Afia Bobia Amanfo: Entrepreneurship as a vehicle for social change

Afia Bobia Amanfo is the co-founder of Studentshubgh, a non-profit organisation committed to the mentoring and grooming of young people in sub-Saharan Africa.

Even though she comes from an administrative background, Afia finds fulfillment addressing the challenges of disadvantaged young people and connecting them with opportunities. She has been involved with volunteer outreaches to villages and schools in Ghana for several years, before starting Studentshubgh with her co-founder, Nana Ofosu Boakye.

Afia is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon and the University of Lille in France. She is currently registered for the Master’s degree in International Trade at the Universite de Paris Est Creteil, France. Her career goals are to become a social entrepreneur as well as an international business analyst. Afia has a strong relationship with God, which she sees as the foundation for everything she does.

Afia Bobia Amanfo

Young people are really starved for content that addresses their issues, directs and guides them and this is the gap we seek to fill - Afia Bobia Amanfo Click To Tweet


What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?

I have always had entrepreneurial dreams and a desire to use entrepreneurship as a vehicle for social change. But, for many years I held myself back because of a fear of failing. I finally decided to take the leap not because I had gathered enough courage, but because I was frustrated by the lack of access to quality content for young students in sub-Saharan Africa.

I interact with a lot of young people and I was distressed. By the fact that many of them were making poor decisions concerning their career, academics, relationships and life in general because they didn’t have easy access to information or a qualified mentor.

A quick check on most youth focused sites will show a bias towards entertainment. Definitely, the youth are interested in entertaining news and it is good business to give your customers what they want. However, young people on our continent are really starved for content that addresses their issues, and gives them direction and guidance. This is the gap we seek to fill.

In addition, I was motivated by the desire to lend my voice to instilling a sense of patriotism and pride in African youth. I believe there will be a change in the future of Africa only to the extent that the youth are intentionally taught to believe in themselves as Africans; and learn to exploit their abilities to their fullest potential so they can become successful future leaders. So yes, I took the leap after lots of prayers and I have not regretted it.


You built your website from scratch and you had no background experience to support this. From your experience what are the key resources and things to consider when creating a website?

Thanks to the internet, no skill is too difficult to learn today. From graphic design to website or app development, the tools are all there on Youtube or a blog out there.

So I will say:

  1. Start with research. You can research based on the type of website you want to build e.g.    a magazine, blog, e-commerce etc.
  2. Determine the best domain name registration sites
  3. Find a hosting site
  4. Find templates
  5. and learn about plugins.

You can find something whatever your budget is!

Here are a few resources you need:

  • Reliable internet connection. This is a must since you will spend several hours on      your site.


  • Domain name registration & hosting. You need to check for the availability of your domain name and register it as well. Most hosting services offer free domain name registration and free email address as part of the package. You can do a little research on the types of domain names and decide whether to register as a .com, .org, .gh etc.
  • I have been using as my hosting service which is quite affordable and also offer great customer service. Other hosting services include bluehost, godaddy  etc.


  • A website creation tool/ publishing platform. If you are a beginner like me, I will definitely recommend WordPress. WordPress has several templates ( both free and paid) and plugins. You can play around with various templates to find out what you want.
  • I think if you have an online business, it is good to try your hand at designing your site, because experimenting with various templates will give you ideas and your site will end up better.
  • You can always get an expert to add the touch-up’s, but do some experimenting on your own. Besides WordPress, you can also check other tools such as drupal, joomla or wix.


  • You are going to need some great pictures for your site. There is definitely a lack of quality African stock photos online but there are a few options both free and paid. Check out, and


Afia Bobia Amanfo


Ok, so let’s just say that was manageable. Let’s talk about building a social media following of over 7000 and developing an e-magazine in just 6 months! What’s the secret Afia?

I will say, there is actually no secret. The key to building a social media following has been widely discussed on many blogs and Youtube videos. I have watched She Leads Africa videos which spell out the strategy I used.

A  clear strategy:

We decided to invest in creating a community on social media first before launching our website.  Our strategy is 2 fold: Focused content and target advertising. To be honest, we have experimented a lot with content. We know our target audience and what we want to give them.

Experimentation and iteration:

However, we continue to experiment with the presentation of the content in order to achieve maximum impact. We have learned to consider that our target audience (students between 15 to 25) usually have very little to spend on data so we don’t do a lot of videos, we try shorter posts and also images with quotes, in order to get the message across.

A well structured team:

I also have to add that having an amazing team has been crucial. I am very big on delegation, structure and organisation and that has been our strength so far. We have a very small team of young people but everyone has a specific role. We have an editor for the e-magazine (Naana Essien) and my co-founder, Nana Ofosu Boakye is in charge of the youth mentoring. That delegation and structure helps us to achieve more than if I was trying to be a jack of all trades.

Using digital as a tool:

We have also embraced today’s digital power and the youth’s ‘addiction’ to their phones. We use WhatsApp as an extension of our community. For our mentoring groups and the broadcast feature for the distribution of four e-magazine and so far WhatsApp has been great. We are looking for more creative ways to meet the youth on platforms they are most comfortable with.

We want to see a different Africa and I believe that starts with an intentional investment in the minds of the young people - Afia Bobia Amanfo Click To Tweet

On the Studentshubgh website all areas of student’s life are included. Why students? Maybe clarify what are your hopes for this generation.

Anyone who is desperate to see a better future for Africa will be interested in the youth. They are the future. My co-founder and I really want to see a different Africa from the one we grew up in and I believe that starts with an intentional investment in the minds of young people.

I think we need to move beyond just entertaining our youth and begin to inculcate in them habits that will prepare them to succeed early on in life. We use ‘students’ as a target basically to clarify the age range but we are interested in reaching out to all young people ,aged 14-25, whether in school or out of school.


Afia Bobia Amanfo


What’s your competitive advantage?

Well, considering our vision, we actually want more people to come on board to help mentor and invest in young people. Nevertheless, our competitive advantage is and will remain innovation and creativity.

We are constantly researching and constantly discovering new ways and new methods to make an impact in the lives of young people. We want to always be one step ahead, whether it is with our e-magazine, our mentoring platform or content. We intend to continually learn and innovate.

Afia Bobia Amanfo says her competitive advantage is and will remain innovation and creativity Click To Tweet

Considering how well you have done thus far. How do you plan on maintaining this standard?

All we have been doing these few months is trying to lay a good foundation. We have more plans ahead for our website, our mentoring platform and our magazine.

We intend to be creative and remain true to our vision, while striving for excellence in everything we do and seeking good collaborations. We have a solid trust in God, who has been the foundation of everything we have done, and continues to give us more wisdom and ideas.

Afia Bobia Amanfo, would you rather reverse one decision you make everyday or be able to stop time for at least 10 seconds every day?

If I had that power, stopping time for 10 seconds will be awesome. Sometimes 24 hours doesn’t seem enough and sometimes you need a few seconds to think and decide. I have learnt that all things work together for good when you trust God.

Were you mentored as a student or do you mentor students?

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

Yvonne Amankwah: There is less consideration for Special people in recruitment

A lot of organizations in Ghana prefer to work with able-bodied individuals Click To Tweet

Yvonne Amankwah is a young leader passionate about her contributions to societal issues and education for the less privileged. What struck SLA contributor Ugochi Obidiegwu most about her business is the fact that Yvonne made a conscious decision to involve people living with disabilities.

This is something a lot of people do not consciously think about.

Tell us about your educational background

I am blessed to have practical experience in corporate work, communication and societal development works which enable me to effectively contribute to solving problems. I had the opportunity to learn and develop my leadership skills from President Obama’s YALI initiative Nigeria cohort-1 and my engagements as the ex-president of Enactus Radford University College chapter broadened my scope.

Recently, I completed my basic knowledge in Deutsch at Goethe Institute. I also hold a first degree BSc in Business Administration where I majored in human resource. During my degree program, I successfully combined my studies with work, showing I could to be self-motivated, organized, capable of working independently and able to utilize my skills and abilities effectively.

Why did you choose to work with Special staff?

90 percent of the time, when there is an employment opportunity the last people we look at employing are people with disabilities. A lot of organizations in Ghana prefer to work with able-bodied individuals whereas there is less consideration for the Special people.

This is what motivated me to carve my niche by working with people with disability. I feel they can be powerful when empowered to do more for themselves. I am deeply committed to training people with disabilities giving them an opportunity to better their lives.

How do you communicate to ensure your desired business goals are achieved?

The importance of communication cannot be overstated therefore it’s one of the ways business goals can be achieved. For the speech and hearing impaired we provide a note taker, a sign language interpreter, written materials or printed scripts.

In some situations, we keep paper on hand so the person can write out words that staff cannot understand. Besides, we use training videos which is very useful where interpretations may not be available.

What led you to start your own business?

A few years ago, I learnt an important lesson from my entrepreneurship lecturer back in college, Mr. Alan Dwomoh Sarpong which earned him the place as my mentor. He told me his secret to success was “looking at each day as a new opportunity to be your very best. Set high goals, be honest, never say no, and work with people who share your passion for doing their best”.

My mentor's secret to success is looking at each day as a new opportunity to be your best Click To Tweet

Since then I injected this advice into my life as I try to live up to it every day. This was the realization of my dream that I could impact the lives of people by my handiwork. As the CEO of a new startup Vons Brands Limited, a detergent manufacturing company where we produce liquid soaps and home cleaning detergents, I find it important to teach others this trade so they can benefit from it.

I really love what I do and I try to surround myself with people who share similar interest. I thrive on this type of environment.

What are the challenges you have encountered in the course of doing business?

I believe entrepreneurship is much broader than creation of business, I define it as a mindset and a way of thinking and acting it but that notwithstanding, challenges are inevitable. I have many but I work hard to overcome them.

Finances, high-priced raw materials, distribution are just a few of the challenges but have managed to overcome them. I have a practical approach to problem-solving and a drive to see things through to completion.

One of my keys to thriving in my space is to learn from the failures of others by having the humility to learn from their mistakes. It has always led me to success. The dark side of being an entrepreneur can never be skipped, but there is always a way to survive the harsh realities of entrepreneurship. One has to learn to live with risk and always be ready to improve by challenging the usual.

Entrepreneurship is broader than creation of business, I define it as a mindset Click To Tweet

Do you think the business environment is favourable to African young women?

The business environment is favourable to African women entrepreneurs who become the voices of change despite the challenges. These barriers can be broken through thought leadership. It’s time to fight the challenges to enhance our contribution to development in Africa.

At first, it’s difficult to break through but with time and consistency, you thrive in the business environment. There are a lot of opportunities for women to explore and be successful at, they should not be discouraged by the physical obstacles they see. They should rather feel empowered to overcome any challenge that sets in on their journey to success.

What would you advise a young woman who wants to start a business but is paralyzed by fear?

Fear is weakness! It cripples your ability to explore and be successful. Being bold is a new era. Get that weakness out of your mind and spirit. It only exists when you allow it into your thoughts.

Success and fear are enemies so you should always choose one side. Never be with the losing team which is fear. Get out of your closet, go out and make things happen because you can. The environment for women in entrepreneurship is great against all odds and this is the redefined power given to us women.

Women don’t lack confidence, don’t be paralyzed by fear it’s our to turn elevate our generation!

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

Aisha Akiti: Your hard work can put you anywhere in the world

The best way you can predict your future is to create it - Aisha Akiti Click To Tweet

Meet Aisha Akiti, CEO of  Missashleybakes and Eventbyashley, a baking and events planning company. This business was founded a year ago after graduating from her degree. Being a mother of two kids there was no luck finding a job so Aisha decided to create one for herself.

In fact, by the age of 10, Aisha was already selling candy, biscuits and doughnuts to her family and friends. Aisha’s favourite part of the business is that she is able to put her passion into reality. She also loves the daily interaction with clients as she helps them choose cakes and styles that match their personalities with the event.

The bubbly entrepreneur from Tema, Greater Accra region of Ghana says even though she has had her business for a year she is still excited about it. We interviewed Aisha Akiti and here is what she had to say….

What do you bring into baking and styling that makes your business unique?

I provide each client with signature designs and taste, I also treat clients like friends and let them get to know me.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

My greatest achievement so far is that I’m able to create a job for myself. After graduating from university, I had no hope finding a good job.

In addition, I am proud of the fact that I’m able to provide short-term job opportunities to other young people as and when my business allows.

How do you plan on taking your business to the next level?

I intend to take my business to the next level by introducing new products and services and hiring a social media manager to build my online reputation and engaging customers.

Getting a mentor, someone who’s been there, done that and learned lessons the hard way is indispensable. Also important is having a good team, providing them with good working environment and training. I believe when the people around you improve, your business will improve.

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What four qualities do you think every young entrepreneur in your industry should have?

I believe every young entrepreneur in my industry must possess these qualities:

  • Passion and leadership skills: Your passion will drive you to turn your ideas into reality.
  • Good numerical skills: You will need to measure ingredients and other basic items.
  • Creativity: Anyone can bake but to stand out from your competition the element of creativity is necessary. With creativity, you’re able to offer something different from the crowd.
  • You must be able to work under pressure. Baking is a lot about timing and it’s important to grasp the right time that may cause unnecessary stress. You’ll also need the ability to face the immense amount of stress when the end product does not turn out as expected.
  • Teamwork is also extremely important in a kitchen. You need to be able to work with other people to make beautiful creations on a large scale.

What has been your overall experience in this industry?

My overall experience in this industry is that the best people, no matter who they are, who they know or where they are on the ladder can succeed with their work being recognised.

Your hard work can put you anywhere in the world. Fear must be removed and you must focus on getting to where you want to be as fast as possible.

No matter who you are, you can succeed with your work being recognised Click To Tweet

If it takes one skill to be the best, what skill would you choose? Why?

I would choose communication skills because having a good ability to communicate will help you to build up relationships, present ideas and most importantly make you a better leader.

With good communication skills, you will be confident to talk and present your thoughts in public thus boosting your chances of success when you have to negotiate or persuade a client. A good leader is not the most intelligent one but the one who can inspire everybody the most. And how can you motivate people around you? Mostly using your words by communicating with them.                                      15801906_1903469049876219_6773135323820982272_n

What do you think other young women can learn from your start-up story?

Young women can benefit from my start-up story knowing that in life you don’t have to depend on anyone, you can create your future.

The best way you can predict your future is to create it. You are your own boss knowing how to bake, design and style an event with confidence, you can be anything you desire with hard work and determination.

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here

3 young African women software developers want to give you global hair inspiration

SLA interviewed Priscilla Hazel, Cassandra Sarfo, and Esther Olatunde, cofounders of the Tress App. In this interview, they share insights on how they met, their Tress app, and their vision for their enterprise.

Who are the women behind Tress and how did you all meet?

We are three software entrepreneurs from Ghana and Nigeria who are passionate about using technology to improve lives. Priscilla Hazel is the team hustler and is responsible for business strategy, public relations, and keeping morale high.

Esther Olatunde is the hacker within the team. She’s the backbone of our technical development and responsible for keeping the app running. Cassandra Sarfo is our resident hipster – she has a keen eye for detail, and is responsible for the user interface design and user experience of the Tress app.

tress app

We’ve known each other for about 2 years after first meeting at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, and we’re are excited to be working on something that affects us on a daily basis.

What is Tress ?

Tress is a mobile app and a fun, passionate community of black women from around the world sharing and discovering hairstyle inspiration. mockup-phone-for-web-front---feedWith Tress, women can:

1.  Discover new hairstyles to inspire them the next time they’re at the salon.

2. See detailed information about hairstyles such as the products used, the name of the salon, and price range.

3. Share their favourite hairstyles and get compliments and recommendations   from our supportive community.

4. Follow fashionable people and discover their hair care secrets.

Whether you’re rocking a weave, extensions, cornrows, braids, locs, relaxed hair, wig-caps, or anything in-between, Tress is your home for hair inspiration and information.

What was the inspiration for the app? What problem are you trying to solve with the app?

It’s surprisingly difficult to find accurate information about hairstyles. Many ladies have at some point walked up to complete strangers to compliment and inquire about their hair, or stalk social media accounts not only for inspiration but adequate information about the style.

We wanted to bring the experience of getting answers on the mobile phone, without the hassle. So now on the app, women have access to hairstyle inspiration that is relevant to them and they have adequate information to help rock the look they want.

Tress App

Who is your target market?

Our target market are the 100+ million black women around the world who have access to a smartphone and are crazy about hair. According to Nielsen, black women on average spend a disproportionately high share of their income on haircare products, which is 9 times more than other races.

Mintel estimates the black haircare industry to be worth 500 billion dollars. We consider the market to be extremely attractive.

You are currently based in Ghana, what’s your vision for Tress in Ghana? What about in Africa and globally?

While we piloted the app in Ghana, where we’re currently based, Tress is available globally. We want Tress to be synonymous with anything hair: hairstyles, hair-products, hair-stylists, hair-extensions, you name it. It should be the go to place for hair related queries.

What’s one of the biggest challenges you face right now?

Our biggest challenge is distribution. Getting the word out there about Tress has been challenging, as well as getting the kind of community engagement we aspire to have.

What would a successful Tress look like?


A successful Tress will be an app that is used by practically all black women for their hair and hairstyle needs. It should be the go-to app for any woman looking to find hair inspiration, hair-stylists, and high quality hair products.

Beyond the app, we’re also excited to have Tress become active in all kinds of media products for black women – television, magazines, events, and more. A successful Tress would also be an active social network of black women thriving in all aspects of their lives.

Is there any other insight about being business women and entrepreneurs you would like to share?

My co-founders and I have grown extremely close through working on Tress together. We have our individual and collective ups and downs, but we’ve learned to support each other mentally and emotionally, while also having fun together to maintain our sense of humour.

When embarking on the entrepreneurial journey, it’s extremely important to have a great team with you that you can trust to be with you through both the inevitable disappointments as well as the exciting times.

Finally, we’ve really enjoyed working on a deeply personal problem. We’re able to use our unique experiences as black women to inform the development of the company and this also helps us empathize with our users and anticipate the needs of women like us.

I’d encourage more women to start business focused on solving the unique challenges we face. Black women wield a large amount of purchasing power, and their multiple businesses waiting to be started to harness that.

Want to know more about Tress? You can find them here:


We want to know what amazing things women are doing in your communities. Tell us about them here!