The Kofi Annan Enterprise Hub for Agriculture Innovation (KAEHAI), WACCI, in collaboration with the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE) from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, organized a five-day Entrepreneurship Training Programme from Monday, November 29, 2021 to Friday, December 1, 2021.
Inaugurated in 2019, the aim of the KAEHAI is to advance youth development, entrepreneurship and agricultural innovation by engaging development partners in productive agricultural policy dialogues and offering training programmes for new and existing entrepreneurs.
On Monday, November 29, 2021, Professor Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, Director, West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), in his welcome address, stated that WACCI, in partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), organized an entrepreneurship programme in 2019 which succeeded in training twenty-six youth in agro-entrepreneurship, agribusiness and ICT.
Prof. Eric Danquah
He was hopeful that the 2021 annual entrepreneurial program would succeed in encouraging the youth to venture into agribusiness. The programme was developed by WACCI together with 15 lecturers from different units of the university who participated in an online Train the Trainer programme facilitated by the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship and Dutch Centers for Entrepreneurship last year. “We hope that in the next five days, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills that will guide you turn your ideas into innovations,” Prof. Danquah said assuredly to the participants, 30 students selected from the participating units: Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Department of Crop Science, Business School and WACCI, University of Ghana. Prof. Danquah stated unequivocally that he believes the youth hold the key to unlocking the potential of the agricultural sector and that engaging them is the best way to take agricultural innovations forward.
He noted that in the coming years, the Centre will integrate the innovative Entrepreneurship Training Programme into its Masters and PhD curricula in order to equip students with the knowledge and skills that they need to establish world-changing agribusinesses. Supported through coaching offered by the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship as part of the Orange Knowledge Programme, WACCI has made great efforts towards this goal already.
Prof. Yirenkyi Danquah ended his address by welcoming Annique de Greef, Director of Education, Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship and Jip Dresia, Programme Manager for Education, Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, who co-facilitated the training sessions.
In brief remarks, Ms. de Greef expressed how impressed she was with the entrepreneurship curriculum as co-created with the professors and the first pilot taking place this week. She noted that the enthusiasm of all involved to realize the programme will positively impact the entrepreneurial journey of students for years to come.
Ms. de Greef
Dr. John S.Y. Eleblu, Coordinator of Research Programmes, Francophone Africa, WACCI, provided an overview of the programme and the sessions that the participants would be taken through by 13 faculty from the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Department of Crop Science and the Business School.
Dr. John S.Y. Eleblu
Mrs. Jereme Keren Agyemang, the Programme Manager of KAEHAI, noted that the Entrepreneurship Training Programme will provide the students with concrete opportunities to connect with the local innovation ecosystem and continue developing their agri-businesses.
Mrs. Jereme Keren Agyemang
Prof. Boateng Onwona-Agyeman, Provost, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, officially opened the training programme and expressed his enthusiasm on the intention of the Centre to integrate the programme into its curricula. He highlighted advantages that come with partnerships, specifically industry-academic partnerships, and urged the Centre to seek more industry partnerships. He acknowledged the efforts of Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship and Dutch Centers for Entrepreneurship in supporting the training programme. Prof. Onwona-Agyeman ended by emphasizing the need to document and protect intellectual property, encouraging all participants to document all innovative ideas that will be developed during the programme.
Prof. Boateng Onwona-Agyeman
Participants were taken through 12 sessions during the first 3 days of the training programme and worked on their projects with designated mentors on the fourth day.
On Friday, December 3, 2021, the programme wrapped up with a Pitch Day competition, during which nine teams of participants pitched innovative ideas before a jury panel comprising academics from the University of Ghana and representatives from entrepreneurial support organizations active in Accra.
Mr. Stephen Gyasi-Kwaw, Country Founder and Managing Director of Global Entrepreneurship Network-Ghana, and a member of the panel of judges announced the first, second and third prize winners. Catfish on Wheels Company, established by participants, Mr. Cyril Jnr Boe and Ms. Adelaide Nana Pomaah, came first, winning a prize package consisting of 3 Months workspace and coaching by Kofi Annan Enterprise Hub at WACCI, 3 Coaching meetings with Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, Netherlands, 3 Coaching meetings with Global Entrepreneurship Network-Ghana, and a cash award. The second-place award went to EJA Agri – Business Company, established by Emmanuel Kotey Amon, Elkanah Yaw Acheampong, and Jemilah Ahmed Wuni. They won a prize package comprising 2 Months workspace and coaching by Kofi Annan Enterprise Hub at WACCI, 2 Coaching meetings with Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, Netherlands, 2 Coaching meetings with Global Entrepreneurship Network-Ghana, and a cash award. So Dry Company, established by David Ntuu, Stephan Adjei, and Daniella Somuah, won the third-place award and a prize package of comprising 1 Month workspace and coaching by Kofi Annan Enterprise Hub at WACCI, 1 coaching meeting with Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, Netherlands, 1 coaching meeting with Global Entrepreneurship Network-Ghana, and a cash award. Mr. Gyasi-Kwaw also pledged to provide copies of an entrepreneurship book titled “Kuenyehia on Entrepreneurship: A Textbook on Ghanaian Entrepreneurship with Real Life Success Stories”, authored by Elikem Nutifafa Kuenyehia, to each of the winning teams. All participants received certificates of participation, which were handed out by Dr. Naalamle Amissah, Head of Department of Crop Science.
In closing remarks delivered on behalf of Prof. Yirenkyi Danquah, Mrs. Agyemang congratulated the winning teams and challenged all the participants to continue working on their innovative ideas in order to spark agricultural transformation in the subregion. She ended her remarks by thanking the panel of judges, faculty from the various departments and the visiting team from the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship for their collaborative efforts in making the training programme a success. She noted that WACCI is looking forward to future collaborations that will take this Entrepreneurship Training Programme to higher heights.