Govt sets up technology hub for ICT companies

BY: Mabel Aku Baneseh
The acting Managing Director of the Accra Digital Centre, Mr Eric Ofosu Nkansah
The acting Managing Director of the Accra Digital Centre, Mr Eric Ofosu Nkansah

The government has set up a technology innovation hub that can accommodate 50 start-up companies in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

A mobile application laboratory which will complement operations at the hub is also under construction and will be ready before the end of October 2018.

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The acting Managing Director of the Accra Digital Centre, Mr Eric Ofosu Nkansah, told the Daily Graphic that the government had provided seed money of $3 million for the project, which would run through to 2020.

An amount of $1.6 million has been earmarked for the hub, while the laboratory is being supported with $1.4 million.

Mr Nkansah disclosed that the centre, which will offer companies the opportunity to market their products, would be opened to the public before the end of 2018.


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Grant for students

Mr Nkansah said students would also be afforded the opportunity to market their projects through a competition, with the best among the lot being given grants to start their own businesses.

He further disclosed that the hub was expected to raise additional funds to sustain its operations in the near future.

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The hub

The digital innovation hub, which was set up through the Ministry of Communications, falls under the ICT Innovation module of the e-Transform Ghana Project and is aimed at promoting digital entrepreneurship, as well as creating digital jobs for the youth.

“The Ghana Innovation Hub will function as an incubation space with co-working space suited for start-ups and entrepreneurs, and a large events space for hosting events that will attract more established firms.

“Other units of the hub include a brainstorming space, offices, a boardroom, meeting rooms, a training room and a break-out section with refreshment corners,” Mr Nkansah highlighted.

He said the innovation hub and the laboratory were being managed on behalf of the government by a consortium.

“These firms, which are serving as grant managers, are experienced innovation intermediaries with expertise in entrepreneurship support and business acceleration, with demonstrated experience in designing and building substantial entrepreneurship support programmes from the design phase to the final implementation phase,” Mr Nkansah explained.

According to him, the project was leveraging resources and knowledge already invested in existing infrastructure in the ecosystem and partnerships provided by the government, industry and academia.

“In addition to providing physical locations for the development and growth of tech start-ups, the innovation hub will also provide virtual (online) services to encourage and support greater collaboration and coordination,” Mr Nkansah added.

Mr Nkansah said the Ministry of Communications, which is the supervising ministry for the project, would establish a board to oversee the operations of the hub, adding that “the government is expected to launch the Innovation Centre (Innovation Hub and Mobile Applications Lab) after work is completed on the Mobile Applications Lab (mLab)”.