In the Diaspora: Natalie Narh, Founder of Latch Productions
JF: Who are you and what do you do?
L: My name is Natalie Narh and I am a multimedia freelancer providing services in graphic design, web design, photography and videography. They are all somewhat interconnected and what I provide is ultimately based on what the client’s needs are. What I define myself as changes as per what the client wants from me.
JF: How did you get into all of this?
L: Initially with photography, my dad was interested in it around 2007. He taught me as he was teaching himself, he lost interest and I picked it up from there. I started doing it professionally about 2 years ago, mid-2016.
JF: When was the last time you went to Ghana?
L: I was in Ghana last December and I go back every 6 months or so. I was born here and lived in Ghana for about 80% of my life.
JF: The roll-out of certain initiatives that the President and current government have actioned is certainly debatable. What are your current thoughts?
L: To be fair, there are certain things he cannot unfortunately eradicate e.g. employment rates. It takes a lot of restructuring in terms of people responsible for different sectors.So far, I must admit he has done a lot. I think it is important that we give him time and also understand that everything begins with education and once that is successfully enforced, only then will things begin to change.
JF: Education is indeed key and provided you have a progressive mind-set in combination with that, the rewards ought to be somewhat fruitful. I am interested to see how far he goes and the ultimate sustainability of his policies and initiatives. What challenges you think Ghana currently faces and how do you think we as Ghanaians in the Diaspora can assist in rectifying these challenges?
L: Right now, I think it is a matter of opportunity, in terms of young people and particularly those that are entrepreneurial. Limitations in Ghana right now for said individuals are financial and the issues faced in terms of accessing what is currently available. There is only so much one can do to move forward in the current state of affairs. I believe that once these barriers are alleviated, it will give way to more small businesses. Financial backing is essential.
Having worked here and in Ghana also, I noticed that the work ethic there isn’t as structured as it is here and this is true for both clients and service providers. With ineffective communication and lax deadline setting, I find it challenging for me to get certain things done. I think as Ghanaians, we are used to inconvenience and this in turn affects everything else.
JF: Work ethic, or the lack thereof, is something that is a personal pet peeve of mine. How have you found working here and in Ghana thus far?
L: Everything I do in Ghana is done remotely and one of the personal struggles I have faced is the right way to make payments. My main bank account is here and ExpressPay is the medium used in Ghana – equivalent to Payal. The struggle with that is that it only accommodates for local transfers which in turn create barriers to working internationally. In terms of specific work, I find that I work on logos more as compared to UK clients.
JF: I believe cyrptocurrencies and blockchain technology would solve a lot of these issues, however we are in the preliminary stages with this in terms of regulation so we really do just have to play it by ear and see what the future holds for cryptocurrency and blockchain in the developing world. What advice would you give to those in Ghana interested in pursuing entrepreneurship?
L: Networking is the most important thing, especially in Ghana. It is all about who you know and what you can do for the people you know. For those that are here in the UK, I would say know the kind of people you are going to connecting with. Above all, have a plan – will you work before launching your business, where will you live etc; explore the field you plan to venture into.
JF: It is very important to consider and establish the seemingly basic things. With regards to networking, how can that be navigated with those in the UK?
L: I would say it is a combination of social media networking, as well as with those around you in the wider Ghanaian community. I met a lot of amazing creatives on social media and it has opened doors for me to meet some likeminded individuals here in the UK. Be sure to ask family members that may be able to connect to someone that may be able to benefit you – even if they might not be able to give you a job, they may be able to point you in the direction of someone else that can.
JF: Where do you see Latch Productions in the next 5 years?
L: In the next 5 years, I should have moved back to Ghana. Although I am currently working remotely, I plan to have a physical location for Latch Productions and will hopefully add more people to the team as I am currently doing everything by myself.
JF: I definitely resonate with the last point. I think it is important, in the early stages, for you to know your brand and business for yourself. In terms of Ghanaians in the UK, what can we do to assist the development of the nation?
L: Have an open-mind towards those already living in Ghana. There is often a negative connotation towards those living in Ghana and if that stigma is removed, more people will be willing to move back. I think most people end up staying here because they believe that they cannot survive in Ghana. It is definitely challenging and different to the UK but it is indeed possible. Complaining from a distance but not aiming to do what they can do; believe it is enough to share an opinion but not actively contribute. More often than not, those that grew up here, have a better education, can apply to different Ghanaian context which will aid progressive development. Have an open-mind to making a positive contribution to Ghana.
Natalie is an inspirational young lady with a vision to grow her brand and contribute to the nation in her service provision. It is so refreshing to meet people that are putting their interests and talents to good use! Be sure to follow her on all her social media platforms and if you are located here in the UK or in Ghana, get in contact!