Accra, Feb 16, GNA – Entreprevolution Foundation, an organization that assists fresh businesses with resources to attain firm grounding in their endeavours across university campuses in Ghana, has been named a search partner by MassChallenge for its 2015 programme.
The Foundation’s main targets are university students with brilliant business ideas who, for lack of capital and other resources, may not be able to translate those ideas into viable businesses.
However, for this year’s search partnership with MassChallenge, Entreprevolution is searching beyond university campuses to identify top quality startups in West Africa that can benefit from a MassChallenge acceleration program.
They will help these startups to apply between Feb 11 and April 1 to enter the MassChallenge Accelerator in Boston, USA or London, a program that will run from June to October 2015.
Interacting with media persons in Accra on Saturday, Mr Nicolo Catto, Global Connector at Entreprevolution, said MassChallenge was the world’s largest business start up accelerator.
He said it was the first accelerator to support high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs in any industry with no strings attached.
It awards over $1m in cash prizes to winning startups, with zero equity taken.
It also provides world-class mentorship and training, free office space, access to funding, legal advice, media attention and over $10m in in-kind support.
MassChallenge provides an opportunity for startups to compete with a view to selecting the best for the needed startup accelerator support.
Mr Robby Bitting, Director of Marketing for MassChallenge said ‘by working closely with Entreprevolution, we hope to dramatically increase the impact we can have within the Western African start up community with a focus on Ghana and beyond’.
MassChallenge will provide Entreprevolution with a limited number of free applications to top startups and a number of discounted applications to its accelerator programs in Boston, USA and London.
Entreprevolution will help interested start ups with guidance through the application process, references for the start ups, visa support materials but no assurances, accommodation guidance in Boston & London, network introductions and important local information.
Selected startups will be expected to deliver a 20 minute pitch in Boston or London in May 2015 and if selected as finalist, startups need to be physically present and engage in the MassChallenge program from June to end of October 2015.
Mr Catto said ‘having lived in Boston for several years during my university education, this is a great opportunity for Ghanaian start ups that need that global exposure’.
Mr Bright Botchway, Funding Lead for Entreprevolution, said “I have worked with start-ups in Accra and in Boston at MassChallenge, I believe there is more than enough talent in Accra and West Africa to compete and win on global platforms such as what MassChallenge provides’.
Mr Botchway said he was optimistic that interested startups in the sub region will use the opportunity to get themselves out there on the world’s biggest stage.
Entreprevolution is a non-profit organization founded on the premise that closing the entrepreneurship ‘practice gap’ is the best way to engage the growing number of university graduates, with shrinking job opportunities.
Dr. Gordon Adomdza, an entrepreneurship professor in Boston, who is also a co-founder of Entreprevolution, said the organization helped small groups of interested students to practice the art of entrepreneurship through workshops on campuses across Ghana.
At these workshops, he said, project teams were provided with tools to help them understand the problem they were trying to solve, tools to test whether the problem fitted an actual need in the market place and further tools to develop business models and to test them.
All these, he said, were done before starting a business on their idea saying ‘when you have the resources and you want to start a business, you can start small and build from there’.
‘But when one does not have the resources, like most students, and not sure if they have a good idea, they should be able to experiment with the idea and the market before investing any significant amount of money’.
‘That’s what we help project teams do,’ Dr Adomdza said.
While Entreprevolution is using this opportunity to issue an open call to help all interested startups in Ghana and West Africa for this year’s MassChallenge applications, it hopes to field more teams from its own cross-campus accelerator program in the near future when it’s well-established.
‘Participating in accelerators abroad is not for every startup,’ Dr. Adomdza said.
He said he was of the view that local start ups were increasingly facing global competition and ‘we want to enable some to insulate themselves by helping them engage directly in the global start up scene from scratch’.
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