Some say that successful entrepreneurs are born and not made. Others disagree, saying good entrepreneurship is a talent that can be learned and nurtured.The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. The desire to create and grow a business—large or small— requires a combination of character, talent, vision, energy, timing and bit of luck.
What are some of the leading characteristics of a successful entrepreneur?
Take Ghanaian born Prince Kofi Amoabeng as a case in point. He dropped a military career to pursue a profession in finance, evolving from an introductory service linking friends who had money to invest with those that needed to borrow for their businesses. Today, Mr. Amoabeng is the Chief Executive Officer of UT Bank (formerly UT Financial Services) in a one-room office with a staff of four (4).
Founded in 1997, they aim at providing customers with fast and efficient short-term loans and real returns on investments. The company succeeded because he served the needs of indigenous traders, exporters and importers, as well as business organizations/people not catered for by the traditional banks.
Their clients are their most prized assets, thus providing them with quality and prompt services is their first priority, according to the business magnate. From a very humble beginning, UT Group is now ranked high in the Ghana Club 100. currently, UT is a Holding company with seven subsidiaries with staff strength of over 900 people and 27 branches scattered, over seven, out of the ten regions of Ghana, with an estimated turnover of $30 million.
From a very humble beginning, UT Financial Services now UT Bank and UT Group is now a household in Ghana and Africa at large. As part of their global “walk with Giants” campaign, Johnnie Walker last year unveiled him as new Ghanaian Giant. Mr. Amoabeng is the recent recipient of the Johnnie Walker Bank of the Year Award. His personal journey has taken him from military officer to highly-successful, awardwinningentrepreneur. His career, with UT Bank as well as other endervours such as his role on the Council of Enablis Ghana, has been characterized by a desire to encouraging entrepreneurial spirit in Ghana.
Johnnie Walker is the world’s most awarded Scotch whisky brand and is globally renowned for the Red label blend-the most popular premium Scotch whisky in the world-and Black label, the best selling 12-year old blends as well as their collection of rare, super-premium, blends. The Walk With Giants campaign, featuring the brand’s iconic Striding Man, celebrates individuals who can be considered ‘Giants’ in their fields and who share their personal stories to inspire others to take the next step on their personal journey.
EDUCATIONPrince Kofi Amoabeng is the CEO of UT Bank and the UT Group. He is a retired military officer (Captain) and an investment consultant. He graduated from the premier Business School in Ghana, University of Ghana Business School, with B.Sc Admin (Accounting). He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute Management Accountants (CMA-UK) and a member of Chartered Accountants CA (GH). From 1992-2003, he lectured at the Ghana Stock Exchange.
He has extensive experience in managing businesses through excellent customer relations, strategic and tactical business planning as well as strategic partnerships. Mr Amoabeng had earlier ventured into various enterprisesworking with companies like Opayesco Wood Processing Company Limited, Jamhaus Limited, K.K Power Company Limited and P.K Amoabeng Enterprise Limited
Mr. Amoabeng’s sterling leadership and entrepreneurial skills has won him and his company a number of laurels. Among his awards are:Most Respected CEO (Princewaterhousecoopers and , B&FT newspaper)2012, 2010, 2008.Ghana’s Giant for Johnny Walker’s Walk with the Giants’ project (2012)Finalist in the Ernst & Young West Africa Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2011)Overall Best Entrepreneur in the Maiden Ghana Entrepreneurs Award (2011)One of two Ghanaians profiled in Moky Makura’s book on Africa’s Greatest Entrepreneurs which profiles 16 of Africa’s top entrepreneurs. Two times running Ghana’s Most Respected CEO for 2008/2010.
National Honours for an Order of the Star of the Volta-Officer’s Division presented by the President of Ghana in 2008.Marketing Man of the Year 2006. BOARD MEMBERSHIPSPrince Kofi Amoabeng has been on the board since he founded Unique Trust 1997.Mr. Amoabeng is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Ghana Interbank Payment Settlement System (GhIPSS), member of the Council of Enablis Ghana (Canadian Entrepreneurial NGO) and member of the International Advibank Payment Settlement System (GhIPSS), member of the Council of Enablis Ghana (Canadian Entrepreneurial NGO) and member of the International Advisory Board of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), in Ghana.
PRINCE KOFI AMOABENG AS A PHILANTHROPIST
Through the UT Group, the seasoned entrepreneur has supported many civil society organizations with several millions of Ghana cedis . These include the Ghana Heart Foundation, Ghana Blind Union, Ghana Trust Fund, Light Outreach International, Family Outreach Ghana, Countryside Orphanage, Ghana Education Centre and orphanages across the length and breadth of the country. Mr. Amoabeng also extended his generosity to a number of individual, especially students of both secondary and tertiary education.
AS A SPORTMAN
As the maxim goes: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, Mr. Amoabeng moves from the heavy loaded business desk to engage in some sporting activities. He is a prolific golfer. Mr. Amoabeng is an active member of the Tafo Golf Club. Indeed, entrepreneurs are the future of many economies, especially emerging, developing and the least developed ones. It is, therefore not surprising that great entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs give us hope in the hardest of times. In Ghana, Mr. Amoabeng is an entrepreneur who makes majority of Ghanaians and African in general very proud. To quote an American author and entrepreneur, Brian Koslow: “If you nurture your mind, body and spirit, your time will expand. You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more”.
This quotation best fits well with the humble and affable Mr. Amoabeng, whose story can be told. Entrepreneurship is a key driver of our economy. Wealth and a high majority of jobs are created by small businesses started by entrepreneurially-minded individuals like Mr. Amoabeng and his partner.
People exposed to entrepreneurship frequently express that have more opportunity to exercise creative freedoms, higher self esteem, and an overall greater sense of control over their own lives. As a result, many experienced business people political leaders, economists, and educators believe that fostering a robust entrepreneurial culture will maximize individual and collective economic and social success on a local, national, and global scale.