July 5, 2020
The Ashesi Venture Incubator (AVI) has welcomed fourteen new alumni as part of its second cohort of fellows. The AVI is a one-year experience for recent graduates of Ashesi. Over one year, fellows receive help in refining their business models, coaching from business leaders, business development support services, and subsistence stipends. The program, launched in 2019 in partnership with the MIT D-Lab and with initial funding from USAID, has now enrolled twenty-six fellows.
The 2020 fellows are Grace Cleland ’20, Nazaretha Mawuena Nyamuame ’20, Emma Forson ’20, Robert Boateng ’20, Mohammed Hijazi ’20, Teni Agana ’18, Angela Boahene 20, Janet Fuah ’20, Bernard Wanye ’20, Pearl Abbam ’20, Ebenezer Tenkorang ’20, Nana Ama-Boa Amponsah ’17, Theresa Chidembo ’20 and Hannah Dorkenu ’20.
“Our goal is to reduce risk in the start-up process as much as possible, and help young entrepreneurs build impactful for-profit businesses while becoming more capable individuals,” shared Akeisha Amissah-Arthur, Monitoring and Evaluation Director. “Among several projects, our first cohort created impact programs that trained children, provided resources in training for marginalized communities, and published integrated research that advances innovation in various sectors.”
In a virtual ceremony held to welcome the new cohort, Project Lead Dr. Gordon Adomdza highlighted the AVI’s role in training entrepreneurs to build businesses that are profit-driven and socially conscious.
“Businesses should not only focus on profit, but they also have to figure out how to do good while doing well,” he shared. “These two goals have become more salient, especially in the COVID-19 era. We believe we are now charting a new path for youth entrepreneurship, by cultivating a generation of brave young graduates who are unafraid to rise to this challenge. This Venture Incubator is another step in furthering Ashesi’s mission of educating ethical and entrepreneurial leaders.”
The fourteen 2020 fellows will be growing businesses in multiple industries, including e-learning, artificial intelligence, hair care, and recycling. All fellows will also focus on identifying how their businesses can contribute to addressing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“Entrepreneurship is about identifying a problem or questioning the status quo and figuring out a way to do things better,” shared Ashesi President Patrick Awuah during the virtual welcome ceremony. “And in doing this work, it is important that you build as much social capital as possible. It is that intangible essence that lets you connect with others and grow trust between you and your team, your customers, stakeholders, and society. And that social capital is purchased with the currency of integrity.”
About the Ashesi Venture Incubator
The AVI is part of a USAID-funded initiative co-led by Ashesi and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) D-Lab called the NEXTi2i Project (New Entrepreneurs Exchange for Transformation: Idea to Impact). The program, launched in 2018, is in response to the USAID’s Accelerating Local Potential program, which supports partnerships between U.S. and African universities focused on deepening a strength of the African university. For Ashesi, that key strength was entrepreneurial leadership.
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