer mentorship and advice to any young entrepreneurs seeking guidance.
He similarly urged successful men and women to mentor and share their journeys, including their failures, to teach the younger generation what true success is and how it is achieved.
“We need to embrace design thinking in our knowledge dispensing protocols, we need to encourage opinion thinking and individualism, we desperately need to develop tomorrow Zeepay’s, Glico, Vanguard, Star Assurance and the many local companies that employ young people and contribute to GDP. Such change requires commitment from all sides, be they political, civil society or the general public, all bonding together to provide the youth of today with the tools to become the leaders of tomorrow,” he noted