The Chief Executive officer of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, Mr. Kofi Ofosu Nkansah has launched the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Week, signaling the commencement of a series of activities planned to sensitize the Ghanaian populace on the importance of innovation and startups to Ghana’s economic development.
Speaking to the press at the launch on Wednesday 7th June 2023, Mr. Nkansah explained that the innovation and start-up ecosystem is significantly different from the MSME ecosystem, requiring a tailor-made framework to make a meaningful impact in the Innovation Space, hence, the need for more focus on Innovation, which is why NEIP will channel more efforts and resources to achieving a vibrant and robust Innovation culture.
Mr. David Ofori, Director of Innovation at NEIP, in his introductory remarks, said Innovation and Entrepreneurship have become the bedrock of all thriving economies the world over and Ghana cannot be an exception, in our quest to grow our economy. NEIP is the unique government agency mandated to provide an inclusive and end-to-end platform to identify and scout for innovators and support them through proof of concept, business development services, access to market, and investor readiness.
Mr. Ofosu Nkansah listed a number of strategies the NEIP will employ to achieve the aim;
• To devote significant resources to programs that unearth innovations and deliver mentoring and coaching to highly innovation-based startups.
• Provide direct and indirect funding support to third-party institutions such as tech hubs, incubators, accelerators, and other business development service providers, who provide business support for innovation-based start-ups
• The NEIP will establish knowledge transfer partnership schemes by placing young people into Innovation based start-up clusters for them to conduct strategic innovation projects. Ghanaians are culturally not inclined to partner with others for collaboration and synergies, so this is one of the ways we hope to address this issue.
• Scouting for Innovation Ideas through contests, challenges, and competitions in partnership with corporate institutions and foundations, offering study tours to both local and international incubators and Hubs, and promoting online entrepreneurship and innovation courses.
• The NEIP will organize competitions aimed at encouraging innovation and creative thinking among students.
• Finally, annual innovation, ideation, and creative thinking scouting trips to various districts will be embarked upon to hunt for Innovation based start-ups and innovation talents.
In furtherance to this aim, programmes have been designed to run to the end of the year, culminating in the NEIP Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase in November 2023.
This will be a vibrant marketplace where Innovators and entrepreneurs will exhibit their innovative products and services. This will be organized on the sidelines of the symposium. The fair will showcase some of the Innovative products and services from NEIP beneficiaries.
Other programmes scheduled to be undertaken this year are Senior High School Innovation Challenge: The SHS Innovation Challenge is a competition that will bring together students from second-cycle schools across Ghana. The event will be organized on a zonal basis, with schools from various zones participating in series of innovation challenges.
The Challenge will encourage students to develop innovative solutions to real-world problems, enhancing their critical thinking abilities and nurturing their entrepreneurial mindset. Schools that present the most Innovative Ideas and make it to the finals will be given awards and will get support from NEIP to commercialize their ideas and solutions.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Symposium: The symposium will host stakeholders from academia, innovation space, investors, entrepreneurs, Policymakers, and others from the innovation and Entrepreneurship ecosystem. The summit will host keynote speakers who will be speaking on topics relating to innovation, Intellectual property, Licensing and Patenting of inventions, Copyrights, Innovation Regulation, and Innovation commercialization among others.
Hackathon Competition: This will be an event for participants to engage collaboratively, using Technology over a short period of time to produce solutions for Sector-specific problems. Participants will showcase their ideas in front of a distinguished panel of judges and potential investors.
This competition will not only foster a competitive spirit in participants but will also provide invaluable exposure and networking opportunities that can transform ideas into thriving businesses.
Mr. Ofosu Nkansah called on all to join in the efforts to promote the culture of innovation in a collaborative manner for the benefit of the economy.