The Design and Technology Institute (DTI) has rewarded five Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with a total seed capital of $25,000 to support their business ideas under its pre-accelerator program as part of the Community Innovative Project.
The competition is a business pitch and accelerator initiative designed to identify, recognize and support promising student-led enterprises with the potential to scale and create sustainable jobs for the teeming unemployed youth.
The initiative honors 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.
The winners will graduate and advance with their prototypes into a six-month pre-acceleration programme. The pre-acceleration program will serve as a platform for the winners to gain extensive business management, financial and operational resources, and will be the catalyst for fundraising activities and investment opportunities at DTI.
Ms Constance Swaniker, Founder and CEO of DTI congratulated the five teams on their well-deserved qualification for the grand finale.
“As a TVET center of excellence, we believe that empowering youth-led SMEs is crucial in driving Ghana’s economic development and accelerating progress towards 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, community and business, 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.
- The overall winner, Master Kraft developed a multi-purpose wheelchair for the aged and the physically challenged and received $10,000
- First runner-up, Tom SB developed a burglar proof security system and received $7,000
- Second runner-up, Quickserve developed a mobile app for supply of welders and digital innovators received $5,000
- Consolation prize, FIRM-JZ developed a Multipurpose Ladder Trolley received $1,500
- Consolation prize, Nine Tech Engineers – AdvansRule received $1,500
The five finalists were selected out of a shortlist of 15 teams that went through a six-month training in problem identification, research, ideation and prototype development which commenced on 15th December 2021. The finalists had the most innovative ideas with the potential to scale and create sustainable jobs.
The competition forms part of DTI’s three-year partnership with the Mastercard Foundation under the Young Africa Works “Transforming youth TVET livelihoods for sustainable jobs”. The project will provide 40,000 direct and indirect work opportunities for the youth in the country.
The Community Innovation Project seeks to build a portfolio of innovative start-ups who will be incubated and supported with seed capital, business development services, access to market, and a makerspace to grow their innovations from ideation into sustainable businesses.
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 and concepts, design and develop prototypes, and also ensure products developed are precise and meet the requirements of industry and consumers.
Speaking at the commissioning of the workshop and makerspace, Ms Swaniker urged industry to collaborate with TVET institutions such as DTI in order to develop products that are relevant to them.
“We are open to work 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.