- as DTI commissions an ultra-modern workshop and makerspace
The Design and Technology Institute (DTI) has rewarded five learner groups of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with seed capital of US$25,000 to support their business ideas under its pre-accelerator programme.
The competition, which is part of DTI’s Community Innovative Project (CIP), is a business pitch and accelerator initiative designed to identify, recognise and support promising student-led enterprises with the potential to scale and create sustainable jobs for the teeming unemployed youth.
The initiative honours learners with creative and innovative ideas in agriculture, water and sanitation, plastics recycling, e-waste, and other sectors of the economy. Participants, as part of the competition, were involved in in-depth research and engagement with communities to co-design solutions to address communal problems in a sustainable manner.
Master Kraft, the overall winner, developed a multi-purpose wheelchair for the aged and the physically challenged, and received US$10,000 as seed capital to invest in their business.
The team lead of Master Kraft, Mattew Tietaah, speaking to the media, indicated that combining academics with the entrepreneurship project was a difficult task to execute, but hard work and determination with an eye on the prize at stake motivated the team to put in their best.
“We have learnt a lot on this project, and are very confident that we can use this seed capital to commence operation and scale up the business to solve societal problems,” he said.
The first runner-up, Tom SB, developed a burglar-proof security system and received US$7,000. The second runner-up, Quickserve, developed a mobile app for the supply of welders and digital innovators and received US$5,000 while for the consolation prize, FIRM-JZ, developers of a multipurpose ladder trolley, and Nine Tech Engineers – AdvansRule received US$1,500 each.
The five winners would graduate and advance with their prototypes into a six-month pre-acceleration programme. The pre-acceleration programme will serve as a platform for the winners to gain extensive business management and financial operational resources, and will be the catalyst for fundraising activities and investment opportunities at DTI.
Founder and CEO of DTI, Constance Swaniker, congratulated the five teams on their well-deserved qualification for the grand finale, and stated that as a Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centre of excellence, it believes that empowering youth-led SMEs is crucial in driving Ghana’s economic development and accelerating progress toward achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide opportunities for youth-led SMEs to scale up and reach their entrepreneurial potential through our Community Innovation Project, and we look forward to seeing the amount of growth their businesses experience.
As West Africa’s premier prototype development centre, we are on a journey to train and develop learners who are attuned to the socio-economic needs of people, communities and businesses, and are ready and willing to develop innovative solutions to meet such needs to generate income for themselves and also create sustainable jobs for the youth,” she added.
The winners were selected by a panel of judges drawn from industry and academia to evaluate the ideas for their originality, practicality, potential impact, and scalability.
Commissioning of ultra-modern machine workshop and makerspace
DTI also commissioned an ultra-modern machine workshop and makerspace for effective teaching and training at the institute.
The machines will enable the learners to effectively work on their ideas, concepts, design, and develop prototypes, as well as ensure products developed are precise and meets the requirements of industry and consumers.
Speaking at the commissioning of the workshop and makerspace, Ms. Swaniker urged the industry to collaborate with TVET institutions such as DTI in order to develop products that are relevant to them.
“We are open to working closely with industry to champion a cause aimed at developing prototypes and products that will address the needs of industry while creating jobs for the youth.”
The events were attended by representatives from the Ghana TVET Service, CTVET, Ghana Standards Authority, financial institutions, academia, industry experts, learners and young entrepreneurs.