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Suglo Mabel – Anzisha Prize Winner Who Gives Jobs to the Physically Challenged

Eco-shoes founder, Suglo Mabel, was the Anzisha prize 2015 second runner-up who has built a shoe company that mainly employs physically challenged persons to create lovely shoes and bags. She corroborated the suggestion that more African students are becoming more than just students and rather daring to be employers. Suglo Mabel asserted that, “I told myself I don’t want to be employed but rather to employ.”

Entrepreneurs are known to be risk takers who solve problems facing society with the ultimate motive of making profit but when an individual goes the extra mile of changing the lives of the less privileged, I call such a person a game changer.

 

Name: Suglo Mabel
Email: mabelsuglo@yahoo.com
School & Course of Study: University For Development Studies; Health Science Education
Year/Level: 300
Business Name: Eco-shoes
Contact Number: +233 0242345035

Kindly tell us what your campus business is about?

Eco-shoes is not only a campus business but social one too. It empowers people with disabilities to produce marketable shoes from recycled car tires and scrapped fabrics.

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Where did the idea for your business come from?

It emerged as a result of wanting to help people with disabilities earn and make a living off the streets.

Which gap did you see and intend to bridge with your business?

Disabled artisans are perceived to be at the base of the social pyramid or otherwise out of the job market. I intended to give these people a fair stand across all sectors; both economically and socially.

How do you manage to combine both academic work and business so you are not adversely affected?

Due to effective and efficient time management, I am able to combine the two.

 

Some beautiful products of Eco-shoes.

Ecoshoes - Suglo Mabel Ecoshoes - Suglo Mabel Ecoshoes - Suglo Mabel Ecoshoes - Suglo Mabel  Ecoshoes - Suglo Mabel

Ecoshoes - Suglo Mabel

 

How did you determine there was market for your type of business?

Shoe is something everyone wears. And I knew there will be market for my shoe business because of its durability and quality nature which turned out to be true.

How did you manage to raise your startup capital?

My co-founders and I contributed to raise the initial capital. Additional funding came from family and friends too.

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What is your business model and how do you make money?

We sell to the generation Y hipsters and adults. They get money from direct sales, retailers and distributors.

What challenges do you come across and how are you handling them?

The major challenge I face is financing. I am handling this by increasing our production to generate more income to run the business. I also solicit for funds and investors by engaging in competitions like the Anzisha prize.

Suglo Mabel, how do you intend spending your $12,500.00 Anzisha prize money?

I will use it in employing more people of which I have already employed an additional five to my team, acquire the necessary machinery get an interactive e-commerce site established. I will also invest in building a proper inventory and branding of our products.

Do you intend to continue with the business upon completing school?

Yes of course! And even bring on board new ones with time.

How did your colleagues and family respond to your new venture?

Not favorably at first, since it was not the family thing. But now they are fully in support of it.

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What do you consider your most significant achievement so far as a Campus CEO?

Employing more disables in the Northern Region and being the second runner up for the Anzisha prize.

What message do you have for colleague students who want to start their own businesses?

I want to tell them even though it is not easy, it is very possible. They should believe in themselves and be the change they seek to be.

 


Are you in any of the African tertiary institutions? Do you have a business you are running from campus? Let’s share your story to the world. Submit your profile here: CAMPUS C.E.O. FORM

Was this interview inspiring? Leave us your comment.

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A young Ghanaian who believes Africa has a lot of potentials to change the world. Passionate about entrepreneurship, innovation and technology. Follow @TSH_Africa for anything on entrepreneurship

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CAMPUS CEO

King Gideon: Meet the Student Entrepreneur Seeking to Fight Diabetes with His Pure Honey Business

Gideon Buluse Awalena is a final year student of the University of Ghana, offering Bsc Administration, troubled by the record number of Ghanaians who are diabetic resulting in severe consequences and it is for this reason that he starts a campus honey business called King Gideon Enterprise which is distributed nationwide.

The menace of diabetes is on the rise with statistics from the National Association of Diabetes Ghana estimating that one (1) out of four (4) Ghanaians you meet on the street will be diabetic by 2020. In 2017 alone, about 518,400 cases were recorded.

It is against this background, King Gideon Enterprise creates awareness for consumers to switch to the use of honey to reduce the high risk of diabetes which has become a national health problem.

In this story, he shares interesting insights on how he raised capital to start his campus business, how supportive family and friends were and why he will need further funding…

1. Kindly tell us what your campus business is about?

King Gideon Enterprise is established by Gideon Awelana Buluse. We transport honey from the northern part of the country to Accra and supply to individuals and organizations. Much of my sales are done on the University of Ghana campus.

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2. Where did the idea for your business come from?

I am of the thought that it is only entrepreneurship that can help transform the lives of people in a country. Immediately I started level 100 and understood where I was coming from, I always looked for a business idea that I can start with little money and improve upon it as time goes on. I realized that the north has lots of sunshine and the trees there are also good for the production of honey and so I encouraged few men to start rearing them and I will buy it from them after harvest. That was after I had realized the persistent rise in diabetes in the country and so I capitalized on it to provide a substitute to sugar which has a lot of health benefits.

3. Which gap did you see and intend to bridge with your business?

The persistent rise of diabetes, and the numerous health benefits associated to honey are what I have seen.

4. Does your campus inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship in students and how?

Yes, many of the departments normally organized business talks and invite corporate personalities to speak to us on the need for entrepreneurship.

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5. How do you manage to combine both academic work and business so you are not adversely affected?

I am bent on transforming the world with my honey business, so, I keep on putting hard work and determination on my table everyday. Sometimes I sleep for just 1 hour out of the 24 hours in a day.

6. How did you determine there was market for your type of business?

I spoke to some medical experts on rising diseases in the country and almost all of them mentioned diabetes. I asked of the remedy and they suggested that honey could be of a help but with a reservation that most of the honey that is being sold in the market is not pure. There I realized that if people got original honey they will be willing to buy.

7. How did you manage to raise your startup capital?

I did night watchman job to raise money to start King Gideon Enterprise.

8. What is your business model and how do you make money?

I use a combination of scalability and viability models.

9. What challenges do you come across and how are you handling them?

Funds to expand and to improve on packaging.

10. Do you intend to continue with the business upon completing school?

Yes.

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11. How did your colleagues and family respond to your new venture?

At first they were not supportive but now they are getting interested in the business.

12. What do you consider your most significant achievement so far as a Campus CEO?

My willingness to take the risk and start with the business.

13. What message do you have for colleague students who want to start their own businesses?

I encourage every young person to get it moving no matter the circumstance. I know it is hard, but our success is in the womb of time if we do not give up.

If you are convinced by Gideon’s story and want to reduce the risk of being diabetic, start ordering your pure honey from King Gideon Enterprise via contact number, 0504464117 and you can send email to gideonawelana@gmail.com


Are you in any of the African tertiary institutions? Do you have a business you are running from campus? Let’s share your story to the world. Submit your profile here: CAMPUS C.E.O. FORM

Was this interview inspiring? Leave us your comment.

Follow #TSH on Facebook and Twitter for more change making interviews

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