Kevin Okyere is the founder of Springfield Group, a multi-faceted Ghanaian energy behemoth that generates $1 billion annually.
Born in 1980 in Ashanti region, Ghana to a father who had built a substantial fortune in construction, steel manufacturing, and large-scale cocoa farming, Kevin Okyere started his entrepreneurial journey when he was just 11 years old.
According to him, he used to sell iced water to football supporters at Kumasi Sports Stadium since their family house was not far from the stadium
“Our family house was not too far from the stadium. I would often put water in our chest freezers at home, and then sell the iced water to the supporters watching the games in the Stadium. Everyone used to call me ‘Eddie Murphy’ in reference to the movie, ‘Coming To America’. The movie was quite recent in Ghana at the time. They used to wonder why I was working when my father was wealthy,”
He worked as a security guard in the United States where he studied Accounting at the George Mason University in Virginia. And also took several jobs at varying points to earn extra income. Speaking on this, Kevin Okyere noted that he was always ready to do anything legitimate in order to earn more money.
“Anything legitimate that could earn me money, I took it,”
After returning to Ghana, he worked in his sister’s company for a year to understand the terrain, before establishing Westland Alliance Ltd, together with a team of investors.
“Unlike the U.S, Ghana was virgin territory for a lot of businesses. There were too many opportunities to explore in Ghana and I knew I could be more successful at home than abroad. I knew I wanted to run my own business, but I wasn’t even sure of what I was going to do. My two previous jobs in the U.S had been in telecom so I was more inclined towards launching a business telecom sector,”
Westland Alliance Ltd, was a telecoms company that provided international call routing services for AT&T and several international calling card companies.
Speaking about Westland Alliance Ltd, Kevin noted that the company was doing well but he was so worried because of uncertainty.
“The company was doing very well, but there was a lot of uncertainty with our core business – the call routing business. My contracts with our clients were revisited every year and I realized that my destiny was in the hand of the telecom companies who reserved the right to terminate my contract at any time. I also couldn’t own a mobile telecom company because the license alone cost hundreds of millions of dollars – which was clearly out of my reach. I started planning my exit and looking for the next big opportunity,”
Then in 2006, he started working with a business acquaintance who supplied crude oil and condensates to the Tema refinery. This was the move that gives birth to Springfield Energy which is the first Ghanaian company to venture into oil exploration
“We’re the first Ghanaian company to venture into oil exploration. We are in a unique position to set a precedent for indigenous companies looking to participate in the upstream sector. If we succeed, then we’d have sent a strong message – that Ghanaians are just as capable. That’s really important to me.”
His company, Springfield Energy has imported refined petroleum products such as gasoline, dual-purpose kerosene, gas oil, naphtha and jet fuel to Ghana.