Ghanaian entrepreneur, Richard Owusu-Poku, and owner of Linklaters is a prime example of a successful fuel retailer in Ghana. Richard currently manages five out of six Shell filling stations in Koforidua, in the Eastern Region of Ghana. And of the five petrol stations he runs, he owns and operates two while managing the other three on behalf of Vivo Energy, which distributes Shell products in the country.
Inspired by the environment he grew up in, Richard entered the fuel retail business a decade ago as a retailer and ran two stations for Shell Ghana in the Koforidua municipality. After two years, his locality was chosen as a training centre for Shell, and Richard was tasked with training other retailers operating other Shell stations from various parts of the country. Then in early 2011, he realised his vision of opening his own Shell franchise petrol station and began exploring the possibilities.
But as with many start-up businesses, capital financing was a big challenge and threatened to derail his dream:
“I contacted several banks in the country, all of which turned my applications down because I didn’t have collateral to secure a loan. And around the time I had lost all hope, I was introduced to GroFin Ghana. Fortunately for me, GroFin took keen interest in my business and structured a facility for me. And that’s how I got to own my first filling station”
GroFin considered the entrepreneur’s viability and discovered that they were dealing with an extremely disciplined youth who displayed a good understanding of his business. Richard also had enormous drive to succeed and wanted to make a real impact in the local community.
So in 2011, GroFin provided the funding of US$ 435,578 to allow the entrepreneur to set up his fuel station, and further supported him with his procurement process and assisted him through business formalisation, so as to be in compliance with all local statutory requirements.
Today, Linklaters continues to exceed its projected revenues and tops all the other stations since its opening. Richard has also fulfilled his promise of linking his success back to the community. He has created 25 new jobs through opening the service station, nine of which are held by women. He has also invested in the education of 18 of his staff members, who are pursuing degrees in economics, business management, teaching and development studies.