The National Service Secretariat (NSS), the University of Professional Studies (UPSA) and Innohub; a Business Accelerator that supports small and growing businesses, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to officially commence the UPSA Venture Lab Entrepreneurial Program.
The UPSA Venture Lab Entrepreneurial Program is a venture-building programme that would support graduate entrepreneurs to incubate their business ideas into sustainable startups for a period of 12 months during their National Service period. The Venture Lab sits under the broader UPSA Enterprise and Innovation Center, designed by the UPSA’s Faculty of Management Studies to work with various faculties and external stakeholders to drive a culture of entrepreneurship within the UPSA student body.
In his speech during the signing ceremony, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of UPSA, Professor Charles Barnor explained that the aim of the Program is to serve as a catalyst in finding lasting solutions to the unemployment challenge in the country especially with regards to the youth after graduation from the university. He also expressed his appreciation and excitement for the partnership between all the organizations involved, and commended the NSS and Innohub for their support.
Professor Charles Barnor stated, “I would like to applaud the National Service Secretariat for supporting this initiative by posting National Service Personnel to the UPSA Enterprise and Innovation Center to enable them to use their service period to develop and grow their businesses. Let me also applaud all partners, Ghartey and Ghartey, Realtek and particularly, Innohub for providing support to this initiative in the necessary training and coaching to our Service Personnel”.
“We begin this partnership with heightened optimism and excitement. As we explore issues relating to the growing unemployment rate of our Motherland, entrepreneurship in the uncertain era, amongst many other issues, I implore all of us to actively get involved and make the best out of this opportunity.” the Pro Vice-Chancellor continued.
The Chief Executive Officer of Innohub, Mr. Nelson Madiba Amo, who is also an Advisory Board Member of the UPSA Enterprise and Innovation Center, expressed that Innohub is very pleased to offer business advisory support to the participants of the program to ensure their ideas become a reality. He also relayed that one of the core mandates of Innohub is to support the growth of ventures by young people through capacity development, coaching, business development support and access to funding.
Mr. Nelson Madiba Amo bemoaned the fact that lots of students with fantastic ideas end up forgetting about the ideas right after University as they do not identify the needed support systems to help them build on it.
He continued “We thought that for those who are very much passionate about their ideas, we will help and support them to launch their idea through the National Service engagement”
Innohub’s support to the Venture Lab Entrepreneurial Program among others shall include; support UPSA in the design of the programme structure, support in the recruitment and screening of applicants for the programme, train the young entrepreneurs using the framework and curriculum over the agreed training period, provide business development services to the entrepreneurs, and investor-matching support for the investor ready ventures on the programme.
The Executive Director of the National Service Secretariat, Osei Assibey Antwi in his speech recounted that upon his appointment to the NSS he rallied his team and urged them to come up with a strategy that would help solve the high rate of unemployment of Personnel after their National Service period. He noted that one of the most ideal solution to the challenge is to collaborate with institutions, and so the partnership with UPSA, and Innohub on the Venture Lab Entrepreneurial Program was a great one.
Mr Antwi stated “even though the NSS have a lot of partnership we know this one is going to be extraordinary.”
He also highlighted how beneficial the program will be for the students as they undergo training in an important sector like agribusiness. He emphasized that the program will be an avenue that can support the entrepreneurs export their products to other countries.
Mr Antwi expressed his delight and confidence that by the end of the program, a lot of businesses would have been established to contribute to Ghana’s economic growth.
Present during the signing ceremony was Dr. Fidelis Quansah, Dean of the Faculty Management Studies at UPSA, who is the initiator and main anchor for the UPSA Enterprise and Innovation Center. Also present were Mr. Richard Osei, Dr. Gerald Nyanyofio, Dr George Agbemebiase, Professor Raymond Dziwornu, Rev. Theophilus Tetteh, Dr. Ernest Abrahams, Dr. Andrews Ayiku, Mr. Oxford Osei Bonsu, Mr. Obed Twum, Mr. Kweku Ohene-Gyan, as well as 18 entrepreneurs being supported in the Venture Lab