Students pitching their project to judges

The Design and Technology Institute (DTI) and the Mastercard Foundation today announced winners of the Community Innovative Competition. The initiative is a business pitch and accelerated program designed to identify and scale promising women and youth-led enterprises with the potential to create sustainable employment for young Ghanaians.

The program honours learners and enterprises with innovative and creative ideas in key thematic sectors of the economy including agriculture, water and sanitation, plastics recycling, e-waste, and other related industries. Participants, as part of the program, were involved in in-depth sector research and engagement with communities to co-design youth-led solutions for community-based problems.

Through the DTI’s Community Innovation Hub, these emerging businesses will serve as a pipeline to unearth youth entrepreneurs who will act as enablers in solving youth unemployment by creating an anticipated 450 direct and indirect jobs.

A total of $22,000 has been disbursed to the five entrepreneurs as seed capital to support their business ideas under the incubation hub. The winners were selected by a panel of judges drawn from academia and industry who evaluated their ideas for their originality, potential impact, practicality, and scalability.

  • The overall winner, AB Group – Adjustable Barbecue received $7,000
  • First runner-up, Mighty Men – Spraying Maching received $5,000
  • Second runner-up, Haidelis Engineering – received $4,000
  • The Most Promising Idea, Cadela Company – Mechanized Seed Planter received $3,000.
  • Best Female Enterprise, Volkano Tech – Green Incinerator received $3,000.

As part of the competition, DTI will provide mentorship opportunities and business advisory services for the winners for a further 24 months.

“DTI is a private TVET institution that believes in creativity and innovation. We are excited to introduce the Community Innovation Competition to help develop the entrepreneurial skills of Ghana’s youth as a solution to the high unemployment rate in Ghana,” said Constance Swaniker, CEO of DTI.

She added, “We are living in a time where continuous innovation is key for sustained growth and development. As an institution, we believe in bringing out the innovative and creative abilities of our learners as a catalyst to create jobs and provide solutions for communities and industries.”

The competition

Overall, seventeen (17) groups of young entrepreneurs participated in the competition which commenced on 13th May 2021.  Ten teams made it to the semi-finals held on 17th June 2021. Out of this, the five most outstanding groups with the most innovative ideas and potential to scale and create jobs within local communities, emerged as winners.

The competition forms part of a three-year Young Africa Works “Transforming youth TVET livelihoods for sustainable jobs’’ partnership between DTI and the Mastercard Foundation. The program will provide 40,000 direct and indirect work opportunities for young people in the country.

“Providing an ecosystem where young entrepreneurs are supported to acquire relevant skills, funding and market access will contribute significantly to catalyzing work opportunities for young Ghanaians,” said James McInytre, Ghana Lead for Education and Skills at the Mastercard Foundation.

DTI’s Innovation Hub seeks to build a portfolio of innovative grassroots start-ups to be incubated and supported with seed capital, business development services, access to market, and a maker space or work shed to grow promising innovations from ideation into sustainable businesses.

The ceremony to announce winners of the competition was attended by representatives from across different sectors including Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Financial institutions, legal practitioners, academia, industry experts, students, and young entrepreneurs.

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