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Entrepreneurship in Ghana: A Personal Experience

By Mr. Seth K. Dei (Board Member, Blue Skies Company Ltd)

CHAIRPERSON : Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang (Vice-Chacellor)

Abstract

The lecture will essentially be about business, service to the community and contribution to the growth of the Art Culture in Ghana. Mr. Dei will do this by telling his story (My Story) of how a boy, born in small cocoa growing village went to Achimota School, and then continued to a prestigious Private School in the U.S.A. at the age of 16. He came back to Ghana in 1992 and has played leading roles in the creation of some companies. He has served on different Public and Private Boards. The lecture will illustrate Mr. Dei's role in a leading agro-processing company. It will also illustrate his role in the growth of Art in Ghana.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Mr. Dei was born in Ghana in 1945 at Kofi Pare, a small cocoa-growing town in the Suhum Kraboa-Coaltar District in Eastern Region of Ghana. He attended Achimota School from 1959 to 1961. After the third year, and at the age of 16, he got a scholarship to attend Buxton School, a private College Preparatory School, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He entered Cornell University from 1963 and studied Agricultural Economics. He proceeded to the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism to pursue combined Graduate studies in Finance in Journalism.
Mr. Dei returned to Ghana in 1992, after working for a U.S leasing company from 1973 until 1992. He worked in New York and had become Senior Vice President of TAW Leasing in charge of the company's operation in six Francophone countries in West Africa.

He founded Leasafric in Ghana in 1993 and was later elected by his peers as President of the African Leasing Association in 2001. He retired from Leasafic in 2004.

With a British partner, he set up Blue Skies Ghana Limited, which specialises in the sale of freshly-cut, packaged and labeled fruits for European supermarkets. Today, Blue Skies employs 1500 people at its factory in Nsawam. It supplies its products to seventeen supermarkets in seven countries in Europe. Blue Skies makes fresh juice for Marks and Spencers in the U.K and for the Ghanaian local market. Blue Skies has also built factories in Egypt, South Africa, and Brazil.

Activities

Mr. Dei is best known in Ghana as an art collector. He has the largest private collection of contemporary Ghanaian painting in the country. In fact, New York University's (NYU) Africa House has agreed to become curators of the Dei Collections, housed at the Dei Centre in Accra, Ghana.

He is a member of various civic and business organizations including:

President - Friends of the National Zoos (FONZ)
Board Member - Foundation for Contemporary Art (FCA)
Board Member - Ghana Cultural Fund(With the Danish Embassy)
Board Member - Akuapem Community Foundation (Community Development)
Board Member - CDD(Centre for Democratic Development)
Board Member - NYU Ghana
Board Member - Metropolitan Insurance
Board Member - Blue Skies Holdings
Board Member - Merchant Bank

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