“Research has shown that youth entrepreneurship is an important tool in stimulating a country’s economy in recent times. This is primarily due to that fact that each entrepreneur brings about benefits not only for him or herself but for the country as a whole. As they are self-employed, they often have better work satisfaction and their businesses also create jobs for others as well. It has been established by proponents of youth empowerment that youth entrepreneurship leads to the development of more industries, especially in rural areas or regions disadvantaged by economic changes by encouraging the processing of local materials into finished goods for domestic consumption and export”.
That was Ms Yasmin Kumi’s comment on youth entrepreneurship and its essence to the global economy as a whole. The founder of Africa Foresight Group, a company on a mission to elevate African companies into global champions further mentioned the European Union’s effort to promote entrepreneurship as a key competence that can boost competitiveness and growth. This is under a scheme to advance a European entrepreneurial culture by fostering the right mindset and entrepreneurship related skills in the Europe 2020 strategy. As a result, entrepreneurship education is now being increasingly encouraged across Europe.
In her late twenties, Ms Kumi is an entrepreneur of both Ghanaian and German descent. Her mother is German from Osnabrueck and her father is Ghanaian from the Brong Ahafo region. She was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. As a child, she never visited Ghana with her family so knew very little about Ghana and Africa for that matter apart from what she read and watched on television in addition to the tales by her dad about the rich Ghanaian culture. It was until after her undergraduate studies when she found an opening to work in Ghana for a project by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the field of agriculture. This gave her the opportunity to visit Ghana for the first time in her life. She would later work as a consultant for McKinsey & Co, consulting for companies in Germany and across Africa.
“During my undergraduate level studying Business Administration at the European Business School, I spent a semester abroad at the Seoul National University in South Korea where I developed a special interest in family business groups and economic value creation. In 2014, I moved to the UK to obtain a graduate degree in African studies after which I pursued an MBA programme at the Said Business School which was funded by the New York-based Pershing Square Foundation, chaired by Bill Ackman and his wife”, she recounted.
At the University of Oxford, Yasmin was the President of the Africa Society from 2015 to 2016 and chaired the 2015 Oxford Africa Conference which was opened by the then president of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama. In 2017, she was listed as one of the Futures of Ghana 30 Under 30 and was also the first winner of Mo Issa’s The Authenticity Project, an initiative that awards and mentors outstanding leaders with authentic goals and ambitions.
Yasmin is a member of the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance, a group of 250 entrepreneurs from over 35 African countries aiming to solve the social challenges of Africa serving as the inaugural Executive Director from July 2016to September 2017 to build the next growth phase. Her success at the organization funded by Cisco and the IDP foundation was motivated by her strong conviction that there is a boundless hidden potential in Africa when it comes to business opportunities and home-grown companies.
Speaking about her philosophy in life, Yasmin said that “growing up in Germany, I experienced stigma being ‘an African’ and hailing from a poor continent. My dad had left Ghana at an early point in his life not believing that the country could have a successful economy which I never understood. To carve out the potential of African businesses to start having global footprints is an important source of building the pride of African people. I am highly driven by impact and do not see money as a reward but rather as a means to maximize the positive influence I can have on supporting sustainable growth of African markets”.
Yasmin founded the Africa Foresight Group (AFG) following her passion to foster local economic value creation in Africa. To this end, AFG provides advisory, market research and thought leadership in agriculture, consumer goods and financial services. AFG currently has six full-time staff and a large pool of about ninety industry experts, researchers and experienced business advisors functioning as contractors. The company’s clients are local and international companies and donors with an interest in African markets. At the moment, AFG operates in London, Lagos and Accra, which houses the head office of the company.
As a leader, Yasmin is demanding and challenges her colleagues to constantly learn in order to deliver work that goes beyond the usual standard with top quality and dedication as a prerequisite to achieving real impact. At the same time, she aims to create a team culture that builds on being purposeful and caring for each other while following a mutual dream. As a student who started working at the age of 12, Yasmin learnt to be very resilient and now as an entrepreneur, she is learning to transform her fears into a source of strength at all times.