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This Black Owned Educational Game Celebrates African History and Culture

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As a parent it can be quite challenging to find items such as books and toys that are representative of your child’s heritage. If you are looking for a Black owned educational game, your choices are even more limited.

That’s why we’re pleased to introduce Very Puzzled, a 100 piece  jigsaw puzzle that includes a wide variety of African landmarks, monuments and attractions.

We spoke with Patrick Adom, the founder of Very Puzzled to find out more about him and his company.

Patrick Adom

What inspired you to start Very Puzzled?

My main inspiration has been my daughter who is now 7 years old.  I have always tried to provide her with toys, books, clothing, music and films etc that are representative of her culture.
I named her after a John Coltrane song, I want her to appreciate the richness of Ghanaian, African and African Caribbean and African American culture and all African cultures through out the diaspora.

What has been the most challenging and the most rewarding thing about owning your own business? 

So far I haven’t had any major challenges. Having an actual physical product available in shops based on an idea that I had is really rewarding.
The biggest reward is having the sense that I am doing something that can be life changing for myself and my family and that there is the potential to build something significant and leave a legacy for them.
It is also rewarding to know that I’m giving my daughter the confidence and proof that she can also take her own ideas and achieve the things that she wants to.

What event occurred or action taken has had the biggest impact on your business? 

Making the commitment to start and sticking to it. The moment that I decided that I can do this and that I am actually going to do this that was really important.

How did you fund the business to get started?

I boot strapped the business with my own money. Start-up costs were quite minimal to start and I had some savings.  I have loans and credit cards that I could have used but I didn’t want to get into too much debt.
The idea was to start small test my idea and see if there was a market for what I had and then to continue to grow and develop additional products.
I have looked at business incubators and accelerators and things like crowd funding and kick-starter etc, however, where I am at the moment these initiatives take a lot of time and effort which I feel distracts me from focusing on other core business tasks that I need to do such as producing new products and getting stocked in more shops especially the big multi chain retailers in Africa.

What business skill are you good at and which would you like to develop more?

I don’t believe that what I am doing requires any specific business skills, I think common sense and a belief in yourself and the ability to keep going even when things are tough are some of the most import skills to have.

Having said that, I think that the ability to negotiate is very useful being always prepared to ask for discounts to try and get the best deal. I like to haggle and bargain with suppliers. I think am quite good at this.

What am not so good at is keeping receipts and filing records.  I also need to continue to push myself and make more of an effort to go out of my comfort zone and actually attend more events to speak to people. 

Where do you see the business in 5 years? 

The idea is to have a factory in Ghana that will produce the puzzles and provide employment.  The aim is to have a wide selection of complimentary products and a brand that people really like.
I would also like to get more involved from a manufacturing side and even start to make items for other businesses.
I would also like to support other start-up businesses and help reduce some of the barriers to start-up and help to develop the market in Africa by making things more affordable and easier to access.
-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)

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