With support from the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC), a student team from Ashesi University’s Design Lab, participated in the 2018 Global Retail Challenge held by Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Bensadoun School of Retail Management at McGill University in Montreal.
The Global Retail Challenge is a challenge that brings young, innovative students together to problem solve on how to create a circular business model in the retail industry that engages generations. The challenge started in September with a series of design thinking module assignments and 28 teams registering globally, with Ashesi University being the only African team.
The Ashesi student team comprised of; Desmond Mensa, Judith Dembaremba, Sibongile Sithole, Janet Fuah, Emmanuel Wanye and Isatou Jallow chose to explore how to reduce the negative effects of electronic waste in Ghana with interest an in Agbogbloshie.
Agbogbloshie, a growing slum in Accra is one of the world’s largest e-waste dump sites. In 2009 alone, 129,000 tons of e-waste was dumped on the site. To earn a living, young scrap dealers try to extract metals such as copper from the waste by burning. The effect of this method of metal extraction is air and land pollution, exposing the young people and nearby communities to dire health problems.
In addressing the problem of electronic waste at Agbogbloshie, the team designed a wire stripping machine to eliminate the burning process of extracting the copper wires
GCIC, which has the mandate of supporting ventures that provide solutions that mitigate and /or adapt to climate change, was keen on not only providing financial support but also providing advisory support to the student team in fine-tuning their business model ensuring sustainable revenue streams that delivered value for all identified stakeholders.
Prior to the team’s departure for the 2018 Global Retail Challenge, they met with Ahuma Adodoadji, the Marketing Manager at the Ghana Climate and Innovation Center during which they discussed the business model of the solution and brainstormed on making the business model economically sustainable.
The Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC) is a pioneering business incubator whose objective is to support entrepreneurs and ventures involved in developing profitable and locally appropriate solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation in Ghana. The Centre’s key focus is on building businesses operating within the areas of energy efficiency, domestic waste management, solar energy, water supply management and purification and climate-smart agriculture. GCIC is part of the World Bank Group’s infoDev Climate Technology Program. Supported by the governments of Denmark and the Netherlands, the Centre is managed by a consortium led by the Ashesi University College and including Ernst & Young, SNV Ghana, and the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa.