A six-team Ethiopian delegate composed of representatives from St. Mary’s University, Reach for Change, Addis College, Ethiopian TVET Institute, and Addis Ababa Science and Technology University made a learning-visit to selected innovation hubs in Ghana from December 5th to 8th, 2022.
The visit was organized by Reach for Change to help its partner institutions learn from institutions based in Ghana to support their respective engagements in the “Green Entrepreneurship Development” initiative which Reach for Change is implementing. Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the aforementioned institutions, Reach for Change Ethiopia is implementing a green economy project which intends to “Catalyze green business in Ethiopia”. Through this project, Reach for Change and St. Mary’s University have run capacity building training where three cohorts of students who received highly focused training on entrepreneurship and innovation.
As part of this capacity building program for the partner institutions, Reach for Change Ethiopia facilitated the experience sharing visit which allowed the team to visit three Ghanian institutions, namely, Design and Technology Institute (DTI), Societe Generale Ghana PLC’s Innov8 Hub, and University of Ghana Business School.
DTI is a private TVET institute working on design and technology. Students major in welding, design, and robotics. During the visit to DTI, it was learned that allocating revolving fund, the Institute has put in place a student-run business shop in which students practice their entrepreneurial skills. Each cohort of students is required to run this shop in order to graduate. Students practice marketing, selling, negotiation, accounting, book keeping, leadership, team work, management and the like.
Societe Generale Ghana PLC’s Innov8 Hub is put in place by Societe Generale Ghana, a bank, to “foster and facilitate the development and growth of ideas in collaboration with players within the Ghanaian innovative ecosystem”. It specifically works toward helping the youth, women and people with disabilities to become successful entrepreneurs by guiding them how they can develop and experiment “new, disruptive and out-of-the-box ideas that will increase productivity and create new lines of business” said George Adjebeng, Head, Multi channels & Innovation at Societe Generale Ghana. The bank’s dedication to promote innovation and entrepreneurship is an interesting experience which the team felt has to be emulated by Ethiopian banks.
University of Ghana Business School Incubation Hub which aspires “to establish a world-class entrepreneurship capacity-building center to train and empower student entrepreneurs and innovators through mentorship and business development activities” requires each student to do entrepreneurship practice before they graduate. Students majoring in different disciplines are encouraged to collaborate to initiate joint business through the guidance, mentoring and follow up and monitoring of the Incubation Hub, said the Dean of Business School.
The visit enabled the Ethiopian team to learn from the good experiences of the Ghanian institutions on how to think out-of-the-box to make their respective institutions’ delivery of programs and improve the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
SMU was represented by the Vice President for Research and International Relations.