Ten Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME’s) in the Western Region, have graduated in the first cohort SNV GrEEn incubation programme.
The beneficiaries undertook six months of incubation at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) Business Incubation Hub (U-Hub), Duapa WerkSpace and AABN.
Each participating venture was awarded a certificate at the end of the programme.
They are ; Mr Kobena Bortsie Ayensu Breton of Keinem ventures, Mr Jesse Rolland Prah, Rolland Rice, Mr Anthony Ackah Anyimah, On rock firm, Mr Peter Kyei Fresh life 360 and Mr Blankson Asiako, Blankrich company limited.
Others are Nana Yaa Manu Adjei, Water force ventures, Madam Deborah Dick Woode, DD lines, Mr Frank Frimpong, F&F electricals and Mr Joseph Otoo, Biotech Ghana Limited.
Addressing the participants at the close-out ceremony held at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa, the Dean of the Office of Research, Innovation and Consultancy (ORIC), Associate Professor Solomon Nunoo, said the U-Hub was the University’s vehicle for commercializing innovations and business ideas at the UMaT.
He said it was additionally a centre for building the capacity of young entrepreneurs as part of the University’s extension delivery to its catchment area.
“The journey to establish a business incubation hub began in 2015 when we instituted an Annual Innovation and Career Fair to encourage and advance innovations within the University Community, especially among students,” he explained.
These fairs, Associate Prof Nunoo, said “serve as platforms for students to pitch problem-solving innovations and the best among the lot, mostly ten of them, were rewarded and supported to further develop their innovations and ideas.”
He stated further that “As a University, we ensure that every student takes a course in Business Entrepreneurship. Therefore, the establishment of U-Hub was not only to provide the continuum for transitioning from Innovation and Career Fairs into business incubation, but also to ensure a link between the theory of entrepreneurial courses in the classroom with the practice of initiating, owning and running a business.”
According to him, the course was to ensure that students with innovative and business ideas actualized them by establishing businesses to employ themselves and others.
He said, “The Hub was set up to promote business start-ups by transforming innovative projects and ideas into commercial products and services and to strengthen University-Industry relations to build the capacity of young entrepreneurs.
The opportunity given U-Hub to be service provider under the SNV GrEEn Project has been of immense relevance to our cause.”
“In the first Cohort, U-Hub had three SMEs, and all were into the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector, one into plastic recycling for the plastic product manufacturing market and two in the production of soap and hand sanitizers, are now being phased out from the incubation programme, and phased into a mentorship programme from now until the end of the year” Associate Prof Nunoo explained.
He added that “In the second cohort, we would have a total of six SMEs.Three of the SMEs would be in Agriculture and Food Production Sector, comprising two in the animal husbandry and crop farming and one in to non traditional farming to include mushroom production; while the remaining two would be in the WASH sector, specifically plastic/material recycling; and one in the Renewable Energy Sector, producing briquettes, an alternative to traditional charcoal production.”
He noted that as a University and a Hub, they have the needed expertise in the Green Economy and stressed that, “on sector-specific terms, we have the Environmental and Safety Engineering and the Renewable Energy Engineering Departments, to provide both the theorical foundations and also the laboratories to test products for the market.”
He indicated that the Human Resource and the in-house experts together with the industrial collaborators would provide the U-Hub the right mix of what is needed to ensure that their incubatees were among the best.
Again, he noted that “The SNV GrEEn Project provided us an opportunity to demonstrate this and we look forward to better times ahead in our collective effort to formalize the existing SME sector and to support business start-ups of young people to provide jobs for themselves and their peers in order to reduce unemployment in Ghana.”
Madam Genevieve Parker-Twum, Senior Incubation and Acceleration Advisor for SNV GrEEn project, said, “the GrEEn Project is an European Union funded programme that SNV Ghana is implementing with the United Nations Capital Development Fund”.
She said the aim was to boost GrEEn employment and enterprise opportunities in Ghana.
The programme is being implemented in the Ashanti and Western Regions.
Madam Parker-Twum emphasized that “These SMEs for the past six months have been in an incubation programme and supported by our local hubs Duapa WerkSpace, AABN and U-Hub that we worked with.”
She stated that U-Hub has been a centre, where the SMEs have found the necessary support needed to build upon their foundation, regularize the registration of businesses, expand their market to improve on access to finance and how to attract investment if they put in the right structures.
“Eventhough those graduating are no more in the programme we would continue to support them in anyway we can. There are a lot of interventions they can take advantage of under the GrEEn Project,” she said.
Madam Parker-Twum pointed out that the programme which was initiated by SNV together with their implementing partners in November 2020, currently incubates are a total of 25 MSME’s in the Western Region.
Nana Yaa Manu Adjei, a beneficiary and Chief Executive Officer of Water Force ventures, a firm that offers skin care products, expressed her appreciation to SNV Ghana and its partners.
“I was not branding my products properly but now l have certified all my products and the organizers have linked me to Afrilabs.
Currently l have people in all the sixteen regions selling my products” she added.