C/O Nigel Mathias

Fifth-year men’s basketball player Kwasi Adu-Poku shares how he created his own business to motivate others

As the fall 2020 semester comes to an end, students continue to struggle with finding the balance between work, school and extracurriculars, all the while keeping themselves safe from COVID-19. Fifth-year McMaster University student and men’s basketball player, Kwasi Adu-Poku has been through his fair share of ups and downs this year. From all the experiences he has gathered, he felt that it was a time to give back to the student community.

Adu-Poku created The Reach Series after coming across an idea from Vince Luciani of Legacy Coaching. From the guidance and mentorship that Luciani gave Adu-Poku, he felt that it was his time to share a message and help uplift individuals. 

“It gave me the confidence to make a business with the goal of empowering people,” said Adu-Poku.

The Reach Series is where Adu-Poku turned his real-life experiences into relatable lessons. From these lessons, he develops motivational workshops. His first goal was to run the workshops for four weeks in two formats: group settings and one-on-ones

A benefit of the group workshops that Adu-Poku realized was that attendees could relate to each other and thus the workshop itself became more interactive. In terms of the one-on-ones, he believed that it would provide individuals with more time and space for reflection, with some personalized guidance. 

“The big thing was that it was a constructive and organized way to uplift people through online workshops,” said Adu-Poku.

“The big thing was that it was a constructive and organized way to uplift people through online workshops,” said Adu-Poku.

Each workshop would be a safe space that was based on an experience of his own life. Although they are somewhat structured, Adu-Poku encourages all discussion within the space. For example, during the third week, his workshop dove into the issue of mental health, where he touched upon some of his own personal struggles during his past couple years of undergrad. 

“It is ok to have these problems and I hope to provide them with various outlets and resources,’’ Adu-Poku emphasized.

As Adu-Poku explained, the premise of The Reach Series is to relate to what is going on in the world and help uplift people to the best of his ability. One such example is a charity drive Adu-Poku co-created, in which they were able to raise $360.

“Why not support these causes but help the world on a larger scale?” said Adu-Poku.

Despite working for his older brother’s business in the past, The Reach Series is the first entrepreneurial endeavour Adu-Poku has embarked on. As a student, he understands the need to manage his time while also staying on top of school responsibilities.

“When I started to make [The Reach Series], it was a four-week blitz before school got heavy. It takes up my time with extracurricular activities and graduate school applications . . . Time and stress management [have] been key,” said Adu-Poku. 

“When I started to make [The Reach Series], it was a four-week blitz before school got heavy. It takes up my time with extracurricular activities and graduate school applications . . . Time and stress management [have] been key,” said Adu-Poku. 

From a business perspective, he has not suffered like many other small businesses have due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since Adu-Poku is a student with career aspirations in the field of economic policy, his business likely will not be his main career when he graduates from McMaster. Yet, he continues The Reach Series in order to continue spreading messages of positivity. 

“Even with the prices I was recommended to charge, I lowered it and made it more affordable for people to [attend] these workshops. From a financial point of view, I charge a bit to value my time but ensure it’s worth it and accessible for [the attendees],” said Adu-Poku. 

“Even with the prices I was recommended to charge, I lowered it and made it more affordable for people to [attend] these workshops. From a financial point of view, I charge a bit to value my time but ensure it’s worth it and accessible for [the attendees],” said Adu-Poku. 

He is currently looking at making his business a non-profit organization.

Despite running the workshops by himself, he has hosted guest speakers in the past. His first guest speaker, Mussa Gikineh, was the 2020 valedictorian for the DeGroote School of Business. They both participated in a panel after which they discussed a possible collaboration that surmounted in the charity drive, which was actually created by both Adu-Poku and Gikineh. 

Just recently, Adu-Poku hosted the Hoopers Talk, an event where they looked at athletes from outside the court. The event acted as a space to support Ontario University Athletics basketball players after the cancellation of their season due to the pandemic. 

As of now, the workshops only run virtually. Despite it being convenient due to no transportation, Adu-Poku says he would like to bring people close in person, but only when it is safe to do so. With that being said, the feedback he received has been exceptional, with attendees feeling a new sense of community.

As Adu-Poku plans to graduate in April 2021, The Reach Series is something he hopes to continue on the side.

“I feel like using this platform to genuinely uplift others and interact with them can not only get me some income but also provide me some sort of fulfillment,” says Adu-Poku.

“I feel like using this platform to genuinely uplift others and interact with them can not only get me some income but also provide me some sort of fulfillment,” says Adu-Poku.

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