18 May Solving the Smock, Kaftan Laundry Problem
Bernard Wayne is an AVI fellow and the founder of Speeders Laundry, which exists to provide efficient, reliable and professional laundry services to busy working urban dwellers and in the process, empowers the women they work with to take charge of their own life.
Smocks and kaftans are some of the most common attires worn by the men in the Tamale Metropolitan District. However, smocks are heavy and usually cannot be washed by hand, requiring washing machines. Kaftans on the other hand, usually need starch spray during ironing otherwise they lose their textural quality.
Speeders Laundry exists to provide quality laundry services to the general public (especially men) who need assistance with washing and ironing their clothing and other washable materials. Their services include but are not limited to washing, drying, ironing, folding and packaging and self collection or doorstep delivery.
The AVI entrepreneur “would like to use Speeders Laundry to reduce poverty and unemployment”, using “biweekly meetings to inspire, inform and challenge all team members on matters” pertaining “saving, how to manage a business, entrepreneurship” and more.
Despite his efforts, Bernard found himself asking if Speeders Laundry was the biggest challenge he could handle:
“I have found myself thinking that I could have done something more sophisticated than washing and ironing clothes. Another challenge that overwhelms me is how best I can empower my workers. I see their contributions and their daily sacrifices and I want to help make their lives more comfortable.”
In the future, the young entrepreneur hopes to “invest more in automation and water management.” “I joined the AVI so that I could have a blueprint for my business in order to be able to replicate” business ideas “wherever and whenever”.
Bernard’s “pragmatic” mentor, Solomon Yelipoie is the current CEO of Minuteman Facilities Management, boasting a specialised knowledge of global business and sustainability entrepreneurship.
“My mentor advises me to focus on the most important things in the business. He helped me to understand this using the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule. That advice is helping me to make some good progress over here. He is very helpful and resourceful. He is very responsive and has no limits regarding the times I can reach out to him.”
On the progress of his work with his mentee, the AVI mentor stated that:
“Working with my mentee I can say is progressing quite well so far. My knowledge and experience in the line of his business affords me the opportunity to share some valuable knowledge that I believe has already yielded some positive results. Our relationship has been very cordial and productive. Bernard has shown commitment to learn and grow his business and I’m very excited to be his mentor.
He also shared that his “motivation” to be a mentor “stems from” his “natural inclination to share” his “knowledge and experiences with people (especially the youth) in the bid to push them to realize their full potential.”
“I love to encourage and help the people around me discover their potential and help them pursue them anyway I can. Mentoring Bernard is very much something I enjoy doing and would be very glad to see my contribution to his business result in great success.
He chose the AVI over similar programmes because he believes that “Ashesi University over the years has proven to be consistent with their commitment in training ethical entrepreneurial leadership in Africa” and “this mission strongly resonates” with his “own personal values.”