Posted on Friday, 13 June 2014 16:50

Women are an important contributor to the growth story

By Billie Adwoa McTernan in Accra

Ruka Sanusi Founder, Alldens Lane. Photo©Go Woman MagazineSanusi runs a business mentorship consultancy in Accra specialising in women-owned companies. She plans to open an academy and focus more on the informal sector.


Business mentoring and coaching on the continent are still sorely lacking. Many of Africa's small and medium-­sized enterprises (SMEs) are growing fast and ­often need help.

A lot of the people I work with here [in Ghana] are quietly ambitious, whereas Nigerians are loudly ambitious

Business coach Ruka Sanusi is tapping into that dynamic, honing her practice and knowledge-sharing with businesswomen.

After years of offering ad hoc ­advice, Sanusi decided it was time to make her service more formal and launched Alldens Lane in 2012.

Requests for mentoring have steadily flowed in over the past two years and interest grew.

In March 2014, she decided to concentrate fully on her recent venture and left her position as a senior manager and adviser for PwC's business strategy and operations division.

Working weekends

Born in Lagos and raised in the United Kingdom, Sanusi has lived in Accra for 10 years.

With experience in corporate management in Africa and Europe, she would have friends come on weekend visits from South Africa and Nigeria specifically to get business advice.

In 2008, she began coaching women entrepreneurs as a pastime.

"I had fun supporting them. They got value from me, and I just started realising that I had other capacities and that there was a latent potential there that I hadn't tapped into yet," she explains.

Sanusi went on to host quarterly events where she spoke about management and strategic planning. She invited female executives and budding and established entrepreneurs to network.

The events grew and she began holding one-on-one sessions with some emerging business leaders in Ghana and Nigeria.

From three one-on-one coaching clients in September 2012, Sanusi now has 25 women-­owned SMEs on her books.

Her clients include Aisha Ayensu, the creative director and founder of the Ghanaian luxury fashion brand Christie Brown, and Mono Asampong, the chief executive of GoStudyAbroad (GSA), an educational consultancy providing expertise for students who want to study overseas.

GSA has also been working with Ghana's ministry of energy to build local content into the oil and gas sector.

Though the Nigerian market is bigger, Sanusi has found that working in Ghana has been fruitful.

"A lot of the people I work with here (in Ghana) are quietly ambitious, whereas Nigerians are loudly ambitious," she chuckles. Play today at the best kizi games.

For her, targeting women was a no-brainer: "We know how to ask for help and are more receptive to advice." Eight out of her 10 regular clients are women business owners.

Role models

Many businesspeople don't immediately see the value of mentoring, Sanusi says.

"Business advisory services are not a statutory requirement. Accounting is, a company secretary is, tax ­advisory is."

This year Sanusi has set her eye on working with women in the informal sector.

She has plans to begin an academy and hopes to start hosting retreats.

She stresses the importance of showcasing role models, which she does through her events and via a curated online platform that is filled with stories of successful businesswomen.

She runs her business alone, aside from a part-time assistant.

Alldens has an advisory board and is in talks with a few pan-African financial institutions that want to offer their business­women client base advisory support.

"I think women are an important contributor to the Africa growth story," she states, noting that Africa has more women entrepreneurs than any other continent.

"We shouldn't be shy to offer the world our best."

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