Innovators from 20 startups across Ghana have been selected to undergo a six months training as the third cohort in the UNICEF Startup Lab programme.
The cohort includes businesses working in sectors with direct and indirect effects on children, youth, and their families, such as adolescent wellbeing, education, health, and sanitation.
The UNICEF StartUp Lab, which was established in 2019, works with young Ghanaian businesses to create and commercialize cutting-edge, open-source goods and digital solutions to address complex issues affecting the wellbeing of children and young people, especially the most vulnerable.
The selected innovators would take part in a specific accelerator programme which aims to improve their businesses and contribute to advancing the SDGs for children and young people.
“UNICEF is committed to supporting young people across Ghana who are generating entrepreneurial and innovative business ideas to support their communities.
“The UNICEF StartUp Lab accelerator programme provides them with valuable knowledge and capacity to improve their readiness and ability to succeed in the marketplace”, Fiachra McAsey, UNICEF Representative ad interim, said in a statement issued by KOICA on Tuesday.
It said this opportunity for young social impact innovators had attracted the support of the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and recognising the strong drive among Ghanaian youth to start their own businesses, KOICA was collaborating with UNICEF under the KOICA-UNICEF Accelerating Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Ghana Project to further expand the successful UNICEF StartUp Lab accelerator programme.
“There are just seven more years to reach the SDGs and that makes it critical to support programmes that will help speed up progress to reach the goals. Through this collaboration, we hope that we can expedite entrepreneurship and innovation in Ghana, especially those that contribute to support the efforts of young entrepreneurs whose determination will eventually contribute to the growth of the Ghanaian economy.” said the Senior Deputy Country Director for KOICA Ghana, Mr Seungmin Oh.
According to the announcement, MEST Africa and UNICEF were working together to implement the program, through which participants would have access to specialized groups, one-on-one mentoring, and networking opportunities.
Additionally, it stated that they would work together with technical specialists from UNICEF, KOICA, and MEST Africa as well as be supported by a number of regional innovation hubs.
“The startups will be able to access seed funding to enhance the digital components of their businesses through UNICEF and KOICA, and gain international and national investment opportunities, including through the UNICEF Innovation Fund and the Digital Public Goods Alliance”, it said.