Business News of Mon, 17 Jul 20176
Meet Richard Addison: From energy, technology, drilling and haulage services to rice Farming
Richard Addison is the CEO of Kent Investment, a multi-layered firm that currently holds investments in the fields of Agriculture (Kent Farms), haulage services (ARE Haulage Services), an IT/information system and management company (K.SIS) and recently acquired major stake in a Digital Graphics and Advertising company (Beyound Graphics).
"Mostly my interest to start up different businesses really got off in 2010, my goal as an investor is to attain high competitiveness and strive to find the cutting edge to pioneer new fronts in various industries I have interest in”.
Richard grew up in Takoradi and spent some of his formative years in the U.K. It provided him with a learning ground for business as during weekends and holidays he found himself going round with his father – the renowned Investor and Entrepreneur Dr. JA Addison on some of his business dealings and business related social events.
From this early age, Richard’s family had instilled in him a humanitarian spirit which led to the creation of The Richard Addison Foundation (TRAF), a non-profit organization which focuses on projects ranging from farming, provision of water and renovation of schools for deprived communities which he has been doing for the past ten years. “I always have this thing about people around me smiling. I don’t smile a lot and so I like people around me to smile for me. The look of reprieve and appreciation on people’s faces when you do stuff for them is what drives me. While I believe in development through market-based solutions, I do also believe that I have a moral responsibility as a privileged African to give back,” says Richard. "In the absence of government action, it is incumbent on non-profit organizations to fill the void."
Personally, I have a goal to see people do well or better, see Ghana emerge as one of the greatest countries in Africa, reaching the highest attainable recognition on the world business stage."
Richard made his way from Chapel Hill School, Mfantsipim School, Blundell’s School in Tiverton Devon and thence to Kingston University all in the UK, graduated with a degree in Economics in 2004.
"I’m most excited and passionate about technology and how it can improve lives. I’m also passionate about Arsenal Football Club, rugby, farming, family and people’s wellbeing generally.
“From the very onset, I have been highly opportunistic but in obvious positive ways," he says. "Opportunity, opportunity, and opportunity; we all set out to pursue various things in life but the most successful people in life are the ones that respond to opportunity when it comes calling. These calls come in various ways and times; you might be broke, incapable and not in your strongest of positions, when you align yourself with the right people, a lot can be attained.”
So far, Richard and Kent Investments have focused on agriculture, broadcasting, drilling and haulage services and technology, which are ventures that he believes can turn a profit while transforming lives – essential to an African context.
In farming, Richard and his team have started rice farms in Ghana, which they hope to expand into other rice growing areas in Africa, as well investing in poultry farming. A 30-acre rice farm he started in the Shama District in 2014 employs over 60 locals from land preparation, planting, harvesting and milling to transporting produce to the market.
“I wanted to own a big farm and thinking about how much Ghana and Africa are spending on rice imports alone, I thought ‘Let me take ten percent of that, yes a bit silly and over ambitious,” says Richard. I went ahead to purchase 30 acres of land to peruse my ambitious dream without knowing so much about Agric and for that much rice farming. "I lost all the investment and had to go back to the drawing board. After consultation and careful planning, considering loses from the previous year, 2016 was good and we managed to reap a harvest of 12 acres plus a lot of experience, hopefully we will increase the yield this year.
My vision is to see more young people come together and enter into start-ups to grow Ghana and Africa as a whole.
It is difficult, but I think when we unite as like-minded people and also seek the favour of God, a lot can be achieved.
“We are not poor as a nation or continent, we are just not coming together to see the light and our abilities”