William Adoasi is a British-Ghanaian entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, fashion designer, philanthropist, and the CEO of the innovative watch brand Vitae London. His watch brands have been sold in some 30 countries and for every watch he sells, a fraction of the money goes into educational resources to underprivileged children across sub-Saharan Africa.
Adoasi’s entrepreneurial journey could be traced to his father’s struggles when he was growing up as a youngster in rural Ghana. It was difficult for his father to get an education, Adoasi said, adding that his father eventually became the first in his family to read and write.
Nonetheless, he said his father managed to break the cycle of poverty in his family and generations through perseverance. According to Adoasi, that inspired him to venture into entrepreneurship and also help support struggling children across Sub-Saharan Africa to acquire education.
The serial entrepreneur describes building Vitae London as a beautiful struggle, particularly in the early days. According to Forbes, Adoasi convinced his wife that he could use the $8,000 they had put aside to go and build Vitae and he was off.
However, two years into the business, he had his first child, Sienna. Juggling business and dedicating time for his family was tough. But Adoasi had the drive to achieve success because he knew that aside from making money from the sales of his watch brands, he is also impacting lives in rural communities in Africa.
“So, as a result of focusing on the longer term, it made the short term more bearable,” he said. “Because I knew if I could hold on, carry on and push on, it would be worth it in the long run. I’ve reminded myself how much I have sacrificed because it’s often easy to forget that. And when you remind yourself of that, it pushes you to say you can’t go back now because you’ve come too far.”
Adoasi needed money for inventory so he applied for a loan from Virgin Startup Loans. He became one of the two people who won a prize to interview British business magnate Richard Branson and be mentored by him out of 10,000 people who applied.
According to Forbes, Branson was touched by Adoasi’s business idea and even decided to purchase one of his watch brands on the spot and wear it often.
Adoasi’s watch brand recently hit over $1 million in sales and also supported over 5,000 children through education in Africa.
“It’s beautiful to see the vision and the idea that we once had now come to life, knowing that the grit, the resilience, despite it all, has led to why we are where we are today,” he said. “Although things are in a much better position, there are still struggles; there are always new things to learn and new avenues to explore, but we love the journey, and we’re pushing on day by day.”
Before starting his watch business, Adoasi worked as a recruiting consultant. He had his first job in sales after his A level but dropped out of university at the age of 19 to start his first business, a sports academy called Starlight Sports Academy funded by a government initiative.