- Seth Ocran dropped out of secondary school after his parents died suddenly
- His poor family could not assist him, so he became a trotro mate for over two years, after which he became a driver
- He failed at several businesses before managing to turn his life around
- He is now the owner of a car rental business that has over 60 luxurious cars
Like many Ghanaians, Seth Kwao Yeboah Ocran, dreamt of obtaining the best education and becoming a great man in future.
He had high hopes of turning this dream into reality when he got admission to the St. Augustine's College in Cape Coast for his secondary school.
His hopes, however, where shattered when he suddenly became an orphan at age of 14.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Mirror newspaper, Ocran, the CEO of YOKs Investments Limited, detailed how he managed to overcome adversity and turn his life around from the despair and emptiness of being a trotro mate to the joy and fulfillment of owning YOKs-Rent a Car, a multi-million dollar car rental business that owned over 60 luxurious cars as at the time of the interview.
His mother, a kenkey seller, died suddenly when he was in the first year of secondary school.
This, he said, adversely affected his father, who was left alone to cater for 22 children.
Ocran's father, who was a civil servant, died when he was in the second year of secondary, forcing him to drop out of school and become a trotro mate (bus conductor) in order to survive.
A struggle with life
With his extended family too poor to assist him, Ocran worked as a mate for two years, sweating and toiling day and night.
After two years of hard work with nothing to show for it, he decided to change course.
He had managed to learn a bit of driving as a mate, so he sought employment at the Department of Urban Roads as a labourer.
His plan was to work until he was 18 and gain promotion to become a driver with a valid driving licence.
After two years of toiling, he turned 18 and got a driver's licence, but that did nothing to improve his well-being, as he continued to work as a labourer.
After a while, he realised his future at the department was bleak, because even his boss, who was the foreman of the labourers, was struggling to make ends meet.
He subsequently quit the job and became unemployed for some time.
Later, with the help of friends, he ventured into business. He was importing goods from Togo and supplying to people at Makola.
He, however, lost his capital when the Makola market in Accra got burnt.
According to him, many people affected by the fire owed him and could not pay back.
He managed to invest in several other business that eventually ended up failing.
Ocran eventually went to work for VANEF Europcar in 1996.
He worked there for four years, performing roles such as driver, night supervisor and sales representative.
Ocran's breakthrough came when a Canadian woman, Ms. Louise Griener, a Carl Bro. International (DANIDA) consultant to the Ghana Highway Authority, who was supervising a road contract in the country, approached VANEF to rent a car.
The woman said she wanted a driver who could double as an office boy.
Ocran's bosses quickly recommended him to her because he was considered an "all-rounder" who could perform multiple roles.
Ocran stated that in the course of driving the woman around, the VANEF car kept breaking down, compelling them to push it a lot of the time.
He said the woman eventually got fed up and told him that she would terminate her contract with VANEF in favour of another car rental service.
She wanted Ocran to resign from VANEF and join Hert, the car rental service she planned to contract.
At that moment, Ocran said an idea occurred to him. He asked the woman if she would hire his car if he bought one. She agreed.
He had made saving of GHc500, so he bought a car for GHc1, 300 on hire purchase basis.
He then borrowed money from a friend to register it, after which he began driving the Canadian woman in it.
After three months of driving the woman and receiving payment, he was able to complete the payment for the vehicle.
Seeing how hard working he was, the woman recommended his service to several other foreign expatriates in the country.
He started borrowing cars from friends for a fee to service the increasing number of clients he was getting.
Later, business boomed, so he bought more cars on hire purchase basis and registered his business.
In 2005, he built a modern office building in Osu.
He won contracts from the West African Gas Pipeline and several other companies.
In 2006, Ecobank helped him to acquire over 20 brand new vehicles, including 4 X 4 vehicles.
Stanbic bank later helped him to acquire 40 luxurious vehicles to enable him to bid for a contract at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, which he won in 2011.
He has not looked back since, rapidly expanding the business and venturing into other areas.
Ocran was born at Kpeve in the Volta Region. He is blessed with six children - five boys and a girl.
His hobbies include, reading, watching football, swimmingly and playing table tennis.
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