Martin Thompson Ntem, popularly known as MTN, is the incumbent President of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). Prior to this, he was the President of the Ghana Journalists Association, GIJ Chapter for the 2016/2017 academic year. Martin is currently a Level 300 student at GIJ, majoring in Journalism.
Early Life and Education
Martin Thompson Ntem was born on Monday, April 17, 1995, in Ve-Golokuati in the Volta Region. He spent the first few years of his life with his mother, Ayirebi Sarah, at Hohoe and then moved to Dzodze to live with an aunt who was a family friend. She instilled in him a strong passion for business because while in basic school, Martin helped her in some of her many businesses by selling 'koko' and sachet water and managing her Coca-Cola depot and cement store. He was between the ages of 13 and 15 at this time.
He received his elementary education at Dzodze Central JHS where he began a ‘susu’ project for his classmates. He completed JHS in 2010 and was enlisted in his Circuit amongst the beneficiaries of the President’s Independence Day Awards. He later attended the Kpando Senior High School (KPASEC) in Kpando.
While at KPASEC, Martin Ntem again introduced his ‘Susu’ Savings and Loans Initiative where students saved their monies with him and took them back when going home for vacation. He also lent money to students who didn’t have the means to travel back home.
He also published his first hand-out on answering literature questions to assist students; especially those who were not studying the arts, to enable them to pass their Literature-in-English exams. He was a strong debater, poet and spoken word artist and represented his school in several competitions. Photography was another thing that put money in his pocket while in secondary school.
After completing his secondary education in 2013, life seems to have hit him hard as his plan to dodge the routine of working for people after SHS failed. Martin Ntem had a business plan to start his own publication; a magazine for basic school students, but he had no initial capital. The young entrepreneur, who needed Ghȼ 1,000 to turn his idea into reality, later accepted an offer from a family friend in July 2013 to work in his Credit Transfer and Phone Repair Shop for a monthly salary of GHȼ 60.00.
Being entrepreneurship-minded, he quickly found other opportunities to make extra money. It was simply the business of selling memory chips loaded with music to the village folk at a cool price. He also began typing for organisations and schools. All these he did with a laptop he purchased with proceeds he had made from his photography venture in SHS. Amazingly, he began mastering the skills of repairing minor faults with phones and was making some cool money few weeks after getting into his family friend’s business.
When Martin began working, he told his boss to pay him GHȼ 40.00 at the end of the month and arranged to take the remaining GHȼ 20.00 in four instalments of GHȼ 5.00 every Wednesday morning. He joined a Cooperative Union meant only for women under a made-up name where he saved the GHȼ 5.00 every Wednesday. The group was meant for only women but he managed to register through his brother’s wife and saved there regularly for three months.
The condition of the group was that one stood the chance to take a loan to start any business after saving for at least three months hence; Martin quickly took a loan of GH ȼ300.00, added his personal savings, sold his laptop and gadgets and left for Kumasi to make his first publication.
Not without many troubles and sufferings, Martin published 400 copies of the first edition of the ‘Smart Eye Magazine’ which got finished within a week. He gathered his profit and sent for 500 more copies and then 1,000 and then 1,500 until he began to print and sell 10,000 every term. He later employed about six people to work for him when he moved to Accra to pursue a course in Journalism at the Ghana Institute of Journalism.
Some awards Martin Thompson Ntem has won include Best Student Publisher at the GIJ-SRC Entrepreneurial Awards in 2014, Most Influential Entrepreneur at the Spugplug Awards in 2015 and Most Influential Entrepreneur at the GIJ Eminence Awards last year. He has currently been nominated for the upcoming Tertiary Leaders Awards.
Story by: Salsabilla Suleman (Diploma 1 A) & Olivia Tieku (Level 300 C)