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Young Man Who Started His Food Business in School, Now Very Successful, Narrates His Journey

Cursory: Harrison Matti, a young man who started his now-successful business while in school University has opened up about his journey, including overcoming tribulations in the early stages and along the path of growing his business.

Matti has proven that entrepreneurship is an interest that doesn’t discriminate against age. He started at a very young age and despite all the obstacles he still persevered and is now making waves. Young Matti initially lived with his grandmother in their hometown in Agortime-Kpetoe in Ghana’s Volta Region.

”I spent one year of my school life at the EP Basic School,” he says. Matti added that his sight-impaired grandfather taught him how to write his name, inculcating in him the belief that everything is possible.

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After a while, Matti returned to the Greater Accra Region where he had been born. He continued his education there as he was enrolled into a primary school called IBM at Madina. However, in class two, he left. I started school at IBM but had to quit.

“My teacher then made me polish his shoe twice over two terms. I refused to do so in the third term. I tossed the shoe and polish away one day and was ordered to summon my parents. I was told to leave the school and never return.

He later moved to Baba Yara M/A 1 & 2 Junior High School (JHS) where Matti recalls repeating class five because he was not attending classes regularly.

”I had a bike and was interested in making money. The class six teacher knew my dad and he probably told him I was not attending school. I was asked to go on probation so I did class five twice. My dad asked me to learn carpentry if I would not go to school and that was the turning point for me,” he told YEN.com.gh.

At the junior secondary school, presently known as junior high school (JHS), Matti and his siblings worked on their father’s farm in their home town where they cultivated various crops.

“I’m from a family of seven children. My dad was entrepreneurial. He loved farming. He had a piece of land in our home town where we harvested flamboyant seeds. He paid us old 50 cedis each per margarine cup.

In Accra, Matti’s father also had a farm at the Madina cemetery during their early settlement. They grew yam, maize, cowpeas and cassava. They also kept goats at home which allowed them to earn more money.

Besides his father, Matti’s mother, a professional fashion designer, equipped him with some cooking skills.

“My mother did a lot of sewing. She also sold charcoal and opened a chop bar. I was the male you’d find at home because my sister was too young. I was attending a shift school (morning and afternoon shifts) then.

Matti also juggled his education with operating his family’s corn mill business. Initially, someone was running it but could hardly make GH¢100 in a month. Then he went on a Christmas trip elsewhere and my dad asked me to take over. I made GH¢100 in one week. From then on, I was made to take over the corn mill and juggle it with my studies.

Upon completing his JHS education, Matti’s family shut down the corn mill business because they couldn’t trust anyone to run it.

The kid, who was older than the majority of his contemporaries, made it through West Africa Senior High School (WASS) as a student in General Arts and joined the cadet club for extracurricular activities. At this point, he had decided that a military career would suit him.

“I originally wanted to be a military officer. I applied after SHS and was selected, but my father took me to visit a family friend who was a colonel. My father’s friend said he didn’t understand why I wanted to join the military instead of attending university. He explained that I was better off with a degree in the military. So, I agreed to go to the university. I had already gained admission into the University for Development Studies (UDS).

However, Matti ran into trouble when his father refused to pay for his university studies because the cost of their siblings’ tuition was causing him concern. He wanted Matti to enlist in the military at that time due to financial reasons.

Determined to continue his studies after graduating from SHS in 2007, Matti used his savings from a laundry job he was engaged in and the support from his siblings to pay his initial university fees. However, his father eventually came through to assist him.

Matti still clung to the army dream even at this stage of his life. After completing his national service at the St. Charles Senior High School in Tamale, he applied to join the army but was not accepted. While in UDS, he cooked a lot for himself and his friends. However, his finances were not good enough back then for him to start a business.

”I started university at age 20. I studied Development Studies and finished the programme in July 2012 but graduated in November 2012. I got a job after my national service in October 2013 but felt underpaid,” said Matti. So, he began a side job to boost his income and that was how the food brand idea was birthed.

”I was engaged in a laundry business from SHS to university. I quit the laundry job when I secured a position at the Ghana Community Radio Network (GCRN) as the project support officer. I then started my own laundry business with my brother, along with the new job. I later stopped the cleaning venture and founded the food business.

Life, however, threw mountains of challenges at Matti. He was forced to shut down two branches. Although, I officially opened Eleven15 Restaurant in 2019, I opened another branch on May 9, 2020 but shut it down on May 14 because the deal was unsuccessful.

When the restaurateur relocated to Adjiringano in Accra in September 2020, he opened another one but shut it down in 2022 because his landlord sold the property that housed them. I had invested everything I had and other investments from family and friends. In fact, that branch landed me my first interview. Unfortunately, the landlord called on my birthday to break the news.

Matti admits his venture is surviving and barely making it with only two branches.

There is the Abokobi branch with two workers and the Lakeside branch with nine staff including myself and my wife. I have yet to give up on entrepreneurship, but I don’t want to invest in a property that is not mine again.

The ordeal with his former landlord that collapsed the Adjiringano branch of his business has greatly affected Matti’s passion for the food business. He now works for Easy Water for Everyone, a US-based NGO as the regional director and head of the company in Ghana, Senegal and Uganda. He also doubles as a part-time lecturer at the Lakeside University College, Ghana (LUCG).

The business owner and educator is also a doctoral (PhD) candidate at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and a master’s student pursuing an MBA in Impact, Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Professional Studies (UPSA) Accra.

Before these accomplishments, he had obtained his first master’s degree in Local Economy Development at the Institute of Local Government Studies. Matti says that though he has plans to venture into other sectors and businesses, he wants to focus on his consultancy job and education for now. The family man’s future is bright despite his entrepreneurial journey challenges.

Source: yen.com.gh

Read Also: Teenager Ditches University, Buys Restaurant She Worked At With Her College Savings

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