Ade Sawyerr has spent the past 40 years living and working in Britain as a management consultant. He came to study in Manchester but stayed on in Croydon where he has lived for the past 35 years. For over 35 years he worked out of an office in Brixton feeling the heartbeat of Black Britain and then in Croydon which now has the largest concentration of African Heritage and other ethnic minority people in the population. His work however has taken him the length of breadth of England serving and searching for the key to the integration of all communities.
In 1983, with two other colleagues, Maxwell Vardon and Maxine James, Ade set up Equinox Consulting as the first black management consultant firm. They specifically work on enterprise promotion, employment initiatives and community development projects targeted at black and minority ethnic communities. The firm provides consultancy, training, and research services to a variety of clients including the statutory sector and charitable trusts and community organisations.
At the heart of his work is community engagement and involvement strategies based on primary policy research to find sustainable strategies for communities as we solve problems to racial inequality. He has a rare insight into issues of race discrimination and disadvantage and the strategy for bringing these groups from the margins into the mainstream. But he focusses on the objectives of assignments using analytical approaches combined with the cultural sensitivity of the communities that his long years of experience has provided him.
In 1971, straight out of university, Ade was worked for the state-owned Ghana Commercial Bank, helping him to contextualise most of the learning from the university. In 1972, he joined IBM and trained as a Systems Engineer working with mainframe computers in deep-freeze rooms then using cards. He was at the forefront of computer development in Ghana, designing and generating systems, teaching programmers, and writing applications for business use such as billing, payroll, stock control and other management control systems. He also provided management support for most of the computer installations in support of the marketing effort. He left to run a charter flight operation, organising group travel for friends and families, Christian as well as Muslim pilgrimages and back to Africa trips. A side business at the time was managing a popular young musical band Boombaya. In Ade’s last job in Ghana, he helped to restructure a family business that made sweets – Go Ahead, coordinating the general management functions.
In 1980 Ade entered Alliance Manchester Business School for a full-time two-year MBA. His project during the summer of 981 when race riots raged across the inner cities in England was on “Particular Problems Facing Black-Controlled Businesses in Britain with Some Proposals for their Solution. This broke academic ground and formed the basis for the establishment of Equinox Consulting as the first black management constant firm that was set up in 1983.
Ade Sawyerr was born in Ghana; bred in Jamestown and Accra New Town. He attended Accra New Town Experimental School, Achimota School, Ghana Secondary School in Koforidua and in 1971 obtained a BSc Administration Management Option degree from the University of Ghana Business School.
He is an approved consultant of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, a Certified Management Consultant, and a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultancy
Ade is a competent and experienced management consultant who helped to set up Equinox Consulting, an innovative management consultancy that promotes social and economic advancement amongst disadvantaged and socially excluded communities, in 1983. Equinox Consulting adopts an integrated approach that offers consultancy, training, and research services to meet objectives of clients and are specialists in the regeneration of deprived communities.
As a management consultant Ade worked at the forefront of the pioneering work with African and Caribbean businesses and community organisations focusing on enterprise generation, employment initiatives and community development.
Ade has conducted research into ethnic markets and issues: he has trained people in business at the start-up, supported them in their growth phase and guided them through developing systems and seeking funding for expansion. He has nurtured business associations, implemented business brokerage schemes, and executed supplier agreements that match smaller and larger businesses. Ade has also worked on various employment initiatives; conducting research into barriers to employment, exploring contract compliance schemes that increase the recruitment, employment, training, promotion, and retention of black workers. He has designed, developed, and delivered training programmes imparting both hard and soft skills and worked on customised training programmes. He provides management support and consultancy to many third sector organisations, providing governance assistance, feasibility studies and business planning services and appraisal and evaluation services. He continues to provide capacity building assistance to help strengthen the sector, presenting at many strategic seminars and leadership programmes. He researches on problems facing the sector.
His expertise is in Bid writing, project appraisals and evaluations, strategy away days, policy research and community engagement and involvement strategies. He also provides one on one support and webinars on a wide variety of functional management issues for the sector.
Equinox Consulting offers services in:
- Facilitation of strategic awaydays
- Policy research on minority issues
- Evaluations, reviews and appraisals
- Feasibility studies for community facilities
- Strategic business and delivery plans
- Roles and responsibilities of board trustees
- Management training and leadership courses
- Capacity building and community consultations
- Enterprise skills training and promotion strategies
- Employment skills training and placement initiatives
For more information on the work, Ade has undertaken as a management consultant visit the Equinox Consulting website.
Introducing Equinox Consulting
Discussing Blacks in Business on African Voice TV
Black Business Debate at City Hall 2013 Black History Month
Listen to Small Business MasterClass
As a community activist, Ade Sawyerr advocates for the members of various ethnic communities to have a voice so that they can participate equally and contribute more fully within the country’ He cannot remember not being involved in community activity: from his youth helping to clean the beaches at Teshie and Jamestown to his involvement in the Wolves Cub, boys’ scouts and then the Young Pioneers movement. He was part of many support groups including teaching Sunday school to children in the nearby villages at the schools he attended and helping younger people with the homework. He was involved in so many support groups at university and played several roles in the business school associations and residential hall activities After university, he immersed himself in local community activity involving the mobilisation of people in the community in support of social action and development issues and good causes. He helped to form the Accra Newtown Development Association at a time when there were social challenges within the local area. He helped to set up the main town development organisation in Accra New Town and immersed himself in other community organisations such as the Commonwealth Club of Ghana and the Victoria League that would sponsor young Ghanaians on holiday projects to the United Kingdom.
Ade became a peer counsellor at the Ghana Institute of Clinical Genetics and continued this work when he came to study at Manchester in 1981, helping to establish the Sickle Cell Circle in Manchester. He has been a member of the Black Business Brokerage, the Brixton Community Forum and the Brixton Business Forum playing executive roles in these. His community activism led him to become a Governor of a special needs school. He also acted as a trustee of the then newly set up South East London Community Foundation which he helped grow to become the London Community Foundation (LCF) Presently, LCF contributes over £50 million yearly to small community organisations in the London area.
From 1997 to 2001, he served as Chairman of Ghana Union London. He helped to increase the membership four-fold and developed a strategy for over 100 small Ghanaian groups to affiliate to the organisation. He is a founding associate of The Ubele Initiative a social enterprise with a mission to contribute to the sustainability of the African Diaspora community. Through social leadership development, community enterprise and social action, Ubele incubates projects across the UK and creates partnerships with local, regional, national, and international organisations to create innovative solutions for some of our most pressing social, economic, and political concerns.
He also actively supports Star 100 is a Ghana-focused diaspora network, based in London. It was founded in the UK in June 2004 with the aim of connecting 100 likeminded professionals – hence the name.
Community Engagement at Amanorkom
Talk at OAA Remembrance day service
Talk at Ghanass Dinner Dance
Relevance of Nkrumah’s Vision to Africa’s Development
Born in Jamestown, British Accra, he lived in his maternal extended family home but often visiting his uncle from his father’s maternal side in Teshie, he was exposed to the cultural rites of passage, outdoorings, weddings, wakekeeping and funerals which he took in his stride. But moving to the cosmopolitan suburb of Accra New Town he sampled the different cultures of Ghana and their interconnectivity.
His coming to Britain to live and work within a melting pot of several African heritage people triggered his interest in relearning his cultural practices and history. He had always appreciated his Sierra Leonean descent holding on the belief that the mix of cultures was richer than the pure, but it was the constant questions from friends and discussions about heritage that further led him to this journey of research into his Ga identity.
His accelerated education meant that he had not read Ga at primary school and had struggled through it in secondary school. Nonetheless, he felt that if he could learn COBOL, RPG and Fortran in his early twenties, then no reason should prevent him from learning to read and write Ga in his 30s. In 1988, Ade became a founding member of Gadangme Nikasemo Asafo, an educational and welfare organisation that promotes the Ga culture. Gadangme Nikasemo Asafo researches and discusses the history and traditions of the Ga people, teaches the Ga language to young people born in the diaspora and provides for the observances of the cultural rites of passage traditions and some of the festivals. He helped to set up the Gadangme Foundation, an umbrella organisation that together with Gadangme Europe, Gadangme International and Gadangme Council in Accra act as the representative civil sector organisation that promotes Gadangme cultural and social development. He has, over the past 15 years, been involved with the London Gadangme Speaking Fellowship URC. Ade is also the moderator of the Gadangme internet forum that discusses issues of the social, economic and development of the Gadangme people. This forum has been running for over 20 years and has a database of over 100,000 posts on Gadangme issues.
As a student of Gadangme culture, his interest lies in the constant conflict between modernity, culture and religion, and Ga origins and practices as they have evolved over the years. He also presents and writes on issues that confront those in the diaspora who seek an interpretation of the cultural practices and why this is important to the identity of people of GaDangme descent in the diaspora.
Opening of Ga Dangme school
Be part of the story
Outdooring of Baby Akwei
Shitswaa Homowo 2009
Ga Dangme Newyear Greeting
Tribute to the late Mrs Lenrie Sowah
Ade is a social and political commentator with a passion for writing on topical issues that interest him. He writes about diversity issues in the UK which is in line with his work as a management consultant. The main thrust of his writings is African and African heritage concerns on social, economic, and political advancement in Britain. He writes thought provoking articles often indulging in blue-sky thinking for solutions to the myriad issues that confront migrant communities where he tries to influence policy and on diversity and inclusion issues.
He also writes about politics and governance issues in Ghana. His favourite topic is Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of Ghana who led the country to independence and his vision for Africa.
As a student of Gadangme culture, his interest lies in the constant conflict between modernity, culture and religion, and Ga origins and practices as they have evolved over the years. He also presents and writes on issues that confront those in the diaspora who seek an interpretation of the cultural practices and why this is important to the identity of people in the diaspora.
With a passion for community and cultural issues, Ade Sawyerr is a much sought-after speaker at events and conferences, chairing seminars and sharing his views as a thought leader on a variety of topics and platforms.
Ade is very active on social media platforms especially Facebook where he takes great pains to explain social, political, and economic issues affecting Ghana and Africa.