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Ade Sawyerr

AdeSawyerr 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 20 years he worked out of an office in Brixton feeling the heartbeat of Black Britain, though his work as a management consultant specialising in Black and minority ethnic issues has taken him to different parts of the country.

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.  This involves consultancy, training and research services provided to a variety of clients including statutory sector and charitable trusts.

Community engagement and involvement strategies, as well as primary policy research, is at the heart of this work that seeks to find sustainable strategies for integration and communities with less racial inequality.

His work with the Black and other marginalised communities across the country has given him a rare insight into issues of discrimination and disadvantage and how to formulate strategies to engage these communities to become more involved and integrated within the mainstream.

It is these experiences of lifelong learning about other communities and their issues have helped to shape his outlook and made him emerge as a competent and experienced management consultant, focused on the objectives, analytical in his approach but able consider the cultural sensitivity of his clients.

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 promotes black culture wherever he can and is a cultural critic of the Gadangme people of Ghana helping to form many organisations, researching the culture and tradition to bring them into the millennium.

He is a social and political commentator, with considered opinions relating to race equality, inclusion and diversity, politics and third world development that he shares in seminars, speeches and in thought-provoking pieces in relevant magazines and journals.

In 1971, straight out of university, Ade was fortunate to have been employed by Ghana Commercial Bank, the state-owned bank where he learnt the rudiments of commercial banking as it was in the early 1970s, managing savings accounts, appraising and approving loans to small businesses and contextualising all the learning he had acquired in university.

In 1972, computers were new to the world and in Ghana had just made a transition from their main uses as scientific machines to general-purpose use.  Fascinated by these huge mainframe machines that had to be kept in deep-freezing air-conditioned rooms because of the heat they generated, Ade joined IBM to be trained as a Systems Engineer in this nascent industry that still used cards for storage of data and memory smaller than modern-day watches.  His job was mainly business analysis help organisations into the first steps in computers, training programmers and systems analysts and generating operating systems for new computer installations for both the commercial and public sectors. Ade Sawyerr supported the salesmen by designing the operating systems and the commercial applications of sales invoicing and billing, accounting and stock control, payroll and other management information and database software application in addition to providing day to day management support to some of the installations.

An opportunity arose so Ade left to be Managing Director of Afro-Asian Travel Centre, a specialist travel agency and ambitiously expanded operations from charter flights into more regular group travel into Ghana and tours.  He ran several charter flights to and from London during Christmas, Easter and summer.  He also operated special event flights with the African American Institute to bring young on their way to trace their roots in the Gambia to experience the first independent African country, Ghana.  Other aspects of the business involved trips for Muslims Pilgrims going on the Hajj as well as for Christians on Pilgrimage to Lourdes, Rome and Jerusalem.

A side business at the time was managing a popular young musical band Boombaya.  When Charter flights were banned, it became difficult to sustain the business and the operations folded.

Ade’s last job in Ghana was with Go Ahead, sweets making factory. – As operations manager, he helped to restructure what was a medium-sized family business and coordinated the finance and marketing role to make the business more sustainable in the face of raw materials shortages and rationing.

In 1980 Ade had entered Manchester Business School for a full-time two-year MBA.  The hallmark of the programme was the Manchester Method. It simulated real-life working experience as part of course work on projects commissioned by the public, private and voluntary organisations.  During the summer, he undertook original research into enterprise development among black people in the UK.  It was also during the summer of 1981 when the race riots spread across Britain.  It coincided with an earlier project that the Hackney ethnic minority project had undertaken.  Ade’s dissertation on black businesses broke academic grounds and was published as “Particular Problems Facing Black-Controlled Businesses in Britain with Some Proposals for their Solution.  This research work provided 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. He spent his formative years in Jamestown and then at Accra New Town where he attended the Accra New Town Experimental School. Having passed the Common Entrance Examination, he ended up at Achimota School in 1960 short of his 10th birthday.  He spent his sixth form days at Ghana Secondary School, Koforidua. In 1968, Ade entered the School of Administration, University of Ghana now called the University of Ghana Business School where he graduated with a degree of B. Sc. Administration in the management option.

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

consultant



consultant/

management consultant

Ade is a competent and experienced management consultant with special expertise of working on projects that affect inner-city and marginalised communities.  His expertise is in Bid writing, project appraisals and evaluations, strategy away days, policy research and community engagement and involvement strategies.

Most of the pioneering work with the black and minority ethnic community that Ade has worked on has been as a partner of Equinox Consulting set up in 1983.

Equinox Consulting was set up as an innovative management consultancy to promote social and economic advancement amongst disadvantaged and socially excluded communities.

Equinox Consulting are specialists in the field of regeneration and renewal of deprived communities and have experience of working with and for clients from black and minority ethnic communities.

Equinox Consulting adopts an integrated approach that offers consultancytraining and research services to meet objectives of clients. They have considerable expertise in providing enterprise strategiesemployment initiatives and community development and involvement solutions to add value to the work of our clients.

Equinox Consulting continues to add value to a wide range of clients including central governments and their statutory agencies, regional and local governments and their partnerships, voluntary and community organisations and small medium and micro enterprises that support marginalised communities. As a management consultant Ade has focused in three main areas of enterprise generation, employment initiatives and community development,

In enterprise generation, Ade has provided a mixture of research into ethnic markets and issues: he has trained people in business at the start-up and growth levels, consulted and guided these businesses in writing business plans,  building robust systems of operations, seeking start-up and growth capital, and exploring new markets.  Increasingly, he has been involved in setting up business associations, mentoring and matching these start-ups with bigger mainstream organisations under supplier agreements.

Under employment initiatives, Ade has also worked on various employment initiatives; conducting research into barriers to employment, exploring how contract compliance and voluntary schemes can be applied to 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 in direct customised training programmes.

In community development, Ade provides management support and consultancy to many third sector organisations. He has developed strategic delivery plans, undertaken feasibility studies for community centres and facilities, appraised, reviewed and evaluated community development projects. He has also organised capacity building, training and leadership programmes that are focused on strengthening management and staff capacity Ade has facilitated strategic away-day seminars and conferences and executed several community consultations. He has also conducted research on the state of the sector and the challenges faced by the third 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

activist

Listen to Small Business MasterClass

Introducing Equinox Consulting

Discussing Blacks in Business on African Voice TV

Black Business Debate at City Hall 2013 Black History Month

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community activist

Ade has always been involved in community activity; in his youth, he would organise clean-ups in front of the family house so that neighbourhood youth could indulge in their ‘gutter to gutter’ football games.  On other occasions, he would go to the beach to help the fisherfolk. For him, this was all play activity without pay. Nevertheless, they were tasks worthy of attention.  So as soon as he started school, he joined the Cubs, became a Scout and eventually joined the Young Pioneer Movement. It was these movements that honed this passion for community work and trained him to be a leader.

In secondary school, he did not play much sport in school but was always a good cheerleader. Additionally, he was involved in a community activity such as visiting the nearby village to organise Sunday school and engage the younger people in homework activity.   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.  Discussions with the local councillor resulted in the formation of this organisation with other residents, the retired local school headmaster, a retired army officer and others were involved with me barely out of university as secretary.  Our mandate was to keep the area functioning by monitoring the activities of the utility providers and liaising with them on behalf of the local community when there were problems and organising monthly general clean-ups of the area.

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 Brixton Community Neighbourhood Association and 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.

culturist

Community Engagement at Amanorkom

Talk at OAA Remembrance day service

Talk at Ghanass Dinner Dance

Relevance of Nkrumah’s Vision to Africa’s Development

culturist/

cultural enthusiast

Growing up in Jamestown, Ade was exposed to a lot of rites of passage around him. They were part and parcel of his life and he embraced them in the same way that he accepted his Sierra Leonean heritage . The adage that the mix is richer than the pure grew on him as his very traditional relatives at Teshie tried to steep him in Ga custom.  He left Teshie for Accra New Town then the most cosmopolitan area in Accra.

As a young man, he continued to sample the culture; driving his grandmother to outdooring ceremonies, following his mother to traditional marriage ceremonies and accompanying his father to wakes and funeral rites. However, it was not until he came to England that he appreciated his identity and the a rich cultural heritage that he came from.  Constant questions from friends and colleagues about his heritage and the ease with which he adapted to the culture of the western world triggered in him the need to learn more about what he had taken for granted.

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 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 representation 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

He writes on Ga culture when he can and discusses why this culture is important to the identity of people of GaDangme heritage in the UK.

Gadangme Nikasemo Asafo

Gadangme Nikasemo Asafo

London Gadangme Speaking Fellowship URC

Gadangme Internet Forum

Gadangme Internet Forum

commentator

Opening of Gadangme language School

Be Part of the Story – Ade Sawyerr on identity

Outdooring of Baby Akwei

Shitwa – Homowo 2009

GaDangme New Year Greeting

Tribute to the Late Mrs Lenrie Sowah

commentator/

social and political analyst

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 a social and political commentator writing on topical issues that interest him. The main thrust of his writings is black social, economic and political advancement in Britain, where he attempts to influence policy and on diversity and inclusion issues and on third world development.

An opinion leader who indulges in blue-sky thinking and find solutions to intractable problems, and given his experience in business and community development, he should have written that book long ago.

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.

Ade Sawyerr writes about diversity issues in the UK which is in line with his work as a management consultant. His interest in cultural issues relating to the Gadangme people also makes him prolific thought leader. Another passion is the politics of Ghana and Africa.  Ade Sawyerr  finds time to reflect on how continental Africans and people of African heritage in the diaspora can contribute to the development of the continent

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

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

seriously considered views.

He has contributed articles in several journals and newsletters, newspapers in addition to the several social media platforms that he posts his commentaries on, he also writes an occasional blog – at www.adesawyerr.wordpress.com

articles and opinions.

Ade has shared his opinions on several platforms.  He writes for the Voice Newspaper, Britain’s biggest Black newspaper and for the influential Operation Black Vote blog, the home of Black Politics in the UK.  He has also written Op-Eds for West Africa magazine and now writes pieces for Africa Briefing. In Ghana, he has published articles on the New Daily Statesman, and on online websites such as Modern Ghana and GhanaWeb.com.  AfricaVoice in the UK has also published his articles.

A selection of his articles can be found at

  • Voice Newspaper
  • Operation Black Vote
  • ModernGhana.com
  • Ghanaweb.com
  • AfricanVoice
  • DailyStatesmanGhana
  • AfricaBriefing
resume

Official Launch of Drumming and Dancing to Doom – Paul de Kanff

Highlights of Star100 discussion on Chieftaincy

WordPower- Life and works of Nkrumah1

WordPower- Life and works of Nkrumah2