Saturday, 4 June 2011

Engineer and Entrepreneur: One in the same?

On Thursday, I interviewed a graduating student named Martha. She is a remarkable student, with so much potential insight and knowledge! We spoke about the Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship project she did last year, as well as entrepreneurship in general. It was a pleasure talking with her. Martha defines an entrepreneur as someone who identifies problems and finds solutions to those problems. That’s funny… it’s exactly how I define an engineer. And you may be thinking, “Ha! No way! Entrepreneurs are business focused, and engineers are design focused! C’mon, what are you saying!”

Alright…I know how it looks. And don’t worry; I’m not becoming a Commie or anything.

Engineering and entrepreneurship branch off from the same root: Innovation. That’s right! Entrepreneurs create innovative businesses and engineers create innovative designs.

At the college where I am working, there is a huge focus on entrepreneurship. The way I see it, agribusiness is going to have an immensely positive impact on Ghana in the future. As young people develop their own businesses, those strengthening the economy and created jobs, things will begin to change. Innovation in entrepreneurship is to Ghana, what engineering is to Canada.

“Whoa! Daniela, seriously! You are making a pretty critical statement here, and you’re pretty biased, don’t you think?!!” Here’s what I am thinking: the problems that need to be addressed in Canada are very different from the problems that need to be addressed in Ghana. Right now, Ghana has few jobs to go around, and many young people entering the work force. Also, there needs to be a shift from subsistence agriculture, to a more profit making attitude. In Canada, although we also have serious issues with poverty, the way we must go about addressing it is different. What I am thinking is new systems and products that will become not only less expensive, but better for the environment. A friend of mine here at the college, who is the out-going president of the UNESCO chapter, told me yesterday that developed nations are responsible for 80% of pollution. The thing is, we all share the same atmosphere, whether you’re in Canada, Ghana or Antarctica. In Canada, engineers will be responsible for a new way of life. I’m thinking new fuel, new cars, new agriculture and food processing, new technology, for the betterment of all people.

Right now, whether you are in business or in engineering, you have to be socially-minded. There are no two ways about it. You must be innovative, while considering people and the environment. Ask someone in the field. To be successful, you must think globally.

So, the moral of the story is, depending on the context in which you are speaking, engineers and entrepreneurs are pretty similar. The skills are totally transferrable. Engineers need the soft skills entrepreneurs have, and entrepreneurs benefit greatly from technical knowledge.


This one is much more measurable (and easier) than yesterday’s!
Behold! Trivia questions! First person to get back to me with all the correct answers will receive a ballin’ souvenir upon my return to the Great White North.

1) What is Ghana’s capital city?

2)  What is Ghana’s largest man-made lake?

3) What does “Ghana” mean?

4)  Name 3 of Ghana's export commodities.

5) Name Ghana's number one import partner.

6)   How many times have Ghana Black Stars won the African Cup of Nations?

7) When was Ghana's Independence Day?

Later days,


  1. 1)Accra
    2)Lake Volta (apparently largest man-made lake in world!)
    3)Warrior King?
    4)Cocoa beans, cut diamonds, and goal
    6)4 times (in 1963, 1965, 1978, and 1982)
    7)March 6, 1957

    Not too sure that these are all right, but regardless, thanks for this challenge - I learned a lot! Did you learn all these since arriving in Ghana or before?

    Still working on your last one - not quite as easy!

  2. DING DING DING DING DING! We have a winner!

    For number 5, another acceptable answer in China (I found conflicting info)

    I actually learned most of these in the airport... a friend of mine wrote me a plane letter with some trivia. :)

    Way to be! You are on the ball!

    Thanks Naomi! You have a prize coming your way!