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Freddie Sam, IBAG’s Personality for January 2020

What better way to commence the business year of 2020 than with a Ghanaian success story from one of IBAG’s oldest members!

Frederick Sam, affectionately called Freddie, is a natural entrepreneur. Currently 56, Freddie ventured into the business realm at 23years old when he founded Ederick Limited; distributors of Whirlpool appliances in Ghana. Unlike his 12 siblings who pursued professional careers in medicine, IT, engineering, law etc; Freddie never aspired to university education; instead, for three decades, he has focused on and successfully nurtured Ederick Limited into a prominent wholly-Ghanaian-owned business.

In 1987, the appliances industry in Ghana was in its infancy; homes depended less on household appliances. Moreover, the strict import licensing regime in the 1970s and 80s hindered import businesses. Fast forward to 33 years later, today, the appliance industry is a fierce competitive arena with many players. Despite these challenges, Freddie has continued to propel Ederick to rub shoulders with the giants in the industry. In 2015, Freddie extended his business interests and partnered with a business associate to set up Freddie Jordan Oil Company Ltd.

Freddie strongly believes in destiny and is convinced that there are no coincidences in life. His favourite Bible quote is: “man proposes, but God disposes”. He subscribes to tapping into other brilliant minds for ideas to supplement his own in order to progress in life. Indeed, Freddie considers himself among the category of people who weren’t taught but learned enough to write the training books. In his words, “people are running highly successful businesses without any formal certification, just like the market women at Makola market and the spare parts dealers at Okaishie.” According to him, a common quality shared by successful business people is their ability to continuously learn and quickly adapt on the go. Freddie strongly advocates one essential practice for successful business operations: meticulous archiving of all business transactions (proper book keeping). In the end, it was his flawless records that exonerated him from a Serious Fraud Office’s investigations.

Freddie also has some ideas for mechanizing and industrializing Ghana, which he believes will strengthen the foundation of Ghana’s economy. Ghana can drive its industrialization agenda by identifying the most lucrative sectors and planning long term investment strategies to achieve them. Taking a cue from the Volkswagen and Toyota deal negotiated by the Government of Ghana; the same module can be applied to make Ghana the assembly hub and the main supplier of home appliances in the West African sub region. Then, progressively pivot into manufacturing through a comprehensive industrialization agenda based totally on merit. This, he believes, is the key to enhancing skills training, creating opportunities and, consequently, alleviating poverty. Based on this premise, he lauds the One District One Factory initiative by the Government of Ghana. However, he believes government needs to invest much more in capacity building to create the next generation of IT savvy workforce to meet the needs of a digitalized economy.

To the youth who are still trying to figure out which career to pursue, Freddie advises them to allow their passion to drive this decision. “Assess yourself, know where your interest lies and pursue it. Create your own niche, believe in it and work towards it.” Freddie has three children whom he has guided with these principles: a 23 year old son currently working with Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited; a 21 year old daughter studying in the United States, and another 13 year old daughter at the Ghana International School.

Italian Business Association Ghana (IBAG)

Ederick has a strong connection with Comerio Varesi in Italy where the headquarters of Whirlpool Europe, Middle East and Africa operations is located. Freddie also has some notable investments in Italy, specifically in the hotelier, freight forwarding and shipping industries.

As one of the oldest members of IBAG, he believes that all members must commit and pool their strengths together and grow the Association. The business network and lessons he has acquired have proven invaluable to his business and thus he feels motivated to play his part to help the Association realize its vision of strengthening the Italo-Ghanaian business relations.

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