Spotlight on EIT: Samuel Sowah Mensah

ghost_okari, Thursday November 16th 2017

This week, our spotlight is on Samuel Sowah Mensah. He is a prolific vlogger who chronicles his stay at MEST on his Facebook page. Samuel also runs a blog that you can find here. Read on to find out why problems occupy a central position in his life.

You are quite known by your nickname, what does it mean?

My nickname is Sasogeek or saso for short. It's a combination of my name and my personality;
Saso is derived from the first two letters of my first two names, and geek is just my personality as defined by google - engage in or discuss computer-related tasks obsessively or with great attention to technical detail.

Where are you from?
My nationality is Ghanaian, my hometown is La, somewhere in Accra, but I grew up in Akosombo, in the Eastern region of Ghana.

What were you doing before joining MEST?
I was doing my national service as a marketing person for Kishron Eyewear after graduating from Ghana Technology University College. I was also experimenting a lot with Python and Javascript frameworks and any APIs out there that I thought I could do something interesting with.

What motivated you to join MEST?
I believe this was more of a who than a what. Sometime late 2016, a friend of mine named Diana recommended MEST to me. I had heard about MEST a few years prior and I thought it was interesting, but it was she who impressed upon me the advantages of applying to the programme: I could probably get in and do well because she saw and believed that I was driven to solve problems I noticed around me, and MEST was the perfect place to go learn how to turn the solutions I build into businesses.

Why do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?
I believe an entrepreneur is anyone that can identify problems as opportunities to develop solutions which provide value to people, and will do everything possible to sell or make money from that solution. I consider myself an entrepreneur because when I am not identifying a problem, I am developing a solution or a value proposition, and when I am not doing either, I am trying to sell something.

Why entrepreneurship - what drove you down that path?
Top of the list is my healthy dislike for writing application letters ever since I was taught how to write job application letters in high school. Second is the abundance of problems I see around; there are problems everywhere, and those who are relevant, who change the world, and guide the course of history, are the ones who do something about those problems. I like to think of myself as someone who is constantly learning and acquiring skills that can be used to solve some of the problems in the world, and I am "annoyed" just enough about some of these problems to the point that I want to do something about them.

Have you ever set up and, or, run a business? If yes, how many and what was(were) it(they) about?
The short answer is yes.  A few I can remember include a night water selling business I set up while at university because no shop selling water around the campus was still open by midnight. I also built a notes sharing and comparison app for university students to share and compare their notes within the same university and with other students taking similar courses in other universities. There was no sustainable business model behind that solution so I could only let it run for a few years before slowly shutting it down.

What do you think of MEST, and have your expectations been met so far?
MEST is a great community of talented and very intelligent people from all walks of life. Having been given the opportunity to be here, I am humbled. Had I not gotten into MEST, I'm sure I would be learning what I'm learning at MEST the hard way. There is a vast wealth of experience here at MEST to tap from, which makes it easy to know which mistakes to avoid as an entrepreneur and the actions and decisions that can lead to failure. My expectations have been exceeded, and I'm looking forward to more! The experience and learning over the few months so far to be honest, dwarfs my entire university experience.

What has been your best moment at MEST so far?
There are so many equally great but competing answers, but let me just say that any moment when fries and chicken are served is a great moment!