The 13 start-ups, including four women and nine men as founders, took it in turns to convince a jury of six judges of the viability and prospects of their respective businesses in order to obtain the investments necessary to grow and employ other people.
At the end of the elevator pitch and the selection process, five of the start-ups will be selected and will receive financial support.
The center aims to foster entrepreneurship by unearthing, preparing and supporting students with compelling business ideas into viable ventures.
Launched in 2021, the Enterprise and Innovation Center is aimed at young entrepreneurs with vital hands-on experience to prepare them to run their own business.
The students, who all had their national service at the center, were equipped with the necessary technical support from experienced industry players through coaching and mentoring to start their own businesses.
Access to finance is a major obstacle to the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets and developing countries.
Therefore, Dr. Fidelis Quansah, Dean of the Faculty of Management Studies, said the initiative was an important and timely program for graduates, especially at a time when unemployment had become a major problem for the country.
The initiative, she added, was designed to ensure that young graduates acquire employable skills, but more importantly to provide them with training and mentoring opportunities to set up their own businesses.
The Dean said the UPSA Center for Enterprise and Innovation was established as an initial innovative and mindset-driven solution to the phenomenon of graduate unemployment in the country.
This, she added, led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University through UEIC, Innohub and the National Service Secretariat.
Dr Quansah said that in the Centre’s quest to tackle unemployment, the final pitch has become necessary as a tool to equip students with the skills, financial and technical support to perform at their best and be enterprising. .
She called on investors and organizations to support the center in its efforts to train and mentor students in entrepreneurship.
The judges, enthused by the students’ performance in presenting their business plans, praised them for deciding to start their own business, “saying there’s no better time to start a business. company than now”.
Mr. Emil Aurehoj Perssons, Partner and Head of Innovation at InspiNest, an entrepreneurship hub, said potential investors admire the candidate’s passion, enthusiasm and ability to not only articulate their plans, but how not the idea was innovative.
UEIC Board Member Richard Osei Owusu in an interview with Ghana News Agency said that entrepreneurship is a prerequisite for human and national development and there is a need to pay some attention to its growth.
“Ghana’s development will be built on entrepreneurship,” he stressed.
Therefore, he said, UPSA continued to provide students with the necessary skills to enable them to enter the labor market after graduation.
Zainab Sulaiman, founder of Norizona, a start-up that carbonizes agricultural waste into activated carbon and then uses it in the production of organic products, expressed optimism about the injection of capital to grow her business.
Caleb Agbodeka, founder of Momech Auto Service, said his company seeks to provide a way to connect drivers of broken down vehicles to the nearest mechanic shop as soon as possible.