Airport City, Accra, photographed by an Aeroshutter drone.

Taking Flight: The Story of Aeroshutter — Ghana’s First Drone Company

How Ghana’s first drone creative agency is using unmanned aerial vehicles to support local businesses and capture Ghana in a way you’ve never seen before.

Falk Benke
Feb 7, 2016 · 10 min read

— Ghanaian Entrepreneurs #3 —

Ghanaian Entrepreneurs is an interview series celebrating Ghanaian business owners at home and abroad who’re building businesses, making moves, and making Ghana proud.

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Thanks for joining us today, Kwamena. Kindly introduce yourself!

Thanks for having me! I’m Kwamena Hazel Jnr., a banker and entrepreneur at heart, an only son with three beautiful sisters, and a graduate of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with a Computer Science degree. I’ve worked in Ghana’s banking sector for 6 years, and I’m also co-founder and CEO of Aeroshutter, a local drone company here in Ghana.

Kwamena Hazel Junior.

What exactly do you do with your drones at Aeroshutter, and why did you decide to start a drone company?

We use our drones primarily for aerial photography. As the drone flies overhead, we take photos and videos that show Ghana from an angle that no one has ever seen before.

Kids holding a drone at Korle Gonno.

Who are your clients? Who needs these kind of photos?

Our first assignment ever was taking photos for a real estate developer. He used the images to better understand his plot of land, and also used them in marketing material to increase sales. We’ve found that beautiful aerial view of properties can increase sales by as much as 40%.

EL performing at a Vodafone X show, photographed by an Aeroshutter drone.

What kind of new applications are you thinking of?

Our drones can help mining, construction, and agricultural companies in West Africa boost their productivity.

Senorita Banana Plantation, photographed by an Aeroshutter drone.

What does it take to start a drone business?

Shooting a music video at Mole National Park, Northern Region.

And what if I just want to fly a drone for fun?

That’s great! Anyone who is interested in casual drone flying should join our drone racing club, Aero Arcade. We fly small, crash-proof drones through an obstacle course and compete with other drone fans. These races are big in the U.S. already, and we want to make them just as popular in Ghana.

What’re some of the most memorable flights you’ve done?

I particularly remember a flight over Takoradi Market Circle. No-one at the market had ever seen a drone before, so I was quickly surrounded by over 100 people. It was amazing!

Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama.

Talking about safety, are there any regulations around drone flights in Ghana?

The GCAA and National Security are currently drawing up guidelines for drone pilots guidelines. Aeroshutter has pioneered the creation of a drone pilots association to help promote safer flying among local drone pilots. The group will also help us speak as one voice when necessary.

What can we expect from Aeroshutter this year?

A lot more requests are coming through, sometimes for jobs we didn’t even know drones could help with. So we’re planning to expand the team to ten people this year. We don’t want to disappoint clients.

An aerial shot of Rattray Park in Kumasi, photographed by an Aeroshutter drone.

You’re a serial entrepreneur. Tell us a bit about your other businesses.

In addition to Aeroshutter, I run a sock fashion brand called HueMan with my cousins.

The recently installed Power Barge that supplies electricity to Ghana’s national grid, photographed by an Aeroshutter drone.

What inspires you?

I love reading about where the world is going. I keep up with the latest tech and business trends, because I don’t want to lose out. I also have a network of friends who always share the latest news from Silicon Valley and we’re always talking about the newest gadgets.

The Chale Wote Street Art Festival 2015 in the Jamestown neighbourhood of Accra, photographed by an Aeroshutter drone.

What is it like doing business in Ghana?

It can be difficult to get started. I found getting my company registered very painful, and the frequent power blackouts didn’t help. I’d advise anyone thinking about starting a business in Ghana to save a fair bit of money before starting — funding isn’t easily accessible.

The Kempinski Hotel photographed by an Aeroshutter drone.

How did your parents support your entrepreneurial drive?

I am thankful to my parents for allowing me to explore my interests and supporting me as I pursued them.

The Accra Furqan International Mosque photographed by an Aeroshutter drone.

What advice would you give to a Ghanaian abroad who’s thinking about returning home?

I have numerous relatives abroad who want to come back to start something here. For example, a cousin is a sports scientist who wants to build a sports facility in Ghana to nurture sports talent.

Is there anyone, you would like to thank?

Yes! I’d like to thank the whole Aeroshutter team: Samuel Dakurah, Caleb Kwei, Derrick Cobbinah, Caleb Amoakohene, and Kwame Kino. They’re amazing, because they understand our vision and bring so much passion to the business. I owe them a lot.

Thank you for chatting with us, Kwamena.

Thank you for having me!

Aeroshutter Snapshot

Company: Aeroshutter (aeroshuttergh.com)
Founders: Kwamena Hazel Jnr., Samuel Dakurah
Contact: info@aeroshuttergh.com

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