ITC launches Tech Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Mapping report

By Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo
Business & Finance ITC launches Tech Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Mapping report
MAY 19, 2022 LISTEN

The International Trade Centre (ITC) through its Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF V) Tech project in Ghana on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, officially launched the Tech Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Mapping report to help startups and agri-techs in scaling up.

The NTF V programme is based on a partnership agreement signed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and the UN International Trade Centre (ITC).

It will run till June 2025.

Its ambition is to support MSMEs and their ecosystems in the digital technologies and agribusiness sectors, linking up both for synergies and business opportunities.

The programme covers both sectors in Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, and the digital technologies sector in Benin, Ivory Coast, Mali and Uganda.

Following work by the ITC in Ghana where key players in the agribusiness and tech sector have been engaged, a report has been put together detailing challenges and gaps in the ecosystem and how they can be addressed.

Among the challenges, the report identifies inadequate soft skills and mentoring, lack of investment readiness, a number of missing linkages, lack of international exposure, and many others as major gaps.

In the short term, the report recommends an increasing focus on Agri-tech and awareness of its opportunities and attractiveness.

While the report proposes increasing funding opportunities for entrepreneurs, it recommends that in the long term, a digital entrepreneurship hub should be created to promote collaboration.

Speaking to ModernGhana News on the sidelines of the launch of the report held at the Ghana Tech Lab, Associate Expert, Tech Sector Development at International Trade Centre, Milou van Bruggen explained what went into the report saying, “We really looked at what are the gaps and we created recommendations which we have been discussing today how to take this forward.”

Milou van BruggenMilou van Bruggen

She said what the ITC is aiming to do with the report is to see which ecosystem players fit in what recommendations, work with them and look at how to secure support from her outfit, the government or any other stakeholder.

“Who we mainly aim to work with is the tech hubs and the government-related bodies that focus on digital ICT so perhaps the Ministry of Communication. So those are the main players but then the tech startups as well,” Milou van Bruggen shared.

She expressed appreciation to the Ghana Tech Lab, noting that the lab has been at the centre of everything as a great partner.

On her part, Julia Zietemann, an Associate Programme Officer at ITC added that although an ecosystem is already in place in Ghana, the report was necessary because it has become clear there is not a lot of collaboration happening in the area of information sharing.

Julia ZietemannJulia Zietemann

She said it is as a result of this that the ITC is developing a common database and network for all players in the ecosystem to connect.

“There have been a lot of reports out there but I think most of the reports get stuck at the writing report level. That’s why we came together here today where we try to provide a wide range of different stakeholders because what we have been seeing when going through the past reports is that there was a change but most of the things remain the same,” Julia Zietemann indicated.

In an interview, National Project Coordinator for the Netherlands Trust Fund V programme, Isaac Newton Acquah disclosed that his outfit is working with 25 startups including tech companies to help scale them up.

“We are working with tech hubs, we are working with government agencies to see how we can help them connect with some of the companies that we are working with. We are looking at how we integrate everyone to see how the ecosystem works, their challenges and their strengths,” he said.

Isaac Newton AcquahIsaac Newton Acquah

According to Isaac Newton Acquah, after bringing together various stakeholders for the launch of the Tech Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Mapping report, the focus now is to see to it that various problems identified are solved.

He said the NTF V is determined to see the report being tangible and actionable to lead to systematic change.

“We want to see what we can do in the three years to strengthen the ecosystem to make it better than we came to meet it. To make it resilient, more connected, stronger, vibrant, and have the right people talking to each other,” the NTF V Project Coordinator stressed.

For the sake of sustainability, Isaac Newton Acquah adds that his outfit is tasking the Ghana Tech Lab to hold a session in a couple of months to keep tabs on the progress of work.

Speaking to Ammishaddai Ofori who is the Lead consultant with Business Development Advisory Consultancy after the launch event, he expressed confidence in the work being done by Isaac Newton Acquah and the NTF V.

He said he has no doubt that through the work of the NTF V Project coordinator, the recommendations in the Tech Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Mapping report unlike in the past, will this time around be implemented for the success of the agri-tech and the startup ecosystem.

“If the recommendations are executed, I’m honestly sure the expected impact would be achieved. Most of these solutions have been suggested but the execution is what has been problematic. So yes if the recommendations are implemented I think it will help.

“What will make it work is a connector [Isaac] who will always bring everyone in the sector together. Not just a one-time connector,” Ammishaddai Ofori emphasised.

Find a copy of the Tech Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Mapping report HERE.

Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo
Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo