No Ghanaian is oblivious of Zoomlion Ghana Limited; chiefly because it is the principal Organization in charge of waste disposal in the nation. Its workers are spread over the nation, cleaning and sanitizing the streets of Ghana. The bright mind behind this move? Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong, who was once upon a time, merely an exercise book vendor.
The 40-something year old aspired to piloting or marine engineering when he was growing up, but life happened to him and got in the way of his plans. After his Primary and Middle school education at the Teshie Nungua Preparatory School, he continued at the Royal Technical Institute at Nungua, a suburb of Accra. There, he studied for the City and Guilds of London Certificate, which he successfully completed in 1990, graduating with an Electrical Engineering Technician (Part II) certificate. Plans to pursue a Diploma programme at the Accra Polytechnic were not realised as his mother, a vendor of exercise books fell critically ill. Compelled to sustain her business while she recuperated, Joseph Siaw took over the day to day running of the little enterprise. To everyone’s amazement, the business grew in leaps and bounds under his management.
Joseph Siaw realised he had a magic touch and the acumen for business, and so did his father. Thereafter, there was no turning back. In 1997 Joseph Siaw reinvested the profits from his little venture, and assisted by his mother, they established a printing press called Jospong Printing Press in a small room at Jamestown, a suburb of Accra. Thus his entrepreneurial journey commenced.
The Jospong Printing Press grew to become the Jospong Group of Companies, the parent company of over 32 subsidiaries and counting. In the last couple of decades, the Jospong Group of Companies has grown tremendously and currently has 8 companies in other parts of Africa and the Middle East. Jospong Group of Companies currently represents 16 Chinese companies, 8 Indian companies and 5 European companies in Ghana. Its trade volume with these companies is worth US$4,360,000,000. The Group has generated over 100,000 jobs under various innovative collaborations with Governments and the private sector all over Africa. The Jospong Group currently operates in eleven industries, namely; Building & Construction, Printing & Publishing, ICT, Waste Management, Mining and Quarrying, Oil & Gas, Automobile, Plant & Equipment, Skill Development, Financial Services, Public Health & Safety, and Logistics & Supply Chain.
Zoomlion Ghana Limited one of his flagship subsidiaries, was founded in 2006 as the result of Joseph Siaw’s aspiration to see Ghana become a filth-free country in order to reduce the outbreak of diseases and prevent the incidence of floods. Joseph Siaw was able to introduce the tricycle concept in waste management which the Chinese had employed with success. “With this innovation, the company has controlled waste management in Ghana and offered jobs to as many as 3,000 Zoomlion staff and over 65,000 people working on various projects for sister companies,” he once disclosed. Under his judicious leadership, Zoomlion Ghana limited has excelled in its area of operations and has been awarded by several institutions including the Government of Ghana, the Charted Institute of Marketing, Times of Africa, India and a host of others.
A seasoned entrepreneur and industrialist, Joseph Siaw has received many awards and honours during the course of his career. Adjudged the Overall Best Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 during the Ghana Entrepreneur Awards, he was also a finalist in the esteemed Ernst & Young Awards for the Masters category. In November 2011, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology conferred an honorary doctorate degree in Literature on him for his contribution to waste management and higher education in Ghana. Joseph Siaw was named Ghana’s most influential industrialist for the year 2011, and was voted the fifth most respected CEO in Ghana in 2012. At the award ceremony, he stated that the secret behind his continuous success, was working very hard and bringing up new initiatives to complement old ones. At an interview with Junior Graphic, Joseph Siaw also stated, “It will interest you to know that the fear of the Lord, hard work, dedication, zeal and faithfulness to God and men are some of the values which have propelled me to greater heights.”
Married to Mrs Cynthia Araba Agyepong and blessed with five children, Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong is surely building an empire, the likes of which may yet rival the billion-dollar empires of Aliko Dangote and Mike Adenuga; some of Africa’s richest men.
Open your mind, don’t remain in the box; evidently opportunities abound. Find the right fit and be on your way.
© 2013, Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya. All rights reserved.