24 May Ashesi Venture Incubator Launches Fifth Cohort of Entrepreneurs
Ashesi University, renowned for producing ethical and entrepreneurial leaders, embarked on an exhilarating journey with the launch of its fifth cohort of entrepreneurs of the Ashesi Venture Incubator (AVI) program. With twenty exceptional fellows selected for this cohort, the AVI program is poised to set new records and inspire the world with its groundbreaking ventures.
The Launch Event
The launch ceremony took place at Ashesi University, within the vibrant walls of the Hive. The stage was graced by distinguished guest speakers, including the esteemed Prof. Angela Owusu-Ansah, Provost of Ashesi University, Abdul Mahdi, Dean of Students and Community Affairs. Prof. Gordon Adomdza, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Professor at Ashesi University, Dr Sena Agbodjah Agyepong, a senior Entrepreneurship and Project Management Lecturer and the Business Administration Head of the Department. Ms Natasha Dadzie, the Incubator Manager.
About the AEC and AVI
At the heart of Ashesi’s entrepreneurial initiatives lies the Ashesi Entrepreneurship Center (AEC), an innovative hub that drives design thinking and fosters entrepreneurial spirit. Inaugurated in 2021, the AEC comprises four central units: Undergraduate Programs, Ashesi Venture Incubator, Ashesi D: Lab, and Community Entrepreneurship. These units provide comprehensive support, facilitating entrepreneurship-related activities, research and development, student-led endeavours, and entrepreneurial curriculum courses.
The Ashesi Venture Incubator (AVI) is one of the AEC’s flagship units, dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurs through a year-long incubator program. The AVI program offers financial support, comprehensive business training, personal development, and mentorship from both local and global industry experts. It exposes cutting-edge research methods and connects entrepreneurs to a purposefully designed entrepreneurial ecosystem, empowering Ashesi alumni in their business ventures.
Over the past five years, the AVI has awarded grants totalling GHS 1,000,000 to support alumni businesses. These fellows have generated an astounding GHS 645,000 in revenue and created 206 job opportunities. Their businesses have garnered a remarkable GHS5,162,820 in external investments, fostering a sustainable environment for growth and innovation.
Emphasizing equality and inclusion, the AVI’s unique recruitment model has resulted in 51.3% of female-led businesses. By championing the development of sustainable hybrid business models, the program equips entrepreneurs with the skills needed to thrive in today’s dynamic landscape. Astonishingly, 96.4% of AVI fellows successfully complete the program, and 80% of these businesses continue to operate long after graduation.
The Unveiling of Cohort 5
The launch ceremony was an invigorating affair, commencing with a stirring address by our keynote speaker, Prof. Angela Owusu-Ansah. Her inspiring words emphasised the power of the 80-20 rule (Pareto principle) in guiding the fellows’ entrepreneurial journey. “Simplify by identifying the 20% of your customers that you see following you religiously and buying your products, give them the best customer service ever because, after all they are responsible for 80% of your profits.” She also urged the new cohort to grow their networks and leverage the skillsets they acquired at Ashesi University to extend their value proposition.
Dr Sena Agbodjah Agyepong then took the stage, recounting the AVI’s journey from its humble beginnings to its current state. Recognising the efforts invested over the years, she encouraged the scholars to seize the transformative experience that lay before them.
Natasha Dadzie, the AVI Manager, further expanded on the program’s achievements and highlighted the extraordinary learning opportunities awaiting the incoming cohort. “To take off their experience, they discover what it means to create a hybrid business that makes impact and profit through a unified model exemplary to what Safi Label, AVI Alum 2019 is achieving by connecting skilled artisans with the global marketplace by leveraging the use of mobile technology while paying decent wages.” She also expressed gratitude to the dedicated staff and faculty who contributed to the program’s success. “We do not exist in a vacuum, we are strongly supported by Ashesi Faculty and industry to provide facilitation of program modules, mentorship, and Advisory to our fellows. The AVI has since 2019 recruited over 48 mentors who have supported fellow businesses with resources to excel in the industry.”
This exceptional cohort showcases an array of ventures across a wide spectrum of industries and disciplines. From tourism and waste recycling to EdTech, beauty, health, and fitness, these visionary entrepreneurs are forging new paths to triumph. Their enterprises encompass diverse sectors such as interior design, clothing and textiles, automobile, media, HRtech, marketing, and art. Listed below is a selection of the extraordinary fellows and their remarkable ventures:
Kweku Appiah Acquaye, Co-founder of EasyGo Tours Ltd, Divine Nkurunziza, CEO of MAB Upcycles, Monayat Abubakar CEO of TechBridge Burundi, Nancy Mma-Ngaare Mba, CEO of Magnificent Smiles Foundation, Denise Imoru Ayarna, CEO of Dias Beauty Studio , Christabel Ama Agbottah, founder of Chrisbel Accessories , Ronald Tumuhairwe, CEO of Boseit Fitness, Samantha Mavunga, co-founder of Toda Health Beverages, Naa Korlikie Ologo Guan, co-founder of Fruits on Wheels, Linda Arthur, founder of EcoFishes , Samuel Atsu, CEO of RabbitPort, Eugenia Anyawoe, CEO of Avond Interiors, Reuel Adetunji-Oyewo CEO of Sparklean Laundry Services, Bryan Kwesi Ohene Achiampong founder of Green Hopper , Simaba Asamoah CEO of Bold Inspired, Janis Rionga M’imiemba CEO of Kayalift Network Ltd, Kelvin Edem Agbevem CEO of Muze, Joshua Alexander Opoku Fordjour CEO of Worka Technologies, Eugene Ato Sekyi CEO of Fuzar and Vanessa Kyla Etornam Dzidulah CEO of Artville
Celebrating Past Successes
The AVI program has witnessed remarkable achievements from its alumni, with each success story inspiring and motivating future entrepreneurs. Teni Agana, the co-founder of the Loozeele Initiative, has trained over 50 girls and established a training centre in Bolgatanga. Her organisation supports young girls in the community, enabling them to return to school, with one girl currently enrolled at Ashesi University.
Kevin Blankson, co-founder of Swoove, a logistics platform for SMEs, has raised an impressive $250,000 investment over the last four years. Swoove’s logistic support services have expanded from Ghana to Kenya and South Africa and are now penetrating Nigeria, revolutionising the logistics industry across multiple countries.
Tailored Hands, a fashion brand, has made waves globally, boasting a clientele base in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the USA. These phenomenal success stories are a testament to the transformative power of the AVI program.
A Future of Infinite Possibilities
As the AVI ushers in its fifth cohort, anticipation and excitement fill the air. The incoming fellows are poised to craft unique stories, igniting positive change and fueling innovation across the continent and beyond. With Ashesi’s unwavering support, the possibilities are limitless, and a bright future beckons for these aspiring entrepreneurs.
Prepare to be captivated as the AVI program unravels, spinning enchanting narratives of hope, resilience, and extraordinary accomplishments. This remarkable cohort is embarking on a journey filled with groundbreaking ventures that the world eagerly anticipates. May the essence of entrepreneurship soar, igniting inspiration within us to dream larger, strive for greater heights, and mould a brighter future.