- Leslie Mensah-Asare is a 22-year-old graduate who decided to do something for himself after school
- He now employs about 8 people
The recent cacophony surrounding the university graduate who has started a relatively successful bakery has thrown the spotlight once again on youth entrepreneurship. It is widely acknowledged that a guaranteed job after school is now a thing of the past and many university students have been encouraged and are being encouraged to start their own business.
However, many are those who consider some of the kinds of business, unconventional or unworthy for a university graduate to venture into. One such example is the business of sanitation.
Leslie Mensah-Asare is a 22-year-old graduate of Ghana’s premier university, the University of Ghana, who has set his eyes on defying the odds. He is the chief executive officer of Consume-ate Janitorial Services, a cleaning company that provides services to dormitories across the tertiary institutions in the country.
“I came up with the idea when I was in the third year and took over a year for me to get over the fear of it not being successful,” Leslie told YEN.
Leslie is not in short supply of role models, from Bill Gates of Microsoft to Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, both of whom started their multi-billion dollar business while being young students.
For Leslie, the business idea was not that difficult to spot, in the cluttered sometimes even stinking halls of residence on the university campus.
“I identified a challenge; as a student, I realised people get busy and are not able to make the time to clean up, [so I decided to clean up for them and charge them for it].”
“I was recommended by students to people outside campus and the blessings continued," he said.
According to him, he followed his vision by writing a proposal to the University of Ghana’s Dean of Students and recalls how it was approved.
“One of my miracles was when the Dean of Students actually met with me and gave me approval after reviewing my proposal and added his number to the approval letter.”
According to the food process engineering graduate, his parents who were initially unsure about this chosen career path now count as some of his strongest allies and motivators. According to the Cleaner-in-Suit, as Leslie is affectionately called by friends, he has always known he would start a business and that it was only a matter of time until that dream was realised.
“I always saw myself as a CEO managing a firm. I have always seen myself as a manager either giving out work or ensuring that something is done right.”
After a year of operation, Leslie now employs eight people. Five are janitors and three others (who are still in university) work as supervisors.
Leslie is now incorporating more ventures into the business including designing footwear, shirts and mobile phone cases using African wax prints.
The young man advised fresh graduates to seize any business opportunity which comes their way because there are times and seasons and when you miss your time it will be difficult to make it in life.
Even though he admits being an entrepreneur is challenging, his advice is that young people should seize the opportunity to turn their lives and that others around with entrepreneurship.