Beyond COVID-19 Crisis Hackathon: Building Synergies for Aspiring Entrepreneurs in a Post-pandemic Ghana

By Noha Hussein

14.04.2021

Like the “boy who harnessed the wind” to save his village in Malawi from drought, great minds in Ghana are also harnessing their country’s abundant resources to solve stressful challenges facing their post-COVID-19 motherland. In collaboration with our partner sparkassenstiftung, we were thrilled to organize the ‘Beyond COVID-19 Crisis Hackathon’, a three-day hackathon where young entrepreneurs united and competed in developing ideas to overcome critical local challenges – besides them getting equipped with knowledge and experience to kick start their entrepreneurial journeys.

“I have a business that is operating so I thought I knew it all, but coming here and going through the various lectures develop a certain mindset – for me that is the basis” – Midas, one of the participants who commuted from Tamale to Accra to join the hackathon.

In November 2020, around 54 entrepreneurs got together at Accra Digital Center to join the ‘Beyond COVID-19 Crisis Hackathon’, where each of them received group mentoring sessions and expert workshops on Design Thinking, Brand Building using the 3Ps framework – Purpose, Product, and Persistence – as well as Digital Marketing. Alongside these sessions, the participants were mainly engaged in brainstorming activities; they came up with a myriad of ideas that can solve local problems in three focal areas the hackathon was tackling: Agriculture, Health, and Education.

From ideation to pitching: three days of innovation, cooperation, and competition!

To proceed in the hackathon, the participants had to cluster in teams, each includes at least one technical specialist. Hence, they first had to pitch their ideas convincingly to their techie colleagues to get their buy-in and set up the teams. Eventually, six teams were created to refine their ideas further, and pitch them in front of two judging panels.

ABO+ won the pitching competition at the Beyond Covid-19 Hackathon, arranged by enpact and sparkassenstiftung.

Team ABO+, a platform for recruiting blood donors and facilitating safe, efficient transfusions, won the competition. Organic Cosmetics, which provides organic soap for treating dermatological issues, and Kiddie Play, which delivers interactive learning material for children, took second and third places respectively. The three teams got free co-working space access for three months in addition to technical support.

Reliable partners for impact

Fostering an environment for synergies to grow and overcome critical challenges is one of our goals to support entrepreneurs in emerging economies. Hence, for a thriving post-COVID-19 Ghana, we held this hackathon in collaboration with our partner Sparkassenstiftung, a German organization with over 200 years of history in microfinancing; Its key focus area is strengthening the microfinance and credit unions in organizational development in West Africa, especially in Ghana.

“One of the most breathtaking experiences in 2020 for me. Bringing together great minds in one place in these times is not an easy thing’’ – Portia Kavianu, a participant in the Beyond COVID19 Crisis Hackathon

The hackathon came as a standalone event in the framework of our joint program with Sparkassenstiftung, Founders Scholarships – the four-month program, where young founders in emerging markets receive financial and mentoring support to focus their time and energy on enhancing their business venture.

Kwang-Yung Jung, Regional Coordinator for West Africa, Sparkassen Stiftung and Ernest Armah, Country Manager for enpact Ghana.

Kwang-Yung Jung, Regional Coordinator, Sparkassenstiftung and Ernest Armah, Country Manager, enpact Ghana.

“Empowering African founders to scale and synergize in unleashing untapped opportunities in the continent will be a big win, especially for Africans in despair who think their dreams can only be possible in the Western world, ” says Ernest Armah, Country Manager for enpact Ghana. “What they are running from and what they are running to are two sides of the same coin – lack of opportunities and the abundance of the same elsewhere. Through imperative interventions, we believe we can make African dreamers realize their dreams in Africa,” he adds.

If you had the chance to be part of the 2020 Beyond COVID-19 Crisis Hackathon or any of our programs, whether as a participant, mentor, or expert, reach out to us! We would be happy to reflect on your experience there and share your story on our platforms. Feel free to contact us at info@enpact.org.

Bustling entrepreneurs synergizing to pitch innovative solutions for a thriving post Covid-19 Ghana.

Entrepreneurs engaged themselves in interactive workshops, which took place in the framework of the Beyond COVID-19 Crisis hackathon.

In 2020, the Founder Scholarship program in Ghana was joined by four entrepreneurs whose businesses were highly impacted by the pandemic. Along with the monthly financial support, they accessed knowledge, mentors, networks, and peers that helped them reshape their business models and build resilience amid the pandemic. Throughout the program, we were super excited to see the progress they achieved; some of them succeeded in approaching the target revenue, while others could revamp their customer database, and even funded small-scale projects under their own umbrellas.

At enpact, we believe in the power of networking. And after the pandemic, millions of entrepreneurs around the world are now harnessing the wind of the change on their day-to-day business life; and the only way towards real recovery and prosperity is working together. For this reason, empowering entrepreneurs has always been our mission, and along with our partners, it can proceed forward across the globe; reach more entrepreneurs, convey more resources and possibilities, and pave the way to a real bright future.

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