Ghana Successes: Community Business, Learning, IT & Library Center

in Ghana, Success Stories

Ethel Emma Asomani was a $10,000 winner in the 2007 business plan competition.  She wanted to upgrade her already-establisheda multi-faceted business and IT-oriented community center which included: library and online reference resources; clinics and weekly classes for entrepreneurs, especially women and youth; career counseling; training on MS Office applications; and printing and office services.  The prize money and business development consulting support contributed to updated graphic design, registering her business as LLC, and building a website.

With a university degree in Computer Science, she was a full-time software development consultant (hence her company’s name GAfrisoft) for other institutions for many years.  In 1999 she created a resource library in her home to keep her 4 children busy after school.  They brought their friends, which made her see this as a possible community need.  She enrolled her children in IT school once they completed secondary school, in the 2-year gap before Ghanaians typically start university.  She then added

technical training to the resource library, which also expanded to include PCs for internet access and self-paced courses on Microsoft Office applications. The GAfrisoft center has peak seasons before and during school exams (up to 40 people using the library and internet services) and slow periods (6 – 8 people at a time), especially during the summer when no school is in session.  To supplement and offset the widely variable cash flow based on small fees for each activity, she added printing, binding, PC accessories, rental of her facility for meetings and other related support services to help her clients—120 on average per month–with their requirements.

Diversification to Business, Entrepreneur & IT Training, Career Counseling and Other Resources

Under her supervision, GAfrisoft employees 4 permanent part-time employees to manage the library, internet and printing resources; hires area-experts in IT and entrepreneurship to teach specific classes along with an annual auditor.  In 2008 she opened a small women’s boutique run by her daughter, and added snacks (water and cookies) and internet café to support the library.  Three of her four children work full-time but help at GAfrisoft when they can.  Her youngest daughter, 22, wants to take over the business when Emma retires (planned for 2013). Even though she had already started her own business, she gained a lot from the Believe Begin Become training, particularly time management skills.  The training reinforced her commitments to always be determined, continuously learn, focus on execution, and not procrastinate.  Clearly she has set an inspirational path for her children—and community–to follow.

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