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Business News Sat, 16 Apr 2022

How Charles Antwi-Boahen started the biggest indigenous electronics company in Ghana

Many Ghanaians are quite familiar with the retail brand Kab-Fam Ghana. The company sells multiple electronic devices and household items and it is arguably one of the giants in the electronics retail sector in the West African country.

Its founder, Charles Antwi-Boahen, said starting Kab-Fam Ghana was initially not in his scheme of things. He worked as a salesman in a now-defunct central air-conditioning system retail company. While there, customers put in requests for split unit air conditioners which the company didn’t have. So he went to Electroland, a distributor of electronic brands in Ghana, to see what it could offer.

“I saw the margins on its products and realised we could do business. I would refer buyers to Electroland and was paid a commission. The founder recognized the potential and gave me US$60,000 to start my own retail business,” he told HowWeMadeItInAfrica.

When Antwi-Boahen started his retail business, there were leading players in the sector he was seeking to dominate. He was relatively unknown but his skill in online marketing came in handy. He had advertised on Google Trader for the company he worked for. He decided to repeat that and made big “noise” online to encourage buyers. At the time, he did not have a showroom and he sourced his supplies from Electroland. He continued to source his supplies from Electroland until he had a decent turnover before he registered Kab-Fam in 2013.

“In 2014, I rented my first shop from the $60,000 I got as a soft loan, which I paid off over five years. The following year, a power crisis in Ghana set us back. People were not buying and the business went down drastically,” he said.

However, he bounced back in 2016 and opened a new branch in Ghana’s second-largest city, Kumasi. From there, he expanded to 10 additional locations within five years by reinvesting his profit. According to him, Kab-Fam has opened four new stores this year and is working on the fifth, bringing the number to 16. Kab-Fam is now described as the biggest indigenous electronics company in Ghana.

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Antwi-Boahen still works with Electroland as the company’s sole supplier. Electroland controls 50% of Ghana’s electronics and home appliances market, said Antwi-Boahen, adding that Kab-Fam is its number one retail partner.

“Some manufacturers have approached me directly but what the local supplier is giving us is way better. I value relationships. Unless someone is bringing in something different, there is no need to look elsewhere for now,” he said.

The road to establishing Kab-Fam and making it a household name in Ghana was not without challenges. Antwi-Boahen said one of his major hurdles has been “human resources”.

“I have to watch everybody and it is not easy because people run the systems. That has been my biggest challenge as an executive. The company now has stringent systems in place to mitigate losses,” he explained.

On the next big move for his company, the businessman noted that he will not rush into anything even though he wants to capture 50% of the market before expanding outside of Ghana.

Recently, Antwi-Boahen was adjudged Outstanding Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2020 at the 11th Ghana Entrepreneur and Corporate Executive Awards. He is also a graduate of Ghana’s prestigious University of Ghana.
Source: face2faceafrica.com