ORID & Partners Launch Innovation for African Universities Connecting Accra Project
As part of efforts to promote entrepreneurship skills among students at the University, the Office of Research, Innovation and Development, in partnership with Impact Hub Accra, and Imperial College London has opened the “Innovation for African Universities Connecting Accra project”.
The project, which is supported by the British Council, aims at building the capacity of students to enable them to develop successful businesses. Twenty-eight (28) teams, comprising almost one hundred (100) students, are participating in the project which will end in July 2022. These students will be housed at the University of Ghana Business School Innovation and Incubation Hub (The UGBS NEST).
Delivering the opening remarks for the start of the project, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Development, Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante. pointed out that the initiative is premised on the persistent challenge of unemployment. He said the project forms part of the University’s “continuous mandate to empower our students to create jobs rather than form part of a mass group of university graduates that are disappointed by the high rate of employment deficit that Ghana currently faces”.
Prof. Asante indicated that the project has completed the first phase of understanding the entrepreneurial needs of students. This was done through a series of round table events and virtual coaching sessions held with students of the University. “In the second phase of the project, which we are officially launching, we have recruited 28 student-entrepreneurial teams consisting of about a hundred students who will be trained, coached and mentored for the next two months”, Prof. Asante stated.
He also indicated that when the programme ends, “the best innovations from the cohort of students-entrepreneurs will be exhibited” at a grand event.
Earlier, the Dean of UGBS, Prof. Justice Bawole, explained that the programme was important as it would “consolidate conversations around how to get young people to think differently and create jobs themselves”
As part of the launch, there was a panel discussion that featured six young business owners on keys to developing ideas that can become viable businesses. Tha panel members were Dr George Acheampong, UGBS; Kevin Blankson, SWoove; Hillary Adare, Wonfliki; Worlaenam Sika, Sikaba; Deborah A.N. Nyarko-Mensah and Dr Kelechi Ofoegbu, both of Impact Hub, Accra.
After the event, facilitators of the project, including Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante and Prof Elsie Effa Kaufmann of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, toured the UGBS NEST.
Some University officials present at the event included Rev. Dr Mrs Bridget Ben-Naimah, Director of Careers and Counselling Centre and Prof David Dodoo-Arhin, Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
Representatives from the Impact Hub, Accra and Imperial College London also joined the event virtually.