UG marks Impact Week 2019

The Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST) in collaboration with Nestle Ghana Limited, Lufthansa Group and Brussels Airlines organized the Impact Week 2019 from the 18th to the 29th of November, 2019 at the University of Ghana.

The Impact week is a non-profit program that unites people from a variety of countries to develop sustainable business models using Design Thinking. The 2019 edition of the Impact Week was aimed at promoting innovation and entrepreneurship on a global scale as well as tackling topical and pressing challenges in the Ghanaian communities and economy as a basis for sustainable growth, using design thinking.

A group picture of Team Impact week Ghana

The 2-weeks workshop was in three (3) sessions namely; the Boot camp session, the "Train the Trainer" session where faculty members of the University and other institutions were trained as Design Thinking coaches and the Students’ session, which was the actual "Impact Week” where students were trained to develop new business ideas using design thinking.

Dr. Matilda Laar guiding her team through the Design thinking process

The Provost of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS), Prof. Daniel Asiedu in welcoming participants stated that the University is always excited about collaborations that intend to enhance the capacity of internal members especially one that influences innovation and entrepreneurship. He added that as part of the University’s mission to become a research-intensive university, it encourages discourses that stimulate sustainable approaches to making an impact in our societies and beyond and therefore see this workshop as one of such landmark efforts at igniting passion and unearthing new talents.

Mrs. Philomina Tan, Managing Director of Nestle Ghana, in a brief statement informed audience that Nestle is awarding the University of Ghana a grant to the tune of CHF 600,000, equivalent to 3.4 Million Ghana Cedis, in addition to sponsoring master’s thesis and these forms part of their Global Youth initiative “Nestle Needs Youth” with an ambition to help 10 million young people have access to economic opportunities by 2030. In her closing remarks, she urged students to think aloud, generate ideas and be assured that Nestle is ready to partner them to develop further feasible ideas to the benefit of Ghana and the world.

            Pictures of some teams during the Innovation fair

Participants were also empowered with speeches from high profile speakers; Mr. Oliver Boakye, special assistant to the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation , Dr. Eugene Owusu, Special Advisor to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Nana Osei Bonsu, Chief Executive Officer of Private Enterprise Federation (PEF).

Prof. George Nkansah (Director, IAST) encouraged all to take up the lessons learned and translate them into viable products and services to impact societies.

From left to right: Ms. Christine Wenzel, Prof. Oduro Nkansah and Mr. John Bruecker

Mr. Joern Bruecker, Nestle Swiss and Ms. Christine Wenzel, the Impact Week Lead performed the official opening of the programme.

In a related development, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on Friday, November 29, 2019 to aid students in practical learning activities in the area of Food, Science and Technology. The agreement was signed by Prof. Christoph Hartwann, Head of Academic Alliances, Nestle Research; Céline Worth, Assistant Vice President of Nestlé; Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo and Prof. George O. Nkansah, Director, Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST).

In brief remarks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Academic and Student Affairs, expressed her joy in the level of engagement which has yielded fruit after a year of partnership.  She added that the University of Ghana was ready to support the project.

Professor Christoph Hartwann who is the head of Academic Alliances, Nestlé Research, mentioned that the focus of the project is to find solutions to the challenges in the area of Food and Nutrition. He added that Nestlé Ghana Limited will help to enhance the quality of health to contribute to a healthy future.

The Assistant Vice President of Nestlé, Céline Worth, encouraged all to be committed in ensuring excellence towards the successful outcome of the project.

Officials from Nestlé Ghana present at the signing ceremony were Mrs. Audrey Essilfie, Nutrition Health and Wellness Manager and Mrs. Deborah Kwablah, Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Manager.

Members of the University of Ghana present were Dr. Matilda Essandoh Laar, Lecturer, Family and Consumer Science; Dr. Sharon Affrifah, Lecturer, Food Process Engineering; Dr. Henry O. Sintim, Research Fellow, IAST; Mr. Michael Portuphy, Research Development Officer, College of Basic and Applied Sciences and Mrs. Rodarling Neequaye, Assistant Registrar, IAST.

            Group picture of officials after the ceremony