ACCRA, March 3, 2015 – Twenty Ghanaian high-potential startups have concluded the first national bootcamp designed to promote local entrepreneurship and innovation in clean technologies. The initiative was organized last week by the soon-to-be-launched World Bank/infoDev’s Ghana Climate Innovation Center (GCIC). The bootcamp aimed to identify and launch growth-oriented Ghanaian entrepreneurs and new ventures involved in developing profitable and locally relevant solutions to climate change.
Several studies, including the World Bank’s report ‘Economics of Adaption to Climate Change’ and Ghana's National Climate Change Policy Framework, have stressed how significant the impact of climate change will be on Ghana’s economy, people and development. Crop yields are predicted to decline by 7% by 2050 due to higher temperatures, while sea levels are expected to rise over one meter this century, causing the erosion of 1,120 square kilometers of land.
“Ghana is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and as such, its prospects for continuous growth will depend on the country’s ability to build competitive and climate-resilient industries,” said Yusupha B. Crookes, World Bank Country Director. “In line with the National Climate Change Policy, by accelerating the development of local clean technology companies the Ghana Climate Innovation Center will help reduce the country’s vulnerability to climate change, while also creating jobs and promoting investments in new clean technologies.”
The twenty clean-tech companies in the bootcamp were competitively selected after a nation-wide campaign that led to almost 90 applications in a few weeks. Only the companies with the highest level of innovation, technical expertise, and potential for commercial success were invited to the bootcamp. The bootcamp consisted of an intense two-day training program designed to refine the entrepreneurs’ business concepts and a pitching contest held in front of a panel of local investors and industry experts.
The bootcamp participants represented some of the most promising clean technology sectors in Ghana’s green growth agenda, including solar energy, biofuels, waste and water management.
“With the support from our mentor and various experts, we asked ourselves questions that we had not previously thought about,” said Sylvia Akotia, one of the entrepreneurs who participated in the bootcamp and won one of the seven awards of the pitching competition. “Having an external perspective has helped us identify our niche, our unique proposition, and the challenges we need to address to move forward with our business.”
The bootcamp is the first of a series of activities that the Ghana Climate Innovation Center will implement to support the country’s National Climate Change Policy. After its official inauguration in mid-2015, the center will provide up to 200 local companies with business facilities and a targeted suite of services that includes early-stage financing, technology commercialization, business development and capacity building support.
Supported by the Danish International Development Cooperation Agency (DANIDA) and the Government of The Netherlands, the GCIC aims to assist more than 20,000 households to increase resiliency to climate change through improved access to potable water, availability of clean energy, and more sustainable agriculture techniques.