10 green entrepreneurs graduated as the third cohort of the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC) business incubator on the 5th July 2019 at the GCIC offices, Ashesi University. The event also saw the induction of 30 green entrepreneurs as the fifth cohort- the largest yet- into the incubator.
Mr. Albert Osei, Founder of Koko King, a traditional food packaging company, speaking at the induction and graduation ceremony, encouraged the entrepreneurs not to be afraid of failure because it drives inspiration.
“You cannot succeed if you fear failure. It is the failure that will strengthen you to find creative means to provide solutions to problems. In the last 10 years we at the Koko king have failed every year in one way or the other,” he said.
The induction of the 5th cohort marked the achievement of a huge milestone for Ghana Climate Innovation Centre as this is the first cohort where more than half of the businesses being incubated are women-owned/led. It also brought the total number of businesses supported by the Centre to 82 since the business commenced operations in 2017. In line with the GCIC culture, the inductees were gifted with a plant, that they would be expected to nurture, just like GCIC would nurture their green business.
The entrepreneurs over the next one and a half years will receive, among other services; business advisory, mentoring, technical training, Proof of Concept grants up to $50,000, research analytics on markets, competitors and sector trends, advocacy with government on climate tech policy issues and access to technical facilities to design, prototype and test products.
The Executive Director of GCIC, Ms Ruka Sanusi, said the effects of climate change did not only present challenges but also offered many opportunities for entrepreneurs to harness. She said the circular economy was an emerging business strategy that enabled companies to innovate in ways that addressed resource scarcity and climate risk, in response to consumer and societal pressure to reduce waste and unlock that $4.5 trillion economic opportunity.
The cohort 3 graduation comes after one year of incubation which included; 3 months of entrepreneurship classes, business portfolio management, peer exchange, technology and product development support, residential wellbeing retreat among others. The three female entrepreneurs in the cohort also took part in the Women Entrepreneurship Transformation Programme (WETP) with renown Ghanaian female executive coaches Renee Q. Boateng and Mono Asampong. The Women Entrepreneurship Transformation Programme, designed to unleash the untapped potential of female entrepreneurs to be transformational business executives, explored the following themes: self-reflection and empowerment, attaining voice, work-life balance and going the whole nine yards.
What’s next after graduating from the GCIC incubator? The entrepreneurs go on to join the Climate Innovation Enterprise Network of Ghana (CIENOG), a GCIC alumni network where they shall enjoy benefits such as recoverable grants of up to $10,000 per entrepreneur and GCIC business advisory services.
Speaking on behalf of the graduating class, Linda Lariba Atibilla, Founder of Hope Givers Ltd., highlighted some of the lessons she and her colleagues has learnt in their one year at GCIC.
“The rough road and the hill coming to GCIC serve as a symbolic reminder to us that running a business is not always going to be easy, there will be challenges and a few bumps along the way, but at least GCIC has equipped us with some of the skills we need to overcome these challenges.” She added.
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.