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Yaw Duffour Awuah: lending for education in Ghana

Friday, April 12th, 2013 by Raluca Besliu

Yaw Duffour Awuah, a 21-year-old Ghanaian, is the creator of Student Aid Plus, a financial services company providing financial literacy education as well as a savings and loan program helping students to cover various school-related expenses.

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At the age of 16, while he was in a boarding school, Yaw realized that many of his classmates that lived far away were unable to travel back home, because they lacked the funds. He immediately saw an opportunity, which he decided to seize. Bringing together a small group of friends, who became his business partners and from whom he pooled capital, he created a company, Apex Loans, providing small loans to student borrowers with interests.

The young entrepreneur also came to realize that most students missed exams due to their inability to pay their fees and had to repeat classes, Yaw decided to add fee loans as well. In order to mark the service expansion and the new educational support dimension, he also decided to change the name of his organization, from Apex Loans to Student Aid Plus.

Yaw’s company also started offering financial literacy education to high-school students.  The financial literacy sessions are held by professionals and around one hundred student volunteers.

The company is quite successful. While it still operates in one school, it currently has 55 shareholders receiving dividends based on their shareholding in the business. At the same time, Yaw’s business has adopted a system relying on adult guarantors, which has allowed its default rate to be 0%.

In 2010, the young entrepreneur’s business won the JA Company of the year 2010 and the Barclays Award for innovation and creativity. Yaw also represented Ghana at the 2010 Africa Region Junior Achievement Company of the Year Competition held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Moreover, in 2012, Yaw was selected as the second runner-up for the Anzisha Prize, celebrating young African entrepreneurs. He receiving $10,000 to promote his business. The young Ghanaian, who is currently studying Telecommunication Engineering at the Ghana Telecom University College, plans to use the funds to expand his business into other high-schools as well as to provide more financial services catering to young people. In terms of his long-term goals, Yaw aims to launch a business, which he entitles the African Business Capital Fund, which will provide young entrepreneurs across Africa access to funds and managerial support for their startup business ventures.

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