Entrepreneurial awareness and interest across the continent have visibly peaked in recent times. It has further deepened with the rise in circumstances of furloughs and layoffs; inevitable repercussions of the novel, Coronavirus. The ripple effects on the economy and livelihood have been that young people have been adversely affected by the virus, and are now more than ever, scrambling for alternative means of self-sustenance thus resorting to starting their own businesses.
In October 2020, JA Ghana hosted the first long-distance edition of the Swiss Re Startup Academy, the Academy is an entrepreneurship boot camp co-organized by Swiss Re Foundation and Aiducation International, which focuses on equipping young students from underprivileged backgrounds with critical startup skills facilitated by Swiss Re expert volunteers from around the world.
During this period, 30 participants went through 5 days of training and mentoring in starting and sustaining a business or community initiatives. These participants consisted of pre-tertiary and university students from disadvantaged backgrounds across Ghana.
Participants were introduced to the concepts of insurance and reinsurance, on ‘How to pitch’, and critical building blocks of a business such as a Customer need/solution and USP, Marketing and Sales Strategies, bookkeeping and financial statements, negotiating & influencing and time management.
These workshops were facilitated by both Ghanaian entrepreneurs and international experts (who joined in virtually). The Academy featured mentorship sessions for participants with the facilitators for the benefit of their personal and professional development.
‘’ The past week has been a testament to our resilience and commitment to Ghana’s youth especially in these times when the world is experiencing economic downturns and its impact on lives. We are grateful for such partnerships with Aiducation International and the Swiss Re Foundation which empowers young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue entrepreneurship and financial independence with the requisite knowledge, skills and support from experts across the World. We are also very hopeful that these young people will translate the learning experience into sustainable ventures that positively improve their lives and communities.’’ – Diana S. Agbenyo, Academy Manager expressed during the program.
At the end of the 5-day Academy, teams formed amongst participants included
· GUINEA HUB- a business that is connecting rural guinea fowl farmers to customers in a convenient and smart way.
· BIO-PAC- a business providing biodegradable food packaging solutions a business tackling climate and health issues related to plastic use and disposal by
· BLACK ROYALTY Cosmetics- seeking to promote African beauty by producing natural skincare products with ingredients that are harmless to the skin but would provide results,
· MCCHICKEN Farms, a poultry farm that focuses on the sale of healthy chicken products and feed
· FARM HAND- A company seeking to organize farmers and connect them to their customers to maximize sales and prevent post-harvest losses and
· FARMFAM – a USSSD driven platform intended to bring farmers and farming equipment owners together.
The aforementioned teams pitched their ideas to a competent panel of judges and demonstrated remarkable excellence and application of their learnings throughout the week. Team Farm Hand were adjudged winners with Team McChicken and Team Guinea Hub occupying first and second places respectively.