In May last year, during my first trip to Ghana, I remember noticing a colourful billboard on the side of a busy road in Accra advertising for Krispat Ear Centre (GH) Ltd. I recognised the name from somewhere, but only later that evening did I realise where I had first been introduced to this small business: Krispat Ear Centre was applying for a loan on MYC4 at that very moment!
I was fortunate enough to return to Ghana a couple of months ago and meet the founder and owner, Christian Kweitsu, in his office at the ear centre. I asked him why he spends his limited resources on billboards and advertisement in the media. “Hearing is virtually a green area here,” he said, “many people are actually not aware that they have a problem. Nobody talks about hearing and ear problems, so people tend not to be conscious of whether there’s a facility. We therefore need to create awareness among the people.”
Christian founded the company in 2003 together with his wife, Patience, after finishing a course in technical audiology in the United Kingdom. “We started right here, my wife and I. She was the receptionist and I was the managing director and the doctor.” In the beginning, the couple used whatever personal resources they had, and with a product loan from a foreign supplier, they were able to gradually grow the business. Today, Krispat Ear Centre has three branches in Ghana and a work force of 25 people.
Their third branch was opened in the summer of 2010 using the loan that I had seen on MYC4’s platform in May. “I obtained a loan of 25,000 cedis, although I did ask PRC for about 50,000” Christian explained, “the loan is not big enough, but I must say that it’s a help which I really appreciate. It enabled us to open the third branch. So right now I’m ploughing back the little money I get from here and there into this branch to finish it”.
Christian and Patience didn’t always dream of having their own ear centre. The idea came when Christian worked in a primary school as a teacher and was offered to do a diploma in special education, specialising in hearing impairment. “That’s where I saw the vision. That I could branch into providing a service rather than teaching. You know, for a very long time in this country people hardly notice their ears until they have pain. All the time it’s sight, sight, sight. Krispat Ear Centre is on a mission to change that”.