Maajoa Yeboah makes accessories, mentors girls and is one of 30 young achievers in Ghana. Her passion and determination have paved the way as she initially wanted to work in a bank. Maajoa started her brand Asabea Ayisi while still in school, the initiative has since grown to include other projects such as the One Girl One Skill foundation.
Through her work, Maajoa Yeboah ensures that she’s giving back to the community and helping other girls become financially independent.
Tell us about the steps that lead to launching Asabe Ayisi.
I started Asabea Ayisi whilst still a student in the tertiary institute. I basically started with a Facebook page, a mobile phone camera and my passion. Before commercializing the accessories, I was making them for myself and a few friends and family members. This was up until I started getting amazing feedback for the pieces I was creating. So I thought why not start a fashion business?
This was however a great battle for myself and my family because I was an studying Accounting with dreams of being a banker like my father. My family equally had these dreams for me, I had started studying business in high school. Eventually my passion won! I built a fashion accessories brand as an accounting student with no knowledge of fashion trends and the fashion business in general.
Yet, I made a conscious decision to learn all I needed to learn. Even though I made a huge load of mistakes, eventually I built a fashion accessories brand through hard work and lots of passion.
Why did you decide to start the One Girl One Skill Foundation?
A few years after I started Asabea Ayisi, I decided to take up a charity project. On the occasion of my birthday, I went into an orphanage and taught young girls how to make basic accessories like hair accessories, earnings and simple necklaces for themselves. I also wanted to mentor these girls. After one successful project in 2015, I started getting training requests from basic schools, churches and some community members who wanted their young girls to learn accessory-making skills.
So I started One Girl One Skill foundation to reach out, train and mentor young girls on how to make accessories and also to instil in the them the relevance of following one’s passion. One Girl One Skill has since 2015 trained and mentored over 500 young girls in the eastern, western and greater Accra, as well as the central regions of Ghana.
I still receive a great number of requests daily. I am hoping to organize training projects in other regions in the country and hopefully go beyond the boarders of Ghana.@Maajoa_Yeboah has a track record of serving as a mentor to young people Click To Tweet
How did you come to be listed as part of 30 young achievers in Ghana? Why do you think you made that list?
I believe my passion, hard work and commitment landed me the honour to be listed as part of 30 young achievers in Ghana. A total of thirty individuals were honoured in the categories of business and leadership, society and education, creative arts, healthcare and food, and technology and media.
2016 marked the third consecutive year of the report. It was the first time ever that an equal number of male and female achievers made the honour list. More than half of these achievers were entrepreneurs like myself. The achievers are selected by a rigorous consultative methodology that ensures honourees have actually achieved something that will be considered outstanding among peers. They also have to have demonstrated potential for greater future impact and I believe I qualified for the spot!
Tell us about being selected for the US Global Leadership Coalition’s Entrepreneurial Challenge.
The Global Leadership Coalition entrepreneurship challenge was open to young people from across Ghana. Business proposals were sought in the areas of agriculture, sustainable energy, climate change, education, health, and cultural industries. Some 25 budding entrepreneurs were invited to attend a four-day leadership and entrepreneurship boot camp held in Accra in June 2016. At the end, 15 entrepreneurs were selected to participate in a four-month virtual internship run by the Global Leadership Coalition.
Over the course of the internship, the entrepreneurs were monitored by carefully selected mentors including myself. We were given the task of monitoring progress over a 3-month period. My role as the youth ambassador was to help each of these participants develop their leadership and entrepreneurship skills. My selection for this role was as a result of hard work and a great track record of serving as a mentor to many young people.
As a mentor and a judge, how do you think mentors should effectively manage their mentees?
As a mentor, I believe it is your role to help your mentee set realistic expectations. Also, if you know you will be unavailable because of business or personal travel, let them know.
Encourage communication and participation and help the mentee create a solid plan of action. Help your mentee set up a system to measure their own achievements.
A mentor should also be truthful in evaluations, but also tactful. Also, engage in your own learning while you are mentoring, collaborate on projects, ask questions and experiment. Share your ideas, give advice and be a resource for new ideas.
A mentor should also be very much reliable because the more consistent you are, the more you will be trusted. It is also very essential for you as a mentor to stay positive; recognize the work the mentee has done and the progress made. Finally, offer feedback without criticizing. These I believe, will go a long way to help effectively manage mentees.
How are you giving girls a chance to earn multiple streams of income?
Teaching young girls how to make basic accessories like hair accessories, earrings, necklaces etc isn’t only imparting them a workable skill, but also helping them. These are girls who may otherwise have no other opportunities to have a career or to earn incomes to support their families.
If these girls already have a career set, they can still enjoy the extra income from making accessories. The accessory-making craft gives career girls flexibility to still have a full time job.
The craft is also the ideal extra income source as it can generate cash even when you’re not continuously working. Women can enjoy proceeds of already produced accessories. In addition, the girls who are really passionate will have the added satisfaction of doing what they love.I believe in planning and consciously learning - Maajoa Yeboah Click To Tweet
Are you a fan of New Year resolutions? What will be your resolutions for 2017?
I do not believe in New Year resolutions. I however believe in planning and consciously making a decision to change, learn, and do/undo an act or behaviour that may be unproductive to you.
In 2017, I am hoping to re-brand Asabea Ayisi and reach more international clients, resellers. I also want to up my sales and branding!
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