MESTI launches grant scheme to boost research-industry collaboration


By Kizito CUDJOE

The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) has announced a new grant scheme under the Innovation Voucher Programme, aimed at strengthening collaboration between research institutions and the business sector.

Under this new programme, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups that identify and address any technology or extension service will be provided grants amounting to US$5,000 or more depending on the market viability analysis of the project.

The Director-Science, Technology and Innovation at MESTI, Mr. Ato Quayson, speaking at a two-day ‘Matchmaking and Technology Transfer Workshop’ in Koforidua, emphasised that the new initiative is intended to provide ‘Innovation Vouchers’ for entrepreneurs to access technologies at universities and research institutions.

Against this backdrop, he reiterated the critical importance of technology transfer and commercialisation of research for the country’s economic growth.

“Successive ministers for the Innovation Ministry have prioritised technology transfer, recognising its significance for various ministries such as Trade and Industry, Communication and Digitalisation, Food and Agriculture, and Health as well as for entrepreneurs,” he said.

The latest initiative, he said, follows directives from the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ophelia Mensah Hayford, who tasked the ST&I Directorate to devise innovative solutions for improving research-industry collaboration.

He asserted that the goal is to ensure research outputs are readily available to entrepreneurs, thereby facilitating job creation and supporting economic growth.

Furthermore, the Director-ST&I at MESTI highlighted successful collaborations such as Kasapreko’s partnership with the Centre for Plant Medicine and Despite’s collaboration with the Food Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

These partnerships, he said, have resulted in significant job creation and economic contributions through products like Alomo Bitters and Neat Fufu.

“Our mission is to provide a platform for research institutions and entrepreneurs to co-create new industries or scale existing ones. This matchmaking event is the beginning of a roadmap to an Innovation Voucher Programme that will catalyse the creation of more successful businesses like Kasapreko and Despite,” Quayson stated.

During a presentation on ‘Introduction to Technology Transfer’, Deputy Director-ST&I at MESTI, Nashiru Salifu, acknowledged that technology transfer and commercialisation has been a challenge between universities and entrepreneurs.

He therefore noted that the Matchmaking and Technology Transfer Workshop is geared toward addressing this.

The workshop, organised in collaboration with the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET), aims to facilitate the identification of technologies that can help scale up business ventures.

The programme is a key initiative under the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project and aims to bridge the gap between research institutions and industry, enabling entrepreneurs to leverage cutting-edge technologies to create new industries or scale existing ones.

The Ghana Jobs and Skills Project is a five-year programme with funding from the World Bank, aimed at supporting skills development and job creation across the country through apprenticeship training, entrepreneurship and small enterprise support and operationalisation of the Ghana Labour Market Information System.

The project has five components: provision of apprenticeship training for at least 25,000 individuals; and provision of entrepreneurship and micro and small enterprise support for jobs-support entrepreneurship training for at least 50,000 individuals – including competitive business start-up grants for at least 5,000 individuals – and aiming to provide at least 700 competitive grants to private enterprises.

The rest are operationalisation of the Ghana Labour Market Information System; upgrading district public employment centres and services; and independent performance reviews of government youth employment and skills development programmes; capacity development, technical assistance; project management support to coordinating, implementing and partnering agencies for enhanced skills and jobs impact; and contingent emergency responses to deal with emergency situations.

The project’s targetted beneficiaries include individuals seeking skills and jobs; master craft persons and associations; private enterprises and their workforces; and public and private training providers.

Implementing institutions for the project include the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET), Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR) and MESTI and Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA).

Under the project, MESTI is expected to partner with GEA and CTVET under ‘Component 2’ to provide an advisory role on labour efficient technologies, green technologies and innovative strategies for the main implementing bodies and project beneficiaries.

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