Four Ghanaian Universities who are part of the Innovation for African Universities programme have developed and presented various entrepreneurship and innovative related projects needed to develop industries in Africa.
The innovations cover the Agricultural, Science, education among other sectors.
The project which is spearheaded by the British Council forms part of ongoing efforts to Forster culture and innovation among higher education institutions.
The British Council developed and designed the Innovation for African Universities (IAU) project, which is part of the Going Global Partnerships programme, to foster the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship within universities and facilitate the development of skills required to build industries, companies, products and services.
The project is designed to support the development of Africa – UK University Partnerships that build institutional capacity for Higher Education engagement in entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems in selected African countries.
In Ghana, 4 partnerships were selected to participate in the Innovations for African Universities Programme.
Sean Harris who is the Acting country Director at the British Council, congratulated the institutions that were selected to be part of the first cohort of the Innovation for African University.
“British Council has also done some work in the innovation space as few years ago, we implemented an adapted version of Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) which was called the African Knowledge Transfer Partnership, where we created a synergy between industry and the academia, attaching a young researcher to an industry to understudy the changes of an organisation and develop a solution which will lead to award of higher degrees….Mr Harris Noted.
In her address, Akorfa Dawson who is the Higher Education Project Manager at British Council Ghana said the the quest for solutions triggered a renewed focus on the higher education landscape.
She said Higher Education Institutions are producing graduates with limited skills and require further training to meet employer needs hence the partnership programme. “While graduates need to be more employable, universities also need to produce job creators instead of job seekers.”..She stressed.
HIGHLIGHTS OF PROJECTS
The IAU programme facilitated the Project Kenten partnership among Regional Maritime University University of Durham and Wazuri Enterprise. This project explored problems facing agri-business in Ghana from a logistics perspective. Project Kenten harnessed stakeholder networks to coordinate high impact initiatives to pilot and roll out a holistic digitally integrated contribution to tackling Post-Harvest Losses and its wider impacts.
University of Ghana with their UK counterpart, Imperial College London, and their ecosystem player Impact Hub Accra, in the Connecting Accra Project, addressed the disconnect between key stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Accra.
This included a probe into whether an entrepreneurship programme delivered digitally could improve the entrepreneurial skills development of students and build stronger links between relevant institutions.
They had the demo day in July where students who participated in the Connecting Accra Project pitched their business ideas after they had gone through the entrepreneurship accelerator programme.
Through a partnership between University of Health and Allied Science (UHAS), University of Cape Coast (UCC), and University of St. Andrews, the Ghana Bioenterprise Innovations Partnership (GBIP), focused on the biomedical sciences with the aim of building capabilities that will enable biotechnological spin-offs from various biomedical research projects.
This project is creating opportunities for students and researchers to obtain knowledge and skills to identify the innovation in their research as well as models and pathways to move the innovation to a proof-of-concept stage, attract investors and market the products.
To ensure the continuity and sustainability of their project, GBIP has adopted two start-ups in the biosciences entrepreneurial ecosystem to support them to improve their systems of operation and become hubs for mentoring other bioenterprises.
It is interesting to note that these two start-ups, who will document their journeys, fall in two categories of operation: one a limited by liability partnership, and the other a limited by guarantee.
Similarly, Accra Technical University is in a partnership with University of Huddersfield, University of Bolton, Achievers Ghana and Social Enterprise Ghana to evaluate the effect of social enterprise orientation on youth employability in Ghana.
This project investigated ways in which universities can overhaul their programmes and teaching approaches to promote graduate employability within the Higher Education framework in Ghana.
One project with an offshoot in Ghana is the Supporting Youth Social Entrepreneurship (SYSE) project with Challenges Ghana as a network partner.
We attended their stakeholder engagement where there were deliberations on what different organisations, industry, academia and ecosystem players are doing to ensure that the future of our economy has the right skills and competencies for our youth, needed to solve the myriad challenges the country and the world are facing.
Then, there is Project Differentiate which includes Lancaster University Ghana. This project is conscientising scientists to be entrepreneurial in their approach to research and commercialisation, through the Stimulating Sustainable Entrepreneurial Thinking Toolkits for Scientists and Students (SETSS) they developed.
Over 50 applications were assessed through a rigorous process of multistage evaluation, and 24 projects were selected to be a part of the programme.
Four out of the 24 collaboration grants were awarded to Ghanaian universities, enabling them to collaborate with UK university partners and ecosystem players to develop and deliver various entrepreneurship and innovation-related projects.
The IAU programme is being implemented in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, and partnerships have been formed between universities in these countries, entrepreneurial ecosystem players and UK universities.