The Perpendicular Entrepreneur

3 Min Read

May 14, 2013 By Edward Amartey-Tagoe

From the stables of Silicon Valley, the term “Serial Entrepreneur” has been coined. This happens to be the title bequeathed on entrepreneurs who focus their time and energy on one company at a time, taking the venture from the ground to an exit point or a point where the company can fly on its own or until the company folds up! Serial entrepreneurs who come to mind include  Jack Dorsey of Twitter.

In June 2012, the Economist presented the African common type of entrepreneurs. These they chose to call, the Parallel Entrepreneurs. These are the type of entrepreneurs who have more than just one company under their radar at a time. Some of these ‘Jack of all trade’ businessmen and women are mostly found in Africa. According to Imani, a Think Tank in Ghana, their research of  189 successful entrepreneurs  surveyed in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya revealed that these  people own, on average, six businesses each. It’s not difficult to assume why most of Africa’s successful entrepreneurs focus on multiple business and ventures at a time. There are lots of opportunities, interestingly because  of the many challenges staring the continent in the face. I can list Kofi Amoabeng of UT Group of Companies, Michael Agyekum Addo of Kama Group of Companies and Kwasi Twum of Multimedia as examples of parallel entrepreneurs who come to mind.

One other type of entrepreneur we usually forget about are the “Perpendicular Entrepreneurs.” These are the entrepreneurs who are employees and employers at the same time. There are tens of thousands of such entrepreneurs in Ghana. Ever wonder who owns the many taxis that ply our roads? Ever asked yourself who funds the many provision shops in our neighborhoods? They are mostly owned and supported by bankers, teachers, politicians, contractors etc. It is a common phenomenon for these employees to save their salaries and start as many other businesses as possible. In their own right these people are entrepreneurs, though they work for other companies too. What makes them different from moon lighteners, is these perpendicular entrepreneurs usually have no intentions of vacating their statuses as employees. Some of the businesses started by such entrepreneurs are taxi business, provision stores, drinking spots, nurseries, barbering shops, washing bays and other small to medium scale businesses. Many employed Ghanaian’s fall under this category, I can however mention Bola Ray as an iconic example under this type. He works for multimedia as an employee, yet has founded a very successful company called Empire Entertainment which he manages as well.

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