For Future Founders Fall 2021 Be Your Own Boss Intern Rhoda Akosah, solving problems is a way of life. Moving from her native country Ghana to the United States in 2019, Rhoda’s transition to a new country has opened her eyes to all sorts of problems facing girls like her across the globe. And none are more apparent than the gap in education.
Shortly after Rhoda began her first year of school in the U.S., the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the globe. Like the millions of other schoolchildren, Rhoda and her fellow classmates were sent home for what would eventually become over a year of remote learning.
During her time at home, Rhoda chatted frequently with her old friends back in Ghana. They too had been sent home out of concern, but unfortunately their school system was not equipped to offer any sort of real remote learning. As Rhoda would eventually discover, her friends essentially went an entire year without schooling.
Though she wasn’t surprised, Rhoda was saddened by the fact that her friends were now so far behind on their education. This lack of resources in Ghana’s education system was a serious problem, and COVID-19 had amplified just how bad it was. Rhoda knew this was a problem she wanted to tackle – she just didn’t know where to start.
It was around this same time that Rhoda learned about the Future Founders Be Your Own Boss Virtual Internship. While she had never thought about entrepreneurship as a pursuit, after reading the description of the program, she realized that being an entrepreneur means taking on problems and challenges like the ones facing Ghana’s education system. So, she decided to give the program a shot, submitting an application for a slot in our fall 2021 internship.
With her natural enthusiasm and curiosity, Rhoda was quickly accepted into the program, and began to work with her team on their main internship assignment: building a business concept from scratch. The team eventually landed on the idea for The Happy Family Box, a monthly subscription box for families to help them spend more quality time together. As the team explained during their final pitch, each month subscribers would receive a box full of different activities and games, such as painting kits, scavenger hunts, stamp making supplies, and more. In our digital-first world, these “offline” games and activities inside The Happy Family Box would be carefully selected to bring family members closer together.
This focus on the family is something that was especially important to Rhoda. Immigrating to the United States was a dramatic change for her own family, and by Rhoda’s own admission, there are still challenges they face with cultural differences and acclimating to their new home. Rhoda says these challenges have been especially tough on her, so much so that she began working on a new business idea to offer mental health resources to kids like her, who might not otherwise have access due to financial constraints, reluctant parents, and more.
To help her with some guided feedback on her new business idea, the Future Founders team connected Rhoda with Christina Fontenelle, a member of the 2020 Startup Bootcamp Cohort, and Founder & CEO of Fontenelle Art, a mental health and wellness company that aims to serve communities by providing art & movement-based approaches to professional development, mental health awareness, and community cohesion. As Rhoda began explaining her idea to Christina, her passion for solving these important issues came through – so much so, that by the end of the call, Christina offered Rhoda an internship opportunity to come work at Fontenelle Art and learn more about the mental health and wellness space.
Though she’s only a high school junior, Rhoda’s passion for solving problems has already led her to some incredible opportunities. When asked what advice she’d give to her peers looking to create similar opportunities for themselves, her response was simply, “Be open minded”.
With Rhoda’s open mindedness and passion for problems, we have no doubt that this is just the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey. And we are so excited to see which problems she tackles next!
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