This is the 3rd article in a series of 4-5 interviews with some of the major Business Incubators / Accelerators in Ghana. Today’s interview is with Frank Yeboah Okoh, Fiifi Baidoo and Josiah Kwesi Eyison.
The 1st interview with Dr. Belinda Gail Quarterman- Noah, from the Founder Institute (FI), was published on Tuesday the 19th of June 2017 at the B&FT newspaper; it can be found here: http://hireloyalty.com/ghana-incubators1
The 2nd was with Jorge Appiah, the CEO of Kumasi Hive – obviously in Kumasi; it is also to be found here:http://hireloyalty.com/ghana-incubators2
But, let’s go on with the interview please.
(Disclaimer: Neither the publisher of this interview nor do I we have any financial gain nor any financial motivation, nor do I personally know the interviewees as friends)
Spiros: Can you -please- describe in a short paragraph your incubator / accelerator activities?
iSpace: We have two main incubator activities- they are: The Incubator Program and the Accelerator Program.
- The iSpace Incubator Programme
This program has been designed to help women transform their passion and ideas into a viable business. The program explores and applies relevant business models and concepts intended to help students “think outside the box”.
Our students are challenged to explore different activities as a starting point for entrepreneurial success. The students are taken through a 6-month intensive training to equip them with Business Development strategies.
1b. The iSpace Accelerator Program
Startup time here is limited to a 3-month period. The basic intention is to help jump-start the business ideas of the students and then proceed into our Incubation Program.
The students’ time in our accelerator program largely improves their chances of raising venture capital from a third party. The students also acquire customers after they graduate from the program.
Mentorship could be coming from a network of entrepreneurs that are affiliated with iSpace (many of which are proven Founders looking for the opportunity of helping the local startup community).
Spiros: Is there a formal learning Programme? Can you -please- tell us about it in 1-2 lines?
iSpace: We have structured learning programs and one of these is CODE SCHOOL.
Spiros: What are your USPs as incubator / accelerator?
iSpace: We believe our role in the startup ecosystem is to provide a conducive environment for growth, and we achieve this by providing: Office Space, Funding, Training And Mentoring.
Spiros: What are the plus and minus points of your incubator/ accelerator Programme?
iSpace: To help build the technical and business ideas of startups in the community has been a great success to us. iSpace has also taken quality time to train women under the Unlocking Women and Technology program and have gone through intensive incubator and accelerator activities.
We have been able to build the capacities of startups to understand the entrepreneurial concept. iSpace has created and developed over 120 startups from the incubator and accelerator programs and these startups are in serious business and making revenue.
The minus point of this is the kind of mindset and attitudes some of the startups do exhibit during the programs. Some of these startups join the training with different motives which affect their punctuality and enthusiasm.
During assessment, we realized that some of the startups joined the program because they had nothing to do home. Others also joined because they needed funds for their private activities, and they leave the program after receiving funding.
This became a challenge for iSpace, but we have developed a different way to do our recruitment for the programs. One objective of these programs is to build the tech and business ideas and capacities of startups, especially women in our startup ecosystem.
Spiros: Please name the successful companies that have come out of your Programme during the last 3 years. Accompanying URLs will be greatly appreciated.
iSpace: iSpace has been able to generate successful startups from the incubator and accelerator programs.
Below are some successful startups with their URL:
Ist Selection https://1stselections.com
PQ NUGGET http://sylvesteraryee.com/pqnugget
Tech Advocacy Network http://techadvocacynetwork.org
Spiros: Can you comment on the network of your mentors and other specialists and how they have proven beneficial for your startups?
iSpace: Mentorship has been key to the development of Startups in our community.
We have local and international mentors, and this has helped our startups gain insight from public eye. We have an online community of mentors who engage with the startups on a weekly basis as well.
Spiros: What are your graduates’ venture funding and equity valuation
iSpace: Having focused heavily on the development on these early stage startups, we have not evaluated them yet. However, most of them have a bit of traction and we have scheduled evaluation for the second quarter of this year
To all honesty and that is my personal opinion, iSpace is a lot more interesting organization that I originally thought them to be.
That said, I am once again thankful to Fiifi, Frank, and Josiah for both taking the time for this interview and for their openness / transparency.
Thank you and Good Luck,
About iSpace and Spiros:
Spiros Tsaltas –a PR Practitioner & former University Professor, is a PRrincipal at HireLoyalty (www.HireLoyalty.com) , the only Strategic PR Firm in West Africa that Consults (How-To) , Measures (Test-To) and Trains (Learn-To) in anything relating to Customer Loyalty and Loyalty- focused PR.
They welcome all your comments/ remarks/ feedback /suggestions at Press [at] HireLoyalty.com. HireLoyalty can be reached at +233 20 741 3060 or +233 26 835 2026
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