Towards the end of the 2014 National Service calendar, former classmates at Ashesi, Richard Bempong ’14 and Andrew Bimpong ’14 started exploring the idea of starting an online-based fashion store. They soon found out that besides capital, one of the biggest challenges startups face is finding affordable space that is conducive enough for effective work. They promptly shelved their initial idea and started working to help fill this gap they had also become victims of. And so the idea for Workshed was birthed.
“We started Workshed because there is a demand which makes sense,” explained Richard. “We sought to create a co-working community that aims to provide a workspace that is comfortable and affordable for freelancers and startups to nurture and grow their businesses.”
Diving into the deep end
To fully commit themselves and the needed resources to this goal, Richard left his job in a local investment bank, while Andrew also abandoned his position in a real estate firm. “A major hurdle for me was convincing my parents that even though working for someone was safe, doing something I really love was more than secure,” said Andrew. “I also maintained there was no point making a huge investment in paying for Ashesi for me to blend in with the status quo.”
After just over a year of long nights with little rest, the two acquired a floor in an office complex in the thriving business district on the Spintex road and turned it into a co-working space. “The whole ideation stage, planning, looking for capital, working with scarce resources have really taught me that starting something is real work and when we hear ideas like Koko King we shouldn’t just say it’s Hausa Koko,” said Andrew. “We must appreciate every venture and see what we can learn and apply it to how we work.”
Redefining the way work is done
Workshed not only provides startups and diverse groups of freelancers with a conducive space to work, but also it is provides a unique community to rub shoulders with like minded people. “We want to create an ecosystem that helps members achieve their dreams and create value,” explained Richard. “In the long run, we are trying to retell the way work is done; trying to recreate the way people perceive work in Ghana. Starting a business can be a lonely walk, but you don’t need do it alone. And that’s one of the benefits that we give to people in this space.”
For the Richard and Andrew, they hope to impact the entrepreneurial landscape not only in Ghana, but in Africa. “Workshed positions us to conquer Africa, and Ghana is definitely the first step,” said Andrew. “And for charting this path as an entrepreneur I look forward to developing and starting other ideas that would impact the youth and give credence to- Start with what you have– a quote I picked from Dr. Ansah’s Leadership 4 class at Ashesi.”