Team Arhinarmah have done it again ladies and gentlemen! As I said in last week’s post, the interview with Anna Boettcha, Founder of Lov’edu Living, we are looking to do more and more featured interviews with the names of note in the African Diaspora. In the recent weeks I was lucky enough to correspond with none other than Dentaa Amoateng. You may have heard of her work with the GUBA awards (Ghana UK Based Achievements), as well as multiple acting roles, presenting, and musical achievements. She is the founder of GUBA, working to highlight and celebrate excellence within Ghanaian achievements, both at home, and within the British Diaspora.
Dentaa has also founded the GUBA foundation, which aims to provide awareness of autism within the African community and how help can be reached. She has been awarded many honours, including Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year, in the Future 100 Awards (2011), and Organiser of the Year at the Women4Africa Awards (2014), amongst others. Ever Busy, Dentaa tells us of what her inspirations where for initiating GUBA, motherhood, and exciting dealings with the FIFA organisation. So, Dentaa, What was the catalyst for founding the GUBA awards?
“My inspiration came from the amazing work being done by people within the British Ghanaian community. Honourable Ghanaians like Lord Paul Boateng, MP Adam Afriyie and Hugh Quarshie are examples of hard working individuals who are putting Ghana on the map. There was also a six year old, Eliza-joy, who at that tender age had written two books! These great Ghanaians serve as role models for us all. That is what inspired me to use GUBA as a platform to acknowledge these wonderful people, and to shine the spotlight on a lot of hidden talents. Also, after realising that there are many talented and successful Ghanaians in Britain who are positively contributing to the community, and improving the relationships between the two countries, an organisation like GUBA was definitely needed.”
Why do you think it’s so important to celebrate Ghanaian achievements, specifically?
“As long as there are Ghanaians putting their mark on their respective industries, GUBA will be there to recognise them. The GUBA Awards are here to inspire the next generation to aim higher and achieve beyond their expectations. It is to say to the people that they are doing well, we see you, and recognise your achievements. This is a platform to say we are Ghanaians, and this is what we have done! we needed to celebrate their hard work. Essentially, it is a celebration of us, our impact, and where we come from.”
What does it mean to you to have won the African Woman in Europe award?
“I was honoured, humbled, and delighted in equal measures to have won the prestigious 2013 AWE Award. Since their formation in 2011, the AWEs have helped empower African women living in Europe and significantly raised awareness of the vast contribution they make to their native, and adoptive homelands. The awards therefore, reflect a positive image of the African woman as intelligent, hard-working, multi-tasking, ambitious, and socially aware. I am proud to live up to those ideals and serve as a role model for African women everywhere.”
“It was truly an honour to have met FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, and even more so since I was there on behalf of the Arthur Wharton Foundation. Being the first black professional footballer, Ghanaian Arthur Wharton paved the way for black footballers and a multicultural game that now exists due to his contributions. It was a fantastic opportunity to have been chosen to represent the statue to FIFA as a representative of Ghana. Arthur Wharton has finally gotten international recognition, which gladdens my heart.
GUBA’s proudest achievement to date is being able to fulfil our aim of highlighting and rewarding successful Ghanaians all over the world. To be recognised and endorsed by the likes of Lord Paul Boateng, Mr and Mrs Tony Blair, Mayor Boris Johnson, the Ghana High Commissioner, and the British High Commission, amongst many others is a great achievement for us.”
Who do you think of as your most powerful inlufences?
“I look up to my husband, who has been a huge inspiration to me, and a rock on which I have built my success. I also admire strong, black women like Oprah Winfrey and others. Finally though, my children are the ones who motivate me to work harder.”
Is there anyone you have worked with recently that people should look out for, particularly those making waves within the Diaspora?
“Affia Bioh, the CEO of Chop Pot is the most recent I have worked with. What Affia has done is essentially captured authentic Ghanaian flavours and dishes into ‘Chop Pots’ and has managed to get it into Selfridges where it is available to purchase. She has recently also set up a stall at the O2 centre in Finchley Road.
She is making Ghanaian food accessible to all; by getting products into Selfridges, Ghanaian food is being introduced to a demographic who otherwise would not have known of it. The uniqueness of the product also led to its nomination for the GUBA 2013 Small Emerging Business Award. The Chop Pot brand is steadily making waves within the diaspora.”
What would your advice be for any entrepreneurs who look up to you, of African heritage, or otherwise?
“I believe that nothing is impossible, and you can achieve anything if you have a vision and a strategy. I would encourage all young men and women who want to start their own business to plan accurately, be organised, proactive, brave, and more importantly, hardworking. They have to remember to courageously follow their dreams, regardless of the pitfalls along the way.”
You’re often busy with television, music, management and organisational work – what’s your advice on juggling a very heavy workload, given that you’re also a very hands-on mother?
“To me, it’s all about priorities. I find that when something is important to you, you make the time and make sure you do your best. My family always comes first to me, and since my projects are also important, I try to plan in a way whereby I give each task its deserved time. Planning and time management are extremely vital. I would advise others to be very mindful of their time and to start each day with a feasible plan.”
You seem to have achieved so much in your relatively short lifetime thus far. What’s next for you?
“in the next 5-10 years I hope GUBA will be an even high profile event, branching out to our UK counterparts. I would like to see GUBA help to further develop the Ghana Greenwich Meridian Link to help strengthen the already good relationship between the UK and Ghana, to our mutual benefit. I would also love to see the awards aired on UK mainstream TV and across Africa.”
Last but not least, how will you be celebrating the World Cup this year?
“This world cup has been extra special for me as I have become a core part of its organisation. I have been in Ghana for the last six months on behalf of the Ministry of Sports as the Head of Marketing. I have been seeking sponsorship from Corporate Ghana, to take the burden off of the central government in taking the Black Stars supporters to Brazil, and also promoting Ghana in Brazil (The New Ghana). The Ghanaian village in Brazil celebrates and promotes everything Ghanaian, including food, clothing and our culture. It is always my priority and passion to put Ghana out there on the map, so it really has been an exciting journey for me. We will be cheering on our wonderful Black Stars and hoping they make it far in the tournament. GUBA is always on the side of our wonderful players!”
As you can imagine, Dentaa and her wonderful team at GUBA are always busy, busy, busy with new and exciting projects, so a huge thank you to her and the team, on behalf of Arhinarmah, for taking the time to talk to us. I’m sure you’ve come across one of her many positive projects along the way, why not let us know through the usual platforms of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ whilst you keep an eye out for new developments here at Arhinarmah! AC