Dziedzorm Kwaku Segbefia (JayJay) was a journalist, but his entrepreneurial heart got the best of him. Now, he and a team of fifteen kindred spirits are leading Bravehearts Expeditions

[Bravehearts  Expeditions] to the next level in Ghana, Africa and carrying the hope they will be one of the top 7 teams to make it to the World StartUp Cup.Team-BraveHearts-Expeditions

As one of the more mature companies to enter into the first Ghana StartUp Cup [facebook/BraveheartsExpeditions], the Bravehearts team knew they had the advantage of experience, but did not know how much they still had to learn. Having heard about the StartUp Cup competition only two weeks prior to the submission deadline, they were not sure what to expect. And now? “I spent 3 years building our business plan… If I had known 3 ½ years ago what I learned through this business model process, imagine where I would be!” One of their paradigm shifts was in how they approach funding and finances. The shift in mindset to “how little do we need from how muchdo we need has changed how we look at money and investment. Every cent counts.” says JayJay.

The mission of Bravehearts Expeditions is “To inspire young people to make a positive difference throughout their lives by exposing them to adventurous expeditions, challenging programs of practical, team-based community projects and sustainable environmental projects to conserve life on earth…” With the support of judges and mentors, JayJay says, “We learned so much about the possibilities and how to push the limits of what we can do.” He says that their transformation through the StartUp Cup process was that, “we have now moved from having a local perspective of our business to instituting a global perspective, and that has meant to specifically define our market, and aggressively focus on the one thing that guarantees business success. And that, for us, has been consistency and innovation.”

In addition to the practical business applications and growth, the Bravehearts team has developed relationships with not only the judges and coaches who continue to support their progress, but with their fellow start-ups and compatriots. Some have become clients. Others will benefit from the team’s desire to take what they’ve learned and participate in the Ghana StartUp Cup next year as mentors.

The eyes of the Ghana are on Bravehearts Expeditions now. “Winning the Ghana StartUp Cup has riveted the attention of Ghana on us and on what we do. It has given us our first award, which is crucial to company profiling in Ghana.” That circle of attention is growing as awareness expands to the global level where Ghana has a chance to stand on a world stage. “[For us] to have the firstGhana StartUp Cup award and then for Ghana to have the first World StartUp Cup would be historical.” In the meantime, the Ghana StartUp Cup has had an immediate effect on the local entrepreneurial mindset. “I believe [it] has reshaped the thinking of young entrepreneurs in Ghana. No more time wasting on long Business Plans that no one in Ghana will fund to begin with, but young people will now learn to move great business ideas from the product to the market – fast!”

What advice do these far reaching, high achieving entrepreneurs have for future StartUp Cup participants? JayJay states, “My advice is to enter with a positive attitude and a bias that makes no apologies for excellence. We won because we participated with a no-nonsense attitude of excellence.”

In reflection on their entrepreneurial odyssey up to this point, JayJay says, “The StartUp Cup experience has been a very great journey for me and my team. Even before we won, it was our opinion that whether we won or not, BraveHearts Expeditions would never be the same. Now, our business priorities are fine-tuned, and we resolve to not disappoint the judges, mentors and coaches who believed and continue to believe in [us].”

Bravehearts Expeditions is well named. They are brave and full of heart. We wish them the best of luck as they strive for the World StartUp Cup and beyond. Follow them on Twitter at  @braveheartsexp.