Long may you Endure

To those brave men and women , champions of enterprise, builders of families and friendships , risk takers on the turbulent seas of life , who boldly go where no one has gone before, and never give up. You are the empire builders , the true movers and shakers of society upon whom we all are part of .
Long may you endure !!!!!!!!

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The culture of Excess

The big moves, are made to polarize. You can’t win everyone, at the sametime, it is important to let go of those who aren’t pretty much bhakts of what it is that you are building to get to the finish line. But you can also lose your right hand man if you decide to go the other extreme.

When I saw pictures of the Flipkart office, I knew Amazon had won the war.

In the west, entrepreneurship is a bug that bites you when you are in school (college). Hence the reason why there is an ecosystem around Cambridge, MIT, Stanford, Berkeley etc. In India, it is the org where you get your first job. It defines, well, it will define who you are and how you think. Unfortunately, if you worked in one of the top four body shops, getting one to have an eye for detail is next to impossible – there are rare ones though.

Workspace sets culture. I would close my eyes and back an entrepreneur who comes from Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo or Bosch. These are entrepreneurial orgs, and there is a culture of frugality and innovation built into their genes. People work hard, without expecting to be pampered. They don’t expect an art gallery to work out of. Art galleries aren’t productive spaces. And startups and offices are quarries, not galleries.

I still remember the story of Amazon, where they refused to spend money on fancy tables. So they took doors, put it on four legs and used them as tables. Startup legend says, there are still offices where they have those tables.

“These desks serve as a symbol of frugality and a way of thinking. It’s very important at Amazon.com to make sure that we’re spending money on things that matter to customers,” said Bezos, 34. “There is a culture of self-reliance. (With the low-tech desks) . . . we can save a lot of money.”

Take the other extreme, where we have struggled turning entrepreneurs out of google engineers. They are given in to a culture of excess, and that is death in the startup world. Bring them into a startup and they expect free flowing food, colorful bean bags, unlimited computing resources and the attitude of “It doesn’t make business sense, but why not?” Sure, corporates that are lost in the dark with 1% of your products generating cash, taking blind shots can adapt that strategy, but such attitude in a startup is death. You can only afford to swing once or twice and miss, in the startup world.

So, they have set the tone for polarization. Here’s an org that survived through the dot com bust, is known for frugality and is publicly traded (and even though hasn’t made profit, is well regarded). And then there is this new kid in the block, who owned a subcontinent, and is now starting to give into excess.

Funny thing is, orgs like Google and Facebook and even microsoft can afford to give into excess. They have margins to be able to do that. All said and done, at the end of the day, Flipkart is a trading site, where they make margins out of goods sold. Close your eyes, imagine the biggest distributor in the world and imagine their offices. I’d guess it doesn’t look like an art gallery. Someone had made the decision, that they are going to go the way of the excess (not with money earned but with borrowed money), that unfortunately isn’t going to last long. Worse, you are also ruining a whole new wave of entrepreneurs who probably took the first job there, with a culture of excess.

If there is a war coming, and one that you need to win, you need by your side an army that gets the vision of what you are trying to accomplish (and makes the sacrifice to stand by your side). If you have to get people moving with facade and glamour, there is a chance that you don’t have a purpose to paint, just fashion. Fashion fades. Purpose wins the war for you.
#entreprenuers #inspiration #differ

Project Efiase

Efiase is the Akan word for Prison. Project Efiase is about bringing transformation to Ghana’s Prisons Service, educating the public about the current state of its prisons and sensitize the public about the importance of the Prisons Service to public safety. It is also about advocating to corporate entities that the Prisons Service is open to business via public Private Partnerships. Finally, Project Efiase is a fundraiser. All the above is needed to initiate transformation. It costs money to rehabilitate people so that when the re-enter society, they do not endanger public safety.

According to a June 2001 U.S. Department of Justice paper by Michael E. Smith via the National Institute of Justice, “public safety is best conceived as the condition of a place, at times when people in that place are justified in feeling free of threat to their persons and property.” Public safety is threatened when a society cannot adequately treat its offenders and they are released back into society worse than they entered the prisons. Treatment here is with regards to reformation and rehabilitation.

As part of the nation’s Criminal Justice System, the role of a well functioning Prisons Service in the maintenance of public safety cannot be over-emphasized. The Service does not only take safe custody of convicted persons but also persons awaiting trial—some of these having to spend multiple years on remand. By the time some of these have been released they have picked up negative skills to the detriment of ordinary peace loving Ghanaians.

To adequately reform, there is need for adequate and suitable infrastructure, skills development machines and training for officers. On the infrastructure front, the reason why there is need for purpose built spacious prisons include the fact that when a person is delivered to the Prisons Service by a court of competent jurisdiction, prison officers must assess this person, classify them and then take safe custody of them based on their classification so they can be assigned suitable types and levels of treatment. But this is not currently the case.

In 1850, there were prisons cells in some four forts, holding a maximum of 129 prisoners. By 1948, there were twenty-nine prison establishments all over the country. Today there are 43 prisons around the nation. Of this number, only 3 prisons were purposely built as prisons. The other 40 were inherited from business or government entities—many dating back to colonial times.

The Yeji Prison used to be an abandoned clinic. The Winneba Prison was formerly a warehouse of a business concern dating back to colonial times. The Koforidua Prison used to be an armory in colonial times. The Kumasi Prison was built in 1946. The Prisons at Kenyasi and Dua Yaw N’kwanta were given to the Prisons Service by the Ministry of Agriculture. The gift of land at Kenyasi came with a solitary structure which the Service had to secure and eventually expand to house prisoners. Some of our prisons are even built of mud. The fact that many prisons were not originally meant for this purpose is also contributory to the acute congestion challenge in our prisons. The infrastructural deficit is a perennial challenge that spans various government Administrations since independence and limits successful classification and treatment programmes aimed at reformation and rehabilitation. It is only when prisoners are rehabilitated that they cease to be a threat to public safety upon their release from incarceration.

The government has given lots of Ghana Cedis towards the completion of Ghana’s first and only maximum security prison as well as helping to refurbish many other prison establishments around the country but government alone cannot solve all the challenges which bedevil the Service and has been compounding since colonial times from one administration to another—hence the need for Project Efiase which is the Prison’s Council’s attempt to reach out to the private sector as well as other well meaning Ghanaians to support Ghana’s Prisons administration.

Inmates for a long while used to be fed on GHc0.80 for breakfast, lunch and supper. This sum included the contractor’s profit margin. The current government administration has tripled this amount. It has also given the Service ambulances for their work.

But even with all the assistance the service receives from government, there is still much need.

Many of the Service’s workshops which if fully functional could aid in reform through skills training are stocked with machinery inherited from the colonial times. Because of insufficient space and dietary requirements, prisons have become incubators of diseases.

Though the Prisons Service are custodians of much land, they are handicapped to use much of it for agriculture or other useful gain because of the lack of irrigation, farming implements, machinery and storage facilities needed for large scale faming. Transportation to ferry prisoners to these lands and back to their cells is also lacking.

With the human resource at its disposal, if properly resourced, the Prisons Service could make a noticeable contribution to Ghana’s agriculture and economy.

So what again is Project Efiase?

It is the Prisons Service Council’s outreach to society in general to assist with making Ghana’s prisons centers for reformation, rehabilitation and productivity—not just incapacitation, deterrence and retribution. Project Efiase is not a one-time event but hopefully a lifetime project that will see immense change in Ghana’s Prison Service.

The former are much better for a nation’s internal security and public safety.

The Service has developed a 10-year strategic plan for the transformation and it aims to support this plan by generating funds to implement the plan.

The Prisons Service Council appeals to corporations and citizens alike to give financially to Project Efiase. Kitiwa bia nsua, loosely translated ‘No amount is too little’. Large donations are also welcome.

If corporations and persons may not be able to give donations but can give work contracts to the Prisons Service, this is also welcome. The Service builds excellent structures. It has architects, surveyors, masons etc. Some structures built by the Prison Service include the Prisons Officers Mess, School blocks as well as the parade grounds at the Senior Corrections Center. It also builds furniture, sews uniforms and smocks, weaves Kente, makes sandals, shoes, handbags and moulds pottery to mention a few.

Low risk inmates can be hired out for manual labour and cleaning exercises under the guard of officers.

Visit the Prisons headquarters or our prisons establishments to see firsthand what the Service is capable of. What the Service lacks is opportunity and that’s why the Prisons Council is soliciting your assistance. Help us make a difference! Help us make Ghana a much safer society.

Only God can give you a great name before you actually manifest greatness

Can i preach small small?
You see, for you to have a great name, you have to be a great man. But it is only God, who can give you a great name before you actually manifest the greatness. Hannah was barren yet her name meant ‘ favour/grace. Esther was an orphan and was a nobody (poor) yet her name meant ; a star. Both these women, had great names, yet their situation did not dictate that, their names did not correlate with what they were going through. Hear me, what you are going through will not kill you, it is there to teach you and prepare you for greater days, perhaps your situation has cornered you to doubt if really what God told you through his word and his prophets is true? Take courage, God is not a man that He can lie!.

Be very courageous

Today as i was driving to work , i drove in a road that had many bumps, and i was so irritated. And it hit my spirit that, as much as i dont like them, they are there for my own good, they were designed to reduce traffic accidents. You see, in life you will face many bumps(financial bumps, emotional bumps, social bumps, e.t.c ), they will be uncomfortable, they will drain your energy, they will make you question your faith but at the end, they will certainly make you a better man! Be courageous!

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