The Journey Of The Ghana CIC Green Innovators(1)

Ghana's Climate Innovation Center (CIC) has opened applications for its Green Innovators BootcampThe Ghanaian economy like many developing economies in the world is increasingly witnessing the adverse effects of changing climate.The extreme weather pattern change, high temperature, changes in rainfall pattern with its associated dwindling contribution of the Agriculture sector to GDP, and droughts with effects such as erratic hydro power supply are among many adverse effects with varying degree of impacts on all categories of businesses.

The call for pragmatic and urgent measures to build a competitive green technology for economic growth, particularly for economies where poor people have significant exposure to the effects of changing climate, continue to gain momentum all over the world. Until recently many economies like Ghana’s didn’t recognise the wide range of opportunities in investing and/or expanding business operations as well as developing the taste and confidence in green products.

Following an extensive global awareness with its resultant recognition by many, to support global efforts toreduce emission of greenhouse gases as well as the business opportunities therein, there have been gradual corresponding green product businesses, which are emergingwithin the clean technology industry in Ghana specially to meet the growing consumer taste and preference.

Supporting the emerging drive for green products and services

As an emerging local business-led green products technology, there are barriers to the successful development and scale up of such technologies in many developing economies. These barriers often manifest in weak technical fine-tuning of products and business promotional capabilities, gaps in appropriate financing, weak or absent infrastructure support and uncertain regulatory environments.

Although some measures are being taken by Governments and its Development Partners to support such businesses, it is extremely important for an increased effort to support and promote green business solutions that deployclimate friendly technologies. Government cannot do this alone; contribution by the private sector and civil society organisations are also needed in winning the fight against the rather low attention given to climate friendly technologies in Ghana.

In line with measures to support local business solutions, the infoDev’s Climate Technology Program has initiated the establishment of Climate Innovation Centres (CICs) in 8 countries to serve platforms to enhance knowledge sharing, supporting growth and facilitating trade.

The overarching goal of the Climate Innovation Centres (CICs) is to support innovation by offering a full suite of financing and capacity building services to technologists, entrepreneurs and new ventures which seek to address climate challenges; to start or scale -up their climate or clean technology businesses. The Climate Innovation Centresare located in Ghana, KenyaEthiopia, India, South Africa, Morocco, Vietnam and the Caribbean.

Preparing Local business solutionsfor green growth in Ghana

In preparation towards the establishment and programming of the Ghana CIC, SNV Ghana, a member of the Ghana CIC Implementing Consortium initiated series of activities with industry stakeholders and green businesses in Ghana.

Over the past months, key interventions such as the Green Innovators Bootcamp and the Green Innovators’ Acceleration Programme have been implemented to strategically position viable local cleantech businesses to participate in the Ghana CIC’s programme.

The Green Innovators’ Bootcamp brought together more than 20 entrepreneurs to showcase and refine their innovative products and services towards finding green solutions on energy efficiency, climate smart agriculture, solar energy andwaste managementamong others. The two-daypitching competition , facilitated by SNV Ghana and held at Ashesi University College Brekuso on the 27th and 28th February 2015; saw entrepreneurs taken through sessions on pitching , lessons on climate-tech innovation, and business developmenttechniques for emerging entrepreneurs.

In all, seven award categories were awarded to seven companies through a competitive process. The categories were;

  • Winner-Climate Smart Agriculture and Overall Winner: Global Bamboo Products Limited
  • Winner-Waste Management and Biogas: Comeph and Associates
  • Winner-Energy Efficiency, Cook Stoves and Fuels: Best Performance Energy Services and Solutions
  • Winner-Solar Category: Atlas Business and Energy Systems
  • Winner in Other Category: Ghana Green Building Council
  • Winner-Young Innovators Award:Green Ghanaian Initiative (Now Eco Planners)
  • Winner-Best Female-led Initiative Award: Kwamoka Farms and Processing Limited

Implementing the Green Innovators’ Acceleration Programme

The Green Innovators Acceleration Program is a follow up to the Green Innovators Bootcamp that took place at Ashesi University College. Out of the 20 participating entrepreneurs, 7 winners were together (or is it individually?) awarded a package of support services worth US$10,000 to be delivered through a tailor-made acceleration program that enables the entrepreneurs to further define their customer base and marketing strategy as well as to build a more robust business model, including a sound financial plan.

The Acceleration Program offered a mix of training, mentoring, peer-to-peer learning and business advisory support services to the 7 selected companies with the overall objective that each company will be able to present a comprehensive proposal – based on a sound business strategy and plan – to be further developed with follow on support from the Ghana CIC.

Following completion of the full Acceleration Program, the 7 cleantech companies will be presented to the GCIC as a first set of potential Ghana CIC clients.

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