One of the greatest challenges facing business organizations in developing economies, such as Ghana’s, is the comfort and convenience of acquiring and or owning office space.
Even for the big multinational organizations with big purses, the hustle associated with acquiring office accommodation is often a cumbersome task due to the terms and legalities associated with office space rental.
Talk of the “not-less-than one year” lease terms, to the large empty space of most available offices (often unfurnished), which leaves up and coming entrepreneurs gasping for breath. The high interest rates on loan facilities is most often the biggest turn off for most Ghanaian entrepreneurs since it usually leaves a heavy toll on their purses.
One of the major reasons, up and coming Ghanaian entrepreneurs are often not considered for the big deals and bigger business opportunities is often due to the fact that they have no professional business address and office space; a necessity they often cannot afford.
It is on this back bone that AveryScott, a cost-effective office space provider, is geared to revolutionize the office rental landscape in Ghana. With its thirteen unit office complex located in east Legon, AveryScott provides fully fitted/furnished office accommodation with the most affordable and flexible terms of payment to Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
Speaking to Business Day, Pamela Sarkodee – Chief Executive Officer of AveryScott – explains why in developing economies, there is a disconnect between entrepreneurship and economic growth with regards to ICT penetration, education and access to finance.
She opined that the three areas, though essential to the growth of the economy, are often not in sync with entrepreneurship in developing economies and as such, the expected economic growth is often missing.
These defects, she says, is what AveryScott addresses with its professional, yet affordable office space which is tailored to suit entrepreneurs in a developing country like Ghana.
What is AveryScott all about?
The concept of AveryScott is to provide affordable office accommodation for newly established, up and coming service sector entrepreneurs. It’s built on the back of promoting entrepreneurship such that it can contribute to the economic growth of Ghana.
Research findings show that entrepreneurship for advanced countries is the driver of economic growth for transition and developed economies.
However you will find that this is not the case for developing economies. Once you take China out of the set, there’s a divergence in the opposite direction. So the general idea that the world economy is driven by entrepreneurship is only true for the advanced countries.
What makes AveryScott different from other office rental services?
AveryScott provides affordable and flexible office space so u can come in and rent that one office if that’s all you need. If you need it for a week, month or six months just to try it out, we can give it to you. It’s that flexible so it’s really up to the entrepreneur. The social impact that this seeks to tackle is to enable the entrepreneur to dedicate funds where it is most pressing. So instead of having their money sucked into a two year lease agreement with the landlord, AveryScott leaves the entrepreneur with that extra cash to inject into their business.
With AveryScott, we are not asking you to give us two years down payment upfront. No. If you are able to pay for a week, a week is what you pay for. We just want to make you financially flexible. That way, instead of paying for two years, you can pay for two months as opposed to going for an empty office space which comes with payment of utility bills.
What does an entrepreneur stand to benefit by renting your office space.
An entrepreneur gets a fully furnished office with a 24/7 uninterrupted internet service that comes with a backup such that when one is down the other is up. Another benefit is that you get to surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs to spur ideas, brainstorm and advice each other for your business development.
As part of the package, our office facilities are fully staffed with two secretaries, IT technician, 24 hour security, 24 hour access to your office regardless of day, photocopiers and printers all at the disposal of entrepreneurs.
There’s also full time cleaning services, free parking, door to door mail service (freedom to use AveryScott’s business address and location to receive mails), fixed phone lines and conference room equipped with projector and smart tv for video conferencing.
Aside these packages, the entrepreneur doesn’t pay utility bills or internet bills. All the entrepreneur needs is a laptop or desktop and partners to occupy the office and they are good to go.
Entrepreneurs who rent our office space basically have access to our professional office environment at a fraction of the cost and at a flexible rental payment.
Tell us about the office spaces available at AveryScott.
Depending on your budget, you can choose between the standard which is our smallest unit or the co-shared which houses three occupants. It is at a higher discount because it is ideal for an assistant or someone who is relocating to Ghana and wants to try out something with regards to starting a business and isn’t sure about the economy. They can just come, get a place temporarily just to see how things go. So with regards to a tight budget, you have the co-shared facility to consider.
If you want a more professional office, you can go for the executive suite. That one comes with two work stations, one executive and one standard. It has an en suite toilet as well so you have your privacy and you don’t have to share the general wash room area and there’s also the reception area and the guest lounge for occupants.
The facility also has an in-house general manager who makes sure that everything is functioning. Regardless of the duration that an entrepreneur rents an office space with us, they enjoy all the facilities and services that AveryScott offers.
Our conference facility is also open to the general public.
What is the capacity of your facility?
There are thirteen units in total of which about eight can fit more than two occupants. So in total I’d say the facility can fit about twenty six to thirty people.
How long has AveryScott been in existence?
AveryScott has been in the conception stage for six months but it has been launched just this February. So we are still in the early phase of this establishment.
How many occupants do you currently have?
We are currently running at twenty percent (20%) capacity so it is still early days. So far the interests we have had has come from people in consultancy, public relations, advertising, real estate, oil and gas and finance as well.
This is actually our first pilot project so we hope to scale depending on the success of this project. In subsequent projects, we hope to scale to cantonments-labone area and then subsequently to the airport, ridge and hopefully across Ghana in the next five years.
Who is the brain behind AveryScott and what was the purpose for its establishment?
AveryScott is endorsed by Enviu; a venture capitalist /consultancy firm in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. I had some consultancy experience there while I was writing my master thesis on the contribution of entrepreneurship towards economic growth. So having that first-hand view of what entrepreneurship is outside of Ghana, I pitched the idea based on the findings of my master thesis which suggested that entrepreneurship does contribute to economic growth.
In developing economies, the majority of entrepreneurs just want to eat. It is often, we have to do something otherwise we will be in abject poverty. So they go and open their container store somewhere and employ a few people. Then they upgrade from a container store to an actual shop and once they reach that point, growth stops since they can now fend for themselves and their families. So they usually don’t think of how they are going to make an empire out of the idea. This is why I came up with AveryScott.
Initially it was to function as an incubator but later became a commercial entity for the purposes of equipping sustainability in entrepreneurial businesses.
Any final words to entrepreneurs out there?
Your novel idea should not be on the back burner because you are waiting for “x” amount of money or “xyz” budget. Now you have the flexibility of a fully fitted fully functional environment and professional setting to make that dream a reality. With AveryScott now is the time to execute that idea.