Rudolf Schirmer Ampofo-Domfeh is a Ghanaian Businessman, Innovator, Investor and Global Business owner. He is the Executive Chairman of The Rudolf & Schirmers Enterprises and founder and CEO of Augson Global, best known for initiating the Augson Investment Program committed to improving the lives of low- and middle- income earners in Ghana.
On Saturday, July 20, 2019, spending three hours chitchatting with Mr Rudolf Schirmer clearly educated me on the real meaning of innovation and vision. Working in the shadows, moving from one institution to another, ministries to district assemblies, countries to villages, the young businessman has solicited and created a master plan and a path to contribute massively to the growing economy of Ghana, and poverty alleviation.
There are tech young innovators and geniuses, arts and creative entertainers who are constantly supporting the growth of the Ghana, but Mr Rudolf Schirmer Ampofo-Domfeh is the very definition of an innovator, visionary and development promoter in today’s business arena. Before I take you through the groundbreaking plans, innitiatives, projects and the vision of Mr Rudolf Schirmer, let me take you back to the 80s.
Background and Family
On July 8, 1989, a baby was born to Mr Augustine Y. Domfeh and Ms Grace Addai. Given the name Rudolf Schirmer, a Germanic name according to him meaning “fame”, “glory” and “wolf” for Rudolf; “to defend”, “patron” or “master” for Schirmer, with a surname or family name of Ampofo-Domfeh, he grew up in Kumasi as fourth in a family of five children. At age 12, he was involved in the writing of poems, novels and acting in some local movies in Kumasi. He studied at the St. Hubert Seminary, and enrolled into the Catholic University of Ghana to study economics and business administration. Soon after high school, Rudolf Schirmer introduced his first business activity focusing on his talent in entertainment. He produced and promoted movies and other filmmaking activities. He then expanded into consumable and non-consumable product supplies especially with importation of drinks such as Coca Cola, Lucozade and many more from the UK to local markets of Kumasi and Accra. He also dealt in the importation of used electronic gadgets such television sets, fridges and others related. Furtherance, Mr Rudolf Schirmer took his sole proprietorship to small scale contracts on construction works and supplies from various entities. Despite the challenges and failing many times, he thrived to success with “the motivation to be successful”. He re-organized his activities into a limited liability company in 2014 now called Augson Global. He then founded Format Builders & Contractors Ltd to continue his involvement in construction works, The Schirmer Investments Ltd to cater for his interest in property development and investments all in 2017. He also founded The Schirmers Group Inc in New Jersey, USA to expand and extend his fashion and footwear brand to the international markets. Rudolf Schirmer married Lovelace Scirmer Ampofo-Domfeh, an economist and human resource expert in 2017.
Failing many times in business, he was finally successful emanating from innovation, determination and hardworking. He now owns four operating companies with sixteen subsidiaries and a holding company all founded by him operating in various fields.
Businesses founded and owned by Mr Rudolf includes the following:
(Multi-sector investment conglomerate with eight subsidiary companies)
(Property development and investment company)
(Construction engineering firm)
(trading and investment group based in New Jersey, USA)
Groundbreaking Initiatives and Projects
With a convincing interest of becoming a major development partner in Ghana, he initiated Augson Investment Program (AuSIP) with a US$ 50 million Investment threshold for agriculture, social and student housing, commercial facilities and water expansion progrects. The initiative is uplifting the standards of living of low income earners, while promoting rural, urban and pere-urban development.
According to Mr Rudolf Schirmer, this Investment is, but only a tip of the iceberg of what he has in store for Ghana and Africa geared towards enhancing economic growth and poverty reduction. He holds a vision and a plan to invest over a billion US dollars in the next two decades in Augson Investment Program providing, promoting and supporting food security, education, shelter, clean water access, green climate, sanitation, logistics and infrastructure development in Ghana and Africa.
Starting with a US $50 million, Mr Rudolf Schirmer believes it will positively affect lives whilst investing in agricultural mechanization, irrigation and Argo-processing; affordable students and social housing; commercial and recreational facilities; slum upgrading and redevelopment; and rural water expansion and extension. With agriculture, he indicated the delivery of agricultural machinery and equipment services to over 1000 indigenous farmers and farmer groups, establishing micro and small scale agro-processing facilities to be owned on credit by beneficiaries especially youth and women interested in agriculture, offering them trainings, market and promoting campaigns.
Providing low-cost housing facilities, he stated that arrangements are underway to commence construction of students’ halls or residences under their prime brand, Augson Smart Hostels, in two public universities, two nurse and teacher training colleges and one private vocational institute in Ghana. The facilities shall provide a total of 10,000 beds capacity. Further, 5,000 out of 20,000 projected affordable homes are being planned and construction should start soon in Accra, Kumasi, Cape Coast and Sunyani. These new developments shall be name “Omanbapa Villages” meaning ‘home of a good citizen’, he said. He also mentioned the construction and operation of standard market and recreational services five selected districts in Ashanti, Volta, Eastern and Central Regions of Ghana.
Mr Rudolf Schirmer ascertained that the projects were identified to be technically feasible, economically viable, and socially desirable, and it is estimated to provide over 500,000 direct and indirect jobs, and provide accommodation to over 200,000 students and individuals within the five-year period. He also indicated that they shall provide 100 mechanized boreholes in fifteen districts to provide access to clean and quality water to rural settlers.
When confronted with the why-question; why he taking it upon himself to undertake these activities that are normally done or ought to done by the government and related agencies, as an investor? And how was he going to achieve them with five years, this was his response. “I think government is doing its best though more could’ve been done, it is not its responsibility alone to provide such initiatives, I believe it is in our collective interest as Ghanaian and for that matter, Africans to come up with innovative means to build and be drivers of positive change in our countries. The youth especially, and as private-sector entrepreneurial organizations, need to shape the corporate environment in which we do business and ensure that it is conducive for sustainable development and more importantly beneficial to us, the community and nation as whole. Every little thing counts and shouldn’t be taken for granted and likewise every little misconduct”, he said and continued. “I know and agree that these are pretty ambitious projects for a young African like myself, but it is not out of scope. It is about about time we take up more challenging and demanding missions to build our poor countries, our future. Leaders in government are mostly old fellas, and as rightly thought by Mo Ibrahim, how can an old man who wouldn’t be there tomorrow decides and plans on what happens tomorrow for us under these emerging technologies of which they have no clue of. It is a disaster! Instead of we the youth scamming individuals mostly foreigners on the internet, committing punishable cyber-crimes, we could channel the energy and smartness into drawing in investors to join hand in executing mutually beneficial projects and activities.” He said.
He further answered, “the two most important factors critical to the success of AuSIP implementation is the availability of funds and competent and innovative team to deliver. The program is being offered through our own internal funds and by sourcing financial facilities (loans, etc,) whilst seeking the participation and partnership of various stakeholders. Predominantly, self- paying and viable projects are implemented through BOOT or Suplier’s credit or Debt Equity Investments. We have so far made arrangements with partners all over the world spanning USA, Germany, Belarus, Turkey, China, UK, to name but a few, to support and provide us with the needed and technologies for project implementation. Locally, we have partnership arrangements and discussions with various institutions and agencies. We are also surrounded by retired and experienced government officials and renowned company officials who have held various higher positions and have managed much bigger portfolio initiatives as board directors, managers and consultants. We also have like-minded youths with incredible ideas, visions and knowledge to support this mission.” He ended.
When further asked, how ready are you to kick off, he stated, “we have already taken off. To launch this initiative means the foundation has been laid. Currently, production of agricultural tools and machineries are undergoing manufacturing by our partner factories, best farm practices trainers have been arranged both locally and internationally, lands have been acquired for developments and MoUs have been signed with individuals and institutions, and some closing deals very soon. In the coming
months, those ready would have sod-cutting ceremonies to pave way for construction works to begin. More fund finding are also ongoing to secure more loans and grants, collation of beneficiaries and proposals are also being done and reviewed by our team.” He ended.
Sustaining these initiatives, Mr Rudolf Schirmer informed that time tested policies and measures have been drawn to check indiscipline beneficiaries who may deliberately refuse to reimburse their investments. “We have experiences with such non- performers, and so have catered for them in our implementation plan. This will enable us to be able to repay our loans and also sustain and invest more funds.” He said.
Mr Rudolf Schirmer Ampofo-Domfeh has over a decade in business leadership, experienced in all aspects of business formation, operation, finance and management. He is a visionary product developer with deep education in research and analytics, effective communicator and motivator who identifies and leverages assets in teammates to reach organizational goals, and a relentless who believes there’s no failure, only feedback.
He therefore calls on both local and international development partners, investors, and related stakeholders to join hands with him, Augson Global and the Augson Investment Program which is contributing significantly to reducing poverty, whilst creating wealth and uplifting the standards of living of poor communities in Ghana.