On August 4th each year, Ghanaians celebrate Founders' Day - a day to recognize the efforts of the people involved in helping to found Ghana as we know it today. Specifically, the day commemorates the big six - six men who together were crucial in achieving Ghana’s independence from colonial rule in 1957. Dr. Nkrumah, Edward Akufo-Addo, Joseph Boakye Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, William Ofori Atta, and Ebenezer Ako-Adjei are names that will always be remembered in Ghana.
On this Founders’ Day, we’d like to recognize 6 Ghanaians who are founders in their own right. They built organizations that have gone against the odds in an array of industries and have put Ghana on the map, just as their forefathers did. Here are 6 ground breaking Ghanaian Founders and their amazing companies.
Vanessa Leonie-Mensah is the founder and female entrepreneur behind VDL Fulfillment - an African based e-commerce order fulfillment platform that accelerates the growth of online businesses in Africa. They facilitate trade throughout the continent through sustainable, innovative, and reliable logistical systems. Their vision is to create 1 billion e-commerce entrepreneurs in Africa and they are well on their way to achieving that goal. 6 months after their transition, they fulfilled over 128,000 orders and disbursed over $100,000 to their business partners. Vanessa has already achieved such major milestones in her company's two years of operation at the tender age of 22!
Paul Damalie is a young Ghanaian from the Volta region. Paul is a "Fintech industry influencer in Accra, Ghana and the African sub-region and Untapt's Top 23 fintech influencers to follow on Twittter (@pauldamalie)" He has founded and co-founded two companies Loystar and Fintech company Appruve. They are both two successful businesses operating in many countries across the continent.
Appruve is a tool financial companies use to help detect fraud and automate compliance in their organizations. The tool uses financial and identity data across Africa to streamline fraud detection, advancing financial companies and their processes by leaps and bounds.Loystar was co-founded by Paul and is another tool companies can use to build customer loyalty. The organization "provides retail businesses with every thing they need to sell, build customer loyalty and drive repeat sales in their business."
Founder of Studio Badge
Leonie Badger is a trained architect who received her undergrad from MIT. She claims art, creativity and mathematics were always around her growing up as her mother was an artist and her father an engineer. She discovered her love of furniture design after visiting a concept store in Nigeria, then Studio Badge was born. Created in 2015 in Accra, Ghana, Studio Badge was "...founded out of a desire to see basic building materials and low-tech construction methods in a different light." The vision? "To produce world-class design products with common materials in alternative ways using Ghanaian minds and hands."
The company's design is inspired by their love of texture, materiality and food. Over the 6 years of its existence, it has transitioned from furniture to focus on smaller lifestyle products and ships internationally including to the USA. The company was listed as one of "Oprah's Favorite Things" in 2020 which was a huge highlight for the Ghanaian founded company.
Aaks has been in operation since 2014, and has accomplished a few accolades to include, "shortlisted as an emerging designer from Africa by Vogue Italia, featured by Vogue, Elle Decoration, CNN, Forbes Woman Africa, Guardian UK, The Times UK and most recently the Economist as one of the African brands advocating for sustainability in the fashion industry."
The woven bag collections are stocked in over 60 stores worldwide including Anthropologie, Bloomingdales, J. Crew, John Lewis, Nordstorm and United Arrows.
Jewel Thompson & Lindiwe Mutungamiri are shaking up the world of mental health and tech with their organization LITH Africa. The company is on a mission to change the face of mental health on the continent through their app platform and "improve the mental health of University students in Africa."