4 March 2014

Ghana: Sewing for Success - Behind the Scenes At Ghana's Horseman Shoes

Since its launch in 2010, Horseman Shoes has gone from strength to strength. Now entrepreneur Tonyi Senayah is looking to expand abroad.

In the main production room of Horseman Shoes, six workers are busy cutting and sewing leather. The factory belongs to Tonyi Senayah. He has 12 people working for him here to make shoes that are sold all over Ghana.

30 year-old Senayah graduated from the University of Ghana in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in sociology. At that time he had no ambitions to become an entrepreneur. He told DW how that came about. "In 2009 I bought a pair of shoes from a local manufacturer and wore them to work. My colleagues were impressed and wanted some, too. Even after work, I still had people calling me to place orders. I realised that I could make a business out of this."

Senayah knew there were many young and skilful shoemakers in Ghana looking for work. This, coupled with the demand for high-quality shoes, convinced him that there was a niche that he could fill.

Facing up to the challenges

Senayah officially registered Horseman Shoes in 2010. He started with only 100 US dollars (73 euros) in his pocket.

Tonyi Senaya tells reporter Isaac Kaledzi how his business was born

Family and friends gave him the rest of the capital he needed. This was undoubtedly useful - but Tonyi says there is another major challenge prospective entrepreneurs have to overcome.

"The most important challenge to overcome is the fear of failure. If you are able to overcome these doubts about whether you can make it or not, then I believe all other obstacles are surmountable," he said.

Kofi Nyarko is one of the workers at Horseman Shoes. He says there is a strong sense of loyalty within the team.

"All that we know is Horseman and we are committed to it because we want to be the best. We want to be considered the best in the business."

Looking to expand

Shoes made by Horseman may soon also be sold abroad

Since its launch in 2010, the company has made steady progress. Almost 150 pairs of shoes are produced each month. In 2012 Horseman Shoes made a profit of almost $15,000. Tonyi has ambitious plans for the future. "I have started getting offers and orders from people outside Ghana who want to buy our shoes. But we have to be logistically prepared for the international market," he told DW.

The range of products includes men's dress shoes, unisex sandals and slippers, school sandals and safety boots.

In 2011 Horseman Shoes won the Global Professional Achievers Young Entrepreneur Award.

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