The unavailability of data on start-ups and innovation centers across the country is seen as a major challenge in formulating policies, investments and solutions that meet their needs.
According to the Research and Policy Director of Ghana Hubs Network, Yaw Adu-Gyamfi, the situation has created the need to shape a database system using the talents from within.
Speaking to Joy Business in Tema during the Accra Zone Hackathon 2022, he said, “Two years ago the Ghana Hubs Network Board had a series of commitments and strategies to deliver programs that will help support start-ups and innovation centers across the country.”
“It was about helping to make informed decisions about programming and, more importantly, being able to engage all stakeholders in the policy arena. Unfortunately, this data does not exist,” he lamented.
Start-ups and innovation hubs play an important role in the country’s economy through job creation, but data in this space is said to be fragmented.
“It’s because the data has been broken down into the 16 regions and also organize programs that are integrated with the start-up law which was supposed to help our start-ups and small businesses across the country,” said Mr. Adu-Gyamfi.
The Network has identified that having a well-structured database could attract interest from other players in the ecosystem, including artificial intelligence companies.
The Accra zone of Hackathon 2022 had developers from Oti, East, Volta and Greater Accra regions comprised of technicians with upstream and downstream skills to help build the solution from zero.
After more than four hours of brainstorming, putting their skills to good use, and being grilled by the judges, Smart Network emerged as the winner of the two groups that were tasked with creating a database system.
Smart Network member Joshua Odoi was thrilled to help build a prototype of the database management tool.
“The process was enlightening, having had the opportunity to understand the challenges of the different stakeholders”
“Given the skills and experience we have on board, this team has what it takes to create cutting-edge software to win the ultimate prize domestically,” he added.
Another team member, Nana Yaa Chinwe Emmanuel, had a bright face considering what his team had accomplished in a limited amount of time and shared that it made him want to work harder.
Node Eight General Manager Courage Komla Asase, who served as a judge on the technical robustness and relevance of the event, expects the overall winner to build a robust system for the network.
“Ghana Hubs Network could have hired a third party to build this platform for them, but a hackathon provides an opportunity to look at other people whose ideas are relevant in the ecosystem,” he said.
He was very impressed with the organization and the competitive nature of the event.
A member of the GIZ Make-IT in Africa team, Rosina Naab ensured the continued support of her holding such events aimed at creating solutions.
“We are supporting the Ghana Hubs Network in the digitization and capacity building of hubs through financial and technical means. We basically support implementation and deployment that will help the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” she explained.
She was also impressed with the organizers and the participants by the level of commitment and the presentation of the final work.
Rosina Naab was quite particular about two female entrants and expects to see more female participation in later competitions.
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Society and Development has revealed in its 2022 plan to support innovation centers and start-ups in Ghana, which is to be implemented by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).
The support scheme; The digitization and hub capacity building program focuses on database development, hub capacity building and talent exchange.
Program Manager for the Ghana Hubs Network-GIZ Capacity Building Program, Simon Asare, noted that developers need to build a system focused on security, deploying infrastructure to support the load of data received as well as the user interface and user experience.
Ghana Hubs Network believes that start-ups and innovation hubs could play an important role in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in the future.