My D-Lab: Inclusive Economies project focused on how to accelerate the Ghanaian social entrepreneurship ecosystem through Ashesi University's incubator New Entrepreneurs Xchange for Transformation: Idea to Impact (NEXTi2i). NEXTi2i is a program validating and accelerating early-stage African social ventures addressing global development challenges.
Entrepreneurship brings about many societal and economic benefits but where does Ghana stand compared to other market players?
Throughout my research and interviews, I have seen the entrepreneurial paradox that Ashesi students and alumni are facing. On one hand, the Ghanaian entrepreneurial ecosystem faces various types of challenges: the high cost of physical infrastructure, limited access to finance, and increased demand for coworking spaces. For these reasons, student and alumni-led social ventures are not thriving in the same way as regular start-ups do. Social entrepreneurship is often seen as an unproven career choice. On the other hand, there is growing interest from the private sector and the government in entrepreneurship. Intermediaries are also actively collaborating on ecosystem building.
I thus focused on these three questions for this research:
- What are the constraints and opportunities present in the Ghanaian entrepreneurial ecosystem?
- How is NEXTi2i providing tangible solutions in response to these constraints?
- What are the inclusive and transformational impacts that NEXTi2i could potentially have on the local and regional economies?