Ashesi Venture Incubator Holds Pre-incubation Workshop For Second Batch Of Fellows.

The Ashesi Venture Incubator(AVI), a programme of the New Entrepreneurs Xchange for Transformation (NEXTi2i), after launching its second cohort of fellows has organized a three day pre-incubation workshop at the Hephzibah Christian Centre from September 25-28, 2020. The fellows participated in mini-workshop sessions to assess their business development progress and received real-time coaching and feedback to help refine core aspects of their businesses.

Workshop Sessions

Following the introduction to the workshop, the fellows presented outcomes from their summer research. From the presentations, the fellows demonstrated a lot of insight in customer segmentation, needs identification and a general sense of how to approach their value propositions. The activities conducted, the insights gained and the resulting questions generated, provided a renewed vigor for each of the fellows and prepared the stage for the work sessions on how to properly build out different aspects of their business to incorporate the lessons learned from their summer research.

As such, the mini-sessions held on the first day were designed to follow-up on the summer presentations and guide the fellows through the process of updating the various tools and frameworks used in their businesses to assess information and develop logic decision making. This workshop design therefore provided a safe space that allowed them to ask questions and get real-time feedback. The mini-sessions included understanding the customer’s point of view (POV), developing the customer’s journey map around the solution concept, supporting the customers experience points in their journey  through the value fulfillment blueprint and evaluating the business model canvas with hybridized value flows, developing an operational planning process using the proforma cashflow, and developing a pitch deck for effective storytelling on their businesses. In addition, there was a unique mini-session on the  use of metrics, monitoring and evaluation process, KPIs, and the lean research framework in the Business Model Canvas (BMC)  led by Arkeisha Amissah-Arthur, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Manager (NEXTi2i). All the mini-sessions were well-received by the fellows, including those who had participated in other incubator programs. They reported getting clarity on: their value proposition, the users they are targeting with these value propositions; how they are engaging with them; how they are building social impact into their value chain; how they plan to sustain their businesses; and their path to growth. Essentially, all the fellows noted that they were able to integrate the insights and learnings from their research and the mini-sessions into their planning for the year in ways that accelerated their progress in getting ready for the year ahead. 

On the final day, Jewel Thompson, AVI Incubator Manager, kickstarted the session by leading the review of Alpha pitch decks after which the entire NEXTti2i team facilitated the discussion around that topic. During the reflection session at the end of the workshop, some fellows had these to say:

 “ There is more to a product’s success in the market than its physical attributes or demand. Being able to sell the intangible attributes of your product to your target market, and getting them to see, perceive and speak of your product in the manner that you want them to, is critical to gaining a competitive advantage in the market”, says Emma Forson of Thrift Store

“Some people do not buy products, they buy the brand so selling the product is equally as important as selling your product”, says Grace Cleland, founder of Natural Space.

“This workshop has been more impactful in ways that I cannot completely describe. But for one, I have never felt so confident, knowing that I have such a solid support structure and an incubator committed to helping me succeed.”, Robert Duah-Boateng of REST Solutions speaks of his impression of the workshop and AVI.


What’s Next?

Over the next year, fellows will participate in quarterly sprints of learnings within allocated business module areas and active work, which means that everything learned in the previous month will be applied and tested. The final stage of the sprint is a holistic review that provides the opportunity for fellows to take steps towards development, both business-oriented and personal: meeting with personal development coaches and working with assigned mentors among other activities. With a truly lean design, the incubation process directs participants through a continuous process of improvement, reflection and provides an opportunity to grow.