As part of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme’s (NEIP) plans to build the country’s first unicorn – a start-up with a value over US$1billion, NEIP has earmarked US$4million under its Hubs Acceleration Grant Programme (HAGP) to support 30 entrepreneurship and innovation firms across the country.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kofi Ofosu Nkansah, as NEIP sets out on a mission to create the nation’s first unicorn, the hubs will receive support to operate programs that benefit businesses and start-ups.
Giving a speech at the grant-signing ceremony in Accra, NEIP’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kofi Ofosu Nkansah, said encouraging entrepreneurship and the growth of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) is essential for the nation’s economic recovery and employment creation.
When the call for applications opened, NEIP and its partners, including the World Bank and Deloitte Consultants, analyzed and reduced the number of submissions to nearly 100 to 40.
A thorough mapping and categorization effort was then conducted to further reduce the pool of applications to 30, according to Mr. Nkansah.
“We undertook a due diligence visit to all the 40 shortlisted hubs. There, we took stock of their capacities, programmes offered and challenges faced. This was aside from confirming information and picking up more data to aid in the due diligence effort. The mapping and classification exercise’s purpose was to identify and classify entrepreneurship hubs in Ghana, aiming to enhance quality and service offerings to international standards.
“And the final report provided NEIP a comprehensive overview of the hub landscape, including locations and key characteristics, while assessing level of collaboration, sustainability of operations, service offering, impact and challenges.”Kofi Ofosu Nkansah
He added that “The objectives included identifying hubs, classifying them based on specific criteria, analysing their distribution, and offering recommendations for improvement”.
Targeted Sectors To Be Supported By The HAGP
According to Mr. Nkansah, the HAGP will concentrate on hubs operating in the following sectors: agriculture, technology and innovation, light manufacturing and processing, waste and green businesses, and technical and vocational-oriented hubs.
He urged women, young people, and people with disabilities to actively participate in the grant program and stated that money will start to flow soon after the deal was signed.
“That will not be the end of the process; a period of monitoring and evaluation will commence, wherein we will track key milestones and ensure compliance and use of funds for their intended purpose.”Kofi Ofosu Nkansah
As part of the monitoring and evaluation, NEIP will request quarterly and annual reports – all in a bid to grow the ecosystem to world standards on the way to producing Ghana’s first Unicorns, Mr. Nkansah said.
“Phase two of the Hubs Acceleration Grant Programme will cover set-up and operationalization of new hubs, including revitalizing hubs that are not more than two years old.”Kofi Ofosu Nkansah