May. 17, 2017 09:00AM EST
For most students and young professionals, first apartments are a painful rite of passage. The lessons often start after the first week: a sputtering air conditioner or the sinking realization that mice are noisy roommates. While not all landlords are exploitative, the fierce competition for housing in America’s largest cities puts young tenants at a disadvantage.
When Makafui Ayimey left his job as communications manager to launch his startup, Accra Goods Market, searching for an office space in a city of sky-high rents seemed daunting. “I wanted an affordable space, and the ability to network with like-minded entrepreneurs,” he says. But with the average monthly office rent in Accra hovering around $1.63 per square foot—a price comparable to office rents in Atlanta and Dallas—securing a space seemed near impossible.