Derrydean Dadzie was exceptional. He wasn’t like the many university graduates during his time who went job hunting. He sought to set up business and to employ others.
An IT lover, he was used to working in IT firms and even before he graduated from Ashesi University College he had started his company with three other friends at age 24.
The IT firm he established with three co-founders in 2007, Dream Oval now employs 45 people and still looking forward to employing more.
Dadzie never missed any compelling internship opportunity while in school- most of which were unpaid.
“Although I wasn’t paid for all the internships, I worked my head off. Apart from gaining experience, I believe internships enable one to discover their capabilities, and the kind of sector one can fit in. I did a lot of internships from different sectors. On one of my internships in a bank, it didn’t take long for me to realise banking wasn’t for me and definitely not a field I would be working in.” says Dadzie.
The genesis of Dream Oval
At his last internship with an IT firm –Genesis Solutions, he felt rather a strong urge to establish his IT company. He was compelled to start the company partly because he discovered a gap around how people use technology to do things and he figured out he could do it better.
Asked about how he was able to establish his company at a time when most graduates were searching for jobs, he said, “My case was different because I had the chance to do a lot of things like training, internships, entrepreneurship, organizing events – and with such things you get the chance to meet and network with people who matter and who can direct you and guide you in terms of career choices.”
He however, noted that as a team they wanted to come out with something different in technology at that time so they focused mainly on business solutions to enable businesses become more efficient and have easy access to data.
Capital for business
Dadzie and his team started with human capital – the people involved and the mindset. Additionally, they decided among themselves to contribute GH¢200.00 each.
“That amount was a lot of money at that time. We were young and some couldn’t afford that so we didn’t really start with capital. It was the human factor and the passion that drives it,” he added.
I am yet to meet an antrepreneur who faced no challenges while starting their business. Like many start-ups, Dream Oval was not without difficulties at the initial stage but perseverance enabled it to sail through.
He and his co-founders did not have a lot of examples in the technology field to emmulate because at the time, not many tech companies existed.
Also, Ghanaians at the time were not as tech-savvy as today and for that matter didn’t see the need for the use of technology. There was also an issue of trust because people believed that only those from the Western countries could produce and work on issues bothering on technology.
“We also encountered people who didn’t believe in us and our products because we were young.
There were also internet issues: inaccessibility of internet and in cases where one gets access to internet, it was extremely slow and expensive,” Dadzie said.
“It is only when tech entrepreneurs are allowed to solve local problems that they would be successful. So we need to empower and encourage our local tech entrepreneurs to solve Ghana’s innumerable challenges. I don’t believe that being heavily dependent on foreign technology is the way to go.”
Is Dream Oval a forerunner when it comes to young tech entrepreneurs in Ghana?
“Yes I believe we started the journey and others are following. There may be others somewhere who might have started that we may not have heard of but we lit the candle that lighted other candles. For that I can say we are the pioneers when it comes to young people in tech entrepreneurship,” Dadzie said proudly.
Apparently, he had lost count of the awards he had received since the company’s inception. However, the most recent one he could remember was an award he took in Mauritius for sustainable leadership.
The focus of Dream Oval
Dream Oval focuses mainly on providing the kind of technology that will empower people to make smart decisions to grow their companies. They do that by providing businesses with bespoke software services and also by producing customised products that fit businesses.
On request, they build technologies for companies that many people can use without having to customize it, like their enterprise platforms which drive enterprise related services. The company also helps banks to make smooth transition from their legacy system unto a new generation technology.
The future of Dream Oval
Dream Oval hopes to move beyond the borders of Ghana and have business operations in a lot of African countries and around the continent. Dream Oval is also preparing to establish a transformative training system that will churn out amazing problem solvers in technology to meet the escalating demands of technological services in Ghana.
As busy as his schedule could be, Dadzie finds time here and there for Tae Kwon Do, which he enjoys very much. He is also a family man who loves to spend quality time with his family.
“It’s not only about money; money does not make you successful. Make sure you have a big vision and work towards that vision. You don’t always need money to start a business…all you need is the passion that drives you.
“Once you have an idea and there’s nothing to start with just get started, you will get people along the line to assist you. You should also try as much as possible to put your vision ahead of your harvest,” he advised.