UG and Imperial College London Renew Collaboration to Spur Student Entrepreneurship

Budding student entrepreneurs at the University of Ghana have been given another promising opportunity to develop their ventures while receiving resources and guidance to transform their ideas into viable solutions to address community, national and global challenges.
 
Following the successful renewal of UG’s partnership with Imperial College London, renowned for its entrepreneurial development initiatives and funding support, a fresh phase of the startup support programme, the Student Venture Support Programme (SVSP) has been launched. The programme is being undertaken in collaboration with Impact Hub Accra.
 
The launch provided a platform for the unveiling of the twenty-three teams that were shortlisted from a pool of fifty-three proposals submitted.
 
This initiative, led at UG by the Office of Research, Innovation and Development (ORID) under the leadership of Prof. Felix A. Asante, is geared towards identifying and supporting talented students with innovative business ideas. The programme, which commenced in 2021, has already led to the establishment of multiple student-led companies offering marketable products.
 
Speaking at the event, Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante, Pro Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for Research, Innovation and Development, reaffirmed the University's resolve to empower student talent through the provision of the requisite support.
 
Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante, Pro Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for Research, Innovation and Development
 
He stressed, “This project is highly competitive, and I advise all participants to diversify the expertise within their teams. Developing enterprises with human resources that cover all business areas, technology, sales/marketing and communications is crucial.”
 
"The overarching objective of the Innovation for African Universities project is to foster entrepreneurial acumen in our students and encourage them to build viable businesses after graduating," Prof. Asante added.
 
He further stated, “To the teams that were not shortlisted, do not lose hope. We have plans to engage you in other areas in the near future. Your innovative spirit and dedication are highly valued.”
 
The Pro Vice-Chancellor (RID) expressed gratitude to other partners. "We are immensely grateful for the support from the British Council in the initial phases of this project. Their backing has been instrumental in our success."
 
Mrs. Mammie N. Hutchful Nortey, a Senior Research Development Officer at ORID, provided an overview of the project. She recapped the progress of the SVSP project and shared the impressive development of past competition winners and their journey towards turning innovative ideas into profitable businesses.
 
“Our previous winners have shown exceptional growth and success," Mrs. Hutchful Nortey remarked. She detailed the wide range of resources available to selected teams, noting they would receive “comprehensive training, mentorship and support from our project partners."
 
Mrs. Mammie N. Hutchful Nortey, Senior Research Development Officer at ORID
 
Additionally, she highlighted the opportunity for finalists to visit Imperial College, London. "The rigorous selection process, which includes pitching business ideas to a panel of judges, will culminate in a national-level competition," she elaborated.
 
Looking ahead, the Senior Research Development Officer outlined the comprehensive timeline for upcoming activities, including Enterprise Support Training/Demo Day, Pre-Demo Day and the final Demo Day, where the top five teams will showcase their innovative ideas.
 
In her remarks, Mrs. Diana Owusu Antwi, another Senior Research Development Officer at ORID, touched on the importance of safeguarding intellectual property and encouraging innovation and originality during the competition. She explained how teams could patent their original ideas and inventions.
 
 
Mrs. Owusu Antwi stressed that ORID's Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property division plays a substantial role in helping teams through this process. “Even if your business ideas are not completely new, it is important to improve and make them unique,” she advised.
 
As part of the launch, an open forum was facilitated by Ms. Linda Acheampong, Project Support for the SVSP, where former participants shared their experiences and offered words of encouragement to the newly selected teams.
 
 
The Impact Hub, Accra and the University of Ghana Business School’s Innovation and Incubation Hub (UGBS NEST) will play an essential role in the process and competition by providing essential support for programme delivery. During the launch, delegates from the two hubs interacted with the selected groups, outlining the training agenda and setting expectations for the final stages of the competition.
 
The renewed partnership with Imperial College London and the launch of the third edition of the SVSP signifies an important milestone in UG's ongoing mission to nurture a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, empowering students to make meaningful contributions to society. The funding by Imperial College London underscores the growing interest and investment in nurturing student-led innovation.