A Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) institute, Design and Technology Institute (DTI) and the Mastercard Foundation have awarded a $22,000 seed capital to five entrepreneurs who emerged as winners of a community innovative competition.
The competition is a business pitch and acceleration programme designed to identify and scale-up promising women and youth-led enterprises with potentials of creating sustainable employment for young Ghanaians.
Participants in key thematic sectors of the economy that included agriculture, water and sanitation, plastics recycling and e-waste embarked on in-depth sector research and engagements with communities in order to identify and solve challenges with youth-led solutions.
The overall winner of the competition, AB Group, which was responsible for the design of an adjustable barbecue received $7,000, with the first runner-up, Mighty Men and second runner up, Haidelis Engineering receiving $5,000 and $4,000 respectively.
Cadela Company was adjudged the Most Promising Idea of the competition with its mechanised seed planter innovation while Volkano Tech was adjudged the Best Female Enterprise for manufacturing a green incinerator. Both separately received a $3,000 prize.
DTI would also provide mentorship opportunities and business advisory services for the winners for a further 24 months.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DTI, Constance Swaniker, in an address said an innovation hub has been set up with the aim of building a portfolio of grassroots start-ups that will be incubated and supported with seed capital, business development services, access to market, and a work shed to grow promising innovations from ideation into sustainable businesses.
Emerging start-up, she said, will serve as a pipeline to unearth youth entrepreneurs who will act as enablers in solving youth unemployment by creating an anticipated 450 direct and indirect jobs.
“We are excited to introduce the Community Innovation Competition to help develop the entrepreneurial skills of Ghana’s youth as a solution to the high unemployment rate in Ghana,” said Constance Swaniker, CEO of DTI.
She added that DTI and its partners believe in bringing out the innovative and creative abilities of learners to create jobs and provide solutions for communities and industries.
In all, 17 groups of young entrepreneurs participated in the competition which commenced on May 13, 2021, and 10 ten teams were selected for the semi-final stage.
The five most outstanding groups with the most innovative ideas and potential to scale-up were selected as winners by a panel of judges drawn from academia and industry who evaluated ideas based on originality, potential impact, practicality, and scalability.
The competition forms part of a three-year Young Africa Works “Transforming youth TVET livelihoods for sustainable jobs’’ partnership between DTI and the Mastercard Foundation.
The programme is expected to provide 40,000 direct and indirect work opportunities for young people in the country.
The Ghana Lead for Education and Skills at the Foundation, James McInytre said that “providing an ecosystem where young entrepreneurs are supported to acquire relevant skills, funding and market access will contribute significantly to catalysing work opportunities for young Ghanaians.”
By Issah Mohammed