October 29, 2019
For as long as he can remember, Patrick Quantson ’05 has always wanted to run his own business. And by his second year at Ashesi in 2003, he had already registered two companies.
However, neither business survived beyond his Ashesi days.
“We tried to take advantage of those early days of the internet age in Ghana,” Patrick explains. “We started with early-stage multimedia services. However, the environment was not conducive, and at that time we were ill-prepared to see it through.”
After graduating from Ashesi in 2005, Patrick went into banking still believing that the internet was going to be a changemaker for many industries. Starting his career in e-commerce banking, and transitioning into digital banking, Patrick now heads Digital Transformation for Stanbic Bank in Ghana.
And though he is not necessarily running his own business, Patrick is now one of the biggest contributors to Ghana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. In Stanbic Bank Ghana, Patrick is overseeing a major push to develop a system of resources for entrepreneurs across the country to build and sustain growth for their businesses.
“Some 16 years ago when I wanted to start my own company, there were not many support systems for young entrepreneurs,” shared Patrick, who is the Supervising Executive the Stanbic Business Incubator in Accra. “Many growing businesses today are just a mentor, or business connection, away from making a significant impact. And that’s what we are providing at the Stanbic Incubator. We give entrepreneurs a pathway to market, provide them with a network of resources and provide advisory services that they often can’t afford early on.”
Since its inception over four years ago, the Incubator has helped train some 3,000 young people in a variety of skill areas across the country, while providing support for nearly 400 businesses.
However, Patrick’s role at the Stanbic Incubator is only a part of his overall work. Since joining the bank some eight years ago, Patrick has worked in multiple technology roles; and now as the Head of Digital Transformation, he is helping the bank build digital models around customer services. The combination of both roles allows him to maintain his passion for both technology and entrepreneurship, which Stanbic Bank is also championing.
“I tend to think of working in the Incubator as heart work,” he says. “Thankfully, we have a fantastic team that runs the place, so I only need to provide strategic influence. We are very clear at Stanbic that the way to transform ourselves is by going digital and translating client experiences in the same way. The Incubator also allows us to prepare the bank to be future-fit; to serve an emerging group of customers who are looking for more than just banking services. Our goal is to be a financial institution in tune with what is happening in our community, so we are better positioned to drive growth within it.”
As a member of Ashesi’s pioneer graduating class, Patrick also volunteers his leadership experiences to Ashesi; and is actively involved with supporting his alma mater’s commitment to entrepreneurship. He serves on the Governing Council of the Ashesi Enterprise Fund, which works with a team of faculty and staff to develop student entrepreneurial ideas and business models.
“I believe that the Enterprise Fund provides a real way of really hitting the road with entrepreneurship as a student at Ashesi,” Patrick explains. “For a lot of young people in entrepreneurship, having a safe place to fail fast is critical, and the Enterprise Fund does that. It is another window to help younger people, which is now what I have made my life’s work. Combining my commitments at Ashesi, with my work at the Incubator, is one long spectrum of help that I’m hoping to give to young entrepreneurs.”
As the world continues to evolve as a global village, Patrick believes Ghana can take advantage of advancements to help position the continent as an active player.
“In the long term, I’ll continue to work on how we can use technology to make a difference,” he shared. “Because Africa’s problems require that we take a radical look at how we’re applying technology to bring us the efficiencies and comforts we need. I want to play increasingly profound roles in helping use tech to solve some of our problems, and helping to establish businesses from Ghana serving all of Africa. Hopefully, we’ll see Ghana becoming home to some of the world’s biggest start-ups.”
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