Female students of the Wisconsin International University College, Ghana dominated the maiden edition of the institute’s ‘Shark Tank’ entrepreneurship challenge introduced to unearth business potentials in students as part of their academic training.
The all-women three finalists showcased their creativity, innovation and resilience irrespective of the overburdened core academic curriculum, economic shocks, and discouragement from colleagues to develop business models that won the heart of the internal and external judges.
The challenge, which was organised by the Wisconsin Business School as part of its Entrepreneurship Week Celebration, attracted participants from different faculties and levels as they all sought to announce their presence as the most outstanding business idea student and secure seed funding to support their dream growth.
Programme Coordinator for the Young Female Project, Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs (GCYE) and a member of the panel of judges, Kayla Charity Geraldo, praised the quality of the presentations and the ability of the entrepreneurs to think critically and creatively in developing their ideas.
She lauded the women, especially the winners who happened to be first-year students for setting a good example for future entrepreneurs and encouraged others to follow in their footsteps.
“We are impressed with the resilience and creativity demonstrated by the participants. So, it’s obvious that not everyone has the perseverance, zeal and drive to be an entrepreneur. The majority of them turned out to be women, which is something I’m championing at the Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs. So, I’m excited that they have been the face of the first season of this entrepreneurship summit in Wisconsin.
“I would encourage more students to actually join so that they build capacity as individuals going out there into the corporate world. And there’s so much to gain being an entrepreneur because you are able to adapt anywhere easily,” she said.
Dean of the Business School, Dr. Bright Mawudor, explained that the whole idea is to help students unearth their talent, believe in their ideas and build confidence to compete anywhere, knowing that they have been equipped with the relevant tools to thrive.
“This is the maiden edition and the interest shown so far has been very encouraging. So, moving forward, lecturers, myself the dean, and everyone in the entrepreneurship ecosystem here in the school will definitely find a way to help these participants and anyone who wants to start a business to grow their idea,” he said.
He reiterated that plans are in place to establish an entrepreneurship incubation centre on campus to nurture and grow the innovative ideas of the youths to create job opportunities in the country.
The winner of the challenge was Samaderia Enterprise, whose business idea stood out for its potential to create a social impact while generating profit in the short-term.
Attoumoh Marie of Samaderia expressed her excitement and explained that the need for snacks on campus was high, and that is where the idea to produce pancakes using different local materials that give it a different taste from what is on the market came from. When the product was introduced, everyone who tasted it liked it, which led to the beginning of the business.
The first and second runner-up positions went to Priscilla Yankey of Scilla Make-ups and Souraya Alimata Rouamba, respectively.
The business ideas presented were in the hospitality and fashion and design sectors, with some international students from the sub-region demonstrating the remarkable entrepreneurial spirit of how to expand their business beyond the borders of Ghana to their home country and the sub-region in the medium to long term.
The GCYE Programme Coordinator concluded that the success of the maiden business challenge is proof that women entrepreneurs can create value and contribute to economic growth. It is hoped that initiatives like this will encourage more women entrepreneurs to showcase their talents and get the support they need to succeed in business.