Five businesses out of the six that made it to the final pitch of Design and Technology Institute’s (DTI) Community Innovative Competition were rewarded with various cash amounts as seed funds to scale-up their business.
After several weeks of hard work and thinking outside the box to create tailor-made products that address identified challenges in communities, a team of prominent judges drawn from industry and academia selected five businesses as the winners in a competition that started with about 18 business ideas.
AB Group, designer and developer of an adjustable barbecue grill, was adjudged winner of the competition, receiving seed funds of US$7,000 to fine-tune the product and scale-up production so as to bring some relief to kebab makers all over the country.
Mighty Men, developers of a spraying machine with multiple spraying outlets, placed second and were awarded US$5,000. Haidelis Engineering received US$4,000 as the second runner-up prize, while Cadela Company, developer of a mechanised seed-planter, and Volkano Tech, developer of a green incinerator, received US$3,000 each in the special awards category for Most Promising Idea and Best Female Enterprise respectively.
The tech-based innovation competition, with funding support from the Mastercard Foundation, was deigned to identify and scale-up promising women and youth-led enterprises with the potential to create sustainable employment for young Ghanaians.
The programme honours learners and enterprises with innovative and creative ideas in key thematic sectors of the economy: including agriculture, water and sanitation, plastics recycling, e-waste and other related industries.
Participants, as part of the project requirement, were involved in an in-depth sector-based research and engaged with communities – during which stage they co-designed youth-led solutions to directly fix the identified community-based problem.
Chief Executive Officer-DTI, Constance Swaniker, indicated that the businesses emerging from the competition will serve as a pipeline to unearth youth entrepreneurs who will act as enablers in solving youth unemployment by creating an anticipated 450 direct and indirect jobs.
“In line with our mission to solve one of Africa’s greatest challenges, which is youth unemployment and unmet skills requirements, we decided to invest in its next generation; and along with our partners the Mastercard Foundation under its young Africa strategy, we have the mandate to crate 40,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2022.
“One of our core concerns is that when we teach young people, we have to see an outcome; so with the core precision-welding and fabrication programme that we are doing, students enter a competition wherein young people are given seed capital. So, we first teach entrepreneurship and then they have the opportunity to enter into a business competition and earn seed capital to scale-up,” she said.
Furthermore, she reiterated that we are living in a time when continuous innovation is key for sustained growth and development – and as such, DTI believes in bringing out the innovative and creative abilities of the youth as a catalyst to create jobs and provide solutions for communities and industries.
The competition forms part of a three-year Young Africa Works’ ‘Transforming youth TVET livelihoods for sustainable jobs’ partnership between DTI and the Mastercard Foundation. Young Africa Works is the Mastercard Foundation’s strategy that will enable 30 million young people, particularly young women, to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.