Story: Creative solutions to address COVID-19 (en)

16 juillet 2020
ITC Nouvelles
A young tech-preneur uses a mix of technology and entrepreneurship to create social impact during the pandemic.
Bashiru Mansaray is a 23 year old self-described tech and social entrepreneur from Freetown, Sierra Leone. From a very young age he knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur and to serve his community by providing solutions to its problems.

After three years of exploring various opportunities and gaining first-hand experience in running a business, he set-up a company called OS Preneur. Since starting OS Preneur in 2019, he has scaled it up to OS Corp, a group of companies that operate in technology, entrepreneurship (OS Hub), and social impact activities (OS Impact).

The situation

Weak digital connectivity in Sierra Leone is a challenge that Bashiru is tackling head on with his business.

OS Corp provides a platform for start-ups to have easier business registration, access to technological tools, resources and networks, as well as in the long-term, access to funding. However convincing local businesses to digitize their services was a hurdle. That is, until coronavirus hit.

The pandemic caused a dramatic decrease in the spending capacity of the clients OS Corp serves. Bashiru had to offer his services at a discount to boost orders so that the company could continue to cover its operating expenses.

However, the pandemic brought about some emerging opportunities for his business. Before the pandemic, Bashiru often found it was difficult to market his tech services to local businesses because the digitization of their services was not seen as essential for reaching their customers. However, since the outbreak of COVID-19, the demand for OS Corp’s services has significantly increased and many local businesses have adapted their approaches and started to embrace digital; a winning solution for both Bashiru and Sierra Leone in connecting with international markets.

The opportunity

Not only has OS Hub adapted, but Bashiru is offering use of the Hub free of charge until the end of the lockdown in Sierra Leone.

In addition, Bashiru has leveraged his skills in graphic design to support the initiatives of various organizations working to support vulnerable youth around the globe. His work is providing easy to understand information to Sierra Leone’s children and youth.

He and his team have developed and designed a series of youth friendly communication materials, including animated videos, social media flyers, billboard banners, roll-up banners, and brochures for public campaigns on COVID-19.

Looking beyond COVID-19

As the founder of a tech start-up, he believes it is his responsibility to raise awareness and promote the positive benefits of technology and digital solutions for local businesses. He aims to continue to provide innovative solutions to people and communities that may not yet understand how a move to going digital can support their livelihoods. Moving forward, he plans to continue to lead his team and business towards becoming an innovator and change maker for clients and communities.

Ye! Community

Bashiru is a member of the Ye! Community, powered by the International Trade Centre’s Youth and Trade Programme. He also serves as the Ye! Ambassador for Sierra Leone.
Ye! Ambassadors are youth leaders that connect and convene a local network of youth entrepreneurs. They volunteer their time to build partnerships and strengthen networks to create a vocal and interconnected community that can be leveraged by youth entrepreneurs needing support and guidance.