The Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Communications, is implementing an ICT Innovation Project at the Accra Digital Centre under the eTransform Ghana Project aimed at nurturing Tech Startups to promote digital entrepreneurship and create digital jobs for the youth.
The project consists of a Mobile Applications Laboratory (mLab) and an Innovation Hub (iHub).
The mLab will function as business incubator, with offices, a testing lab (for testing prototype mobile applications), makers and creative spaces, robotics and AI labs, Labs for other emerging ICT areas, a Board Room, and a regular rotation of resident firms.
The iHub will be a “pre-incubation” space, or co-working space, suited for start-ups and entrepreneurs, with a large events space for hosting events that will attract more established firms.
The mLab is being implemented by an Innohub/Kumasi Hive joint Venture while the iHub is being implemented by MDF West Africa/Ghana Technology University/BlueSpace joint Venture.
These firms which are going to serve as Grant Managers are experienced innovation intermediaries with expertise in Entrepreneurship Support and business acceleration with demonstrated experience in designing and building substantial entrepreneurship support programs, from the design phase to final implementation phase.
The Innovation project will leverage resources and knowledge already invested in existing infrastructure in the Ecosystem and partnerships provided by government, industry and academia.
In addition to providing physical locations for the development and growth of tech startups, the mLab and iHub will also provide virtual (i.e. online) services to encourage and support greater collaboration and coordination between innovation stakeholders our ecosystem.
The mLab and iHubs will facilitate further development of the overall ecosystem in several ways, including but not limited to the following: Connecting local entrepreneurs into broader regional and international ecosystems, Inspiring and stimulating innovation in the ecosystem through creating partnerships, spaces and support channels for innovation, with the goal of raising the profile of digital innovation in Ghana, Cultivating linkages between organizations in the ecosystem such as private sector firms, existing innovation spaces, co-working spaces and tech hubs, academic institutions, investors, and other stakeholders.
According to Mr. Eric Ofosu Nkansah, the Acting Managing Director of the Accra Digital Centre, which is the mini Tech park hosting the project, government expects the programme to result in addition of high-value jobs to the Ghanaian economy through the setting up of the Tech startups.
There will also be increased investment in entrepreneurial ventures in the digital technologies sector; Increased revenue from entrepreneurial ventures; and Digitization of government records, and training of young Ghanaian interns to undertake such activities as a foundation for building careers in the digital economy.
This innovation project is expected to lead to the sustainable development of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, with improved facilities for startups and growth of innovative, ICT-based ventures in our Ecosystem.
The Ministry of Communications, which is the supervising ministry for the project will establish a Board to oversee the operations of the mLab and iHub. The mLab and iHub are expected to be ready for use in few weeks’ time.