On July 13, 2023, Anna Bjerde, esteemed Managing Director of the World Bank, led a delegation on a momentous visit to the Ghana Innovation Hub, located within the vibrant confines of the Accra Digital Center. This visit marked a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to revolutionize Ghana’s digital economy, as the delegation sought to gain invaluable firsthand insights into transformative projects supported by the World Bank.
As an integral component of the E-Transform Project under the Ministry of Communication, the Ghana Innovation Hub receives substantial funding from the World Bank, with additional support from the Government of Ghana (GoG). The hub plays a vital role in equipping young entrepreneurs with innovative skills and facilitating the establishment of start-ups that address various societal challenges, aligning with the government’s digital transformation agenda.
Expressing satisfaction with Ghana’s burgeoning entrepreneurship drive, the World Bank lauded the government’s commitment to harnessing digital entrepreneurship and fostering the creation of digital innovation centers for young individuals to embark on their start-up journeys.
During a media interaction, Anna Bjerde encouraged young entrepreneurs to embrace innovation and elevate their skill sets, enabling them to offer goods and services that meet the demands of the job market. She further advised these aspiring business leaders to continuously evaluate their growth, successes, and challenges within the market landscape, remaining adaptable to emerging trends and maintaining a competitive edge in their respective industries.
During the visit, Bjerde and her delegation engaged in fruitful discussions with Ghanaian policymakers, entrepreneurs, and innovators who have been at the forefront of the digital revolution. Some of the entrepreneurs who have benefited from the various entrepreneurship programme organized by the Ghana innovation hub were presented during the time of visit showcasing their products, making sales as well as networking
The visit served as a pivotal moment for these entrepreneurs, as they had the chance to not only showcase their products but also engage in meaningful sales conversations with potential customers and investors. It was an opportune time for these talented individuals to build valuable connections, expand their networks, and explore partnerships that could propel their businesses to new heights.
During the World Bank’s visit, Richard Yeboah, the Managing Director of MDF West Africa, delivered a speech. He highlighted that the Ghana Innovation Hub was set up in 2018 together with Blue Space Africa, Ghana Communication Technology University, with MDF in the lead, as an ecosystem hub, meaning that besides supporting startups, early-stage businesses, and SMEs to use digital technology to scale up their business, we also support Enterprise Support Organisations with capacity building enabling them to provide the same services as we do. We pride ourselves to be the leading example for other Hubs, so we do experiment with new concepts and methodologies to become more inclusive (i.e. kids corner for nursing mothers), digital training tools: https://platform.skill-ed.org/app/index.html?id=orange_corners_ghana
He also said many of the companies we have supported need follow-up support to scale, as they are developing new business models that need upfront larger investments so that they can provide concept as a service instead of as a product (i.e. Mamaakiban of WashKing Limited www.washkinggh.com, IoT service in agriculture machines of Sayetech https://sayetech.io/)
Additionally, Richard Yeboah also highlighted that being an ecosystem hub has created several spin-offs, enabling other INGO, development partners, and other government entities supporting startups and MSMEs to partner with us to execute their enterprise support activities, to name a few: JICA – NINJA, British Council – Jobs for the Youth, Dutch government co-funded Orange Corners Acceleration Program and the Mastercard foundation funded MSME Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Program.
The visit by the World Bank Managing Director and her delegation serves as a testament to the Ghana Innovation Hub’s significant contributions to the advancement of the digital landscape and the empowerment of young entrepreneurs. Through its comprehensive programs and collaborative partnerships, the hub is playing a vital role in propelling Ghana’s digital economy forward.
Article by: Priscilla Eleanor Wilson, MDF West Africa