The Hacklab Foundation has signed an agreement with the GCEEI Startup Business School to run a cohort-based incubation program for winners that emerge from its Annual Hackathon.

The Annual Hackathon, which is one of the largest physically organised Hackathons in Ghana is a 3-day program that brings together over 500 students from 15 participating tertiary institutions to develop tech-enabled solutions to address local issues.

In 2018, 112 projects were developed at the Hackathon by participants, with 5 projects emerging most viable and scalable solutions.

Ho Technical university emerged winners at the 2018 Hackathon with ‘Etherthumb’, a Blockchain technology based e-voting system, designed to create a secure free and fair elections devoid of hacks, double voting, other election anomalies and synchronised collation of results without delay.

Among the winning ideas also included a crowd-farming platform, Ready Farm developed by Team Room63 and MamaDoc, an AI-based nutritionist and food ordering app from KNUST.

The Hackathon has become a festival all tertiary institutions look forward to annually as it offers a wide range of opportunities to students, including internships, job placements, mentorship, and entrepreneurship training.

Cash prizes offered to the winners also serve as seed capital for the winning teams to further develop their ideas into businesses through the support of the Hacklab – GSBS Incubation Program.

The Foundation’s aim is to aid the participants develop and refine a professional business and financial plan, robust and scalable business model, proper governance, accounting and HR structures/policies and most importantly a proof of concept to make them investment-ready through this program.

It is in line with this that it has partnered the GCEEI Start-ups Business School.

The school provides a thorough and intensive 6-week training program to develop strong and effective business leaders in the country. The program is specially designed to provide entrepreneurs, employees and businesses with the knowledge and tools that focus on the overall aspect of entrepreneurship and business success in a systematic manner.

John Armah, CEO of Orios Group of which GCEEI is a subsidiary stated that: “GSBS’s target is to empower budding entrepreneurs with the right skills and knowledge to nurture their ideas into accomplished businesses, to equip entrepreneurs with the expertise to grow their established ventures into world class businesses and to develop entrepreneurial thinking in the work place among employees to achieve growth.

The Founder of Hacklab Foundation, Foster Awintiti Akugri, believes that if everyone is put on a level playground with equal opportunities, it will massively re-orient the tides.

“While back in school I realised the massive gap between students who graduate unemployed and students who get employed before graduating, and that was industry experience!

“So through the Hacklab Foundation, we hope to create a level platform where students, employers, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders can interact to drive economic growth by creating skills and entrepreneurs who create jobs to absorb these skills. If one trained entrepreneur creates 50 jobs, then 1000 trained entrepreneurs will create 50,000 jobs and that’s how we intend to solve unemployment in Ghana and hopefully Africa at large,” he said.

He also emphasised the need for collaboration between young lads driving innovation and social impact initiatives.

“I believe in collaboration and that has driven our Foundation to achieve its successes. This partnership with GCEEI is non-other. We cannot re-invent the wheel by starting and running a new incubation program, when we can move faster to reach more youth by collaborating with GCEEI who is a specialist in this area.

“I am hopeful without doubt that this partnership will be of great benefit to the selected beneficiaries from our Hackathons, GCEEI and the Hacklab Foundation.”