Ghanaian Chief Nana Osim Kwatia ll came to Michigan last month to attend the 50th Anniversary of the Saginaw African Cultural Festival, one of the country's longest running festivals of its kind. As a champion for promoting socio-economic development in the African country of Ghana, Nana explored business opportunities with leaders in the Great Lakes Bay region. During his visit, Nana, his economic advisor, Oheneba Mrs. Mercy Akosua Yeboah, Dr. Joseph Ofori-Dankwa, the Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in International Business at Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU), and a group of students from SVSU toured the office and plant of Saginaw's Duperon Corporation, and joined forty local entrepreneurs and the Duperon family for dinner at the home of Terry Duperon, founder and chairman of the board.
"We are grateful for the chance to host Nana in our plant and in our home," Duperon said. "Right now, with the present tax breaks and less regulations, there are more opportunities than ever to invest in international economic growth. This was a chance to share ideas and create possibilities for both of our communities."
The connection between Michigan and Ghana is surprisingly strong. Several years ago, Duperon met SVSU professor and Ghana native, Dr. Joseph Ofori-Dankwa. The two became close as Duperon, an inventor and entrepreneur, frequently draws on the university as a reference and research partner for new ideas. Earlier this year, Dr. Ofori-Dankwa invited Duperon as a special guest and keynote speaker at the PALI Centre for Leadership and People Development's annual New Year School. The four-day program focused on encouraging African leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs to stimulate economic growth in their local communities. Since his trip to Accra, Ghana, Duperon has continued to connect directly with Ghanaian leaders, exploring ways to create sustainable economic growth in that region. That connection and the recent visit with Nana has inspired discussions about starting an entrepreneurial institute in Ghana.
Growing up on a farm in rural Michigan, Duperon had a dream to become an inventor. He developed a simple but groundbreaking concept that improved rivers and waterways, applied for patents on his inventions, which eventually grew into Duperon Corporation, which today employs 66 people in Saginaw. Duperon remains passionate about sharing his innovation and invention experience.
"You just never know where life can take you," Duperon said. "Supporting these relationships between the business leaders of Michigan and Ghana has been fulfilling. A continued collaboration between our countries will also enrich our Great Lakes Bay community, fostering creative ideas that develop into new jobs and economic growth."
For more information visit www.duperon.com.