The National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) is a flagship policy initiative of the government of Ghana and a Technical Implementation Partner under Component 3 of the Ghana Economic Transformation Project, (GETP) a World Bank Project under the Ministry of Finance. NEIP’s Hubs Acceleration Grant Programme is to support the hubs to accelerate Start-ups and SME growth in the nation.

As part of this component, NEIP called for applications from eligible organizations with experience in Innovation Hubs Management and the financial capacity to apply for a grant to set up New Hubs with the appropriate specifications and sector focus.

The grant Programme competitively selected a number of hubs which will be providing technical assistance and capacity building to address gaps identified during the benchmarking exercise. Selected Hubs will receive grants up to $200,000 to support their operations, upgrade their offices and equipment, and run the Acceleration programmes. At the Contract Signing Ceremony of the NEIP Hub Grant Programme today, Kofi Ofosu Nkansah, CEO of NEIP in a speech said, ‘’ Today’s event is testimony to the determination of the President of the Republic through the GETP to enhance the capacity of the entrepreneurship ecosystem’’. The full speech of the CEO of NEIP at the contract signing is below.

Officials from the World Bank and GETP PCU, Our Deloitte Consultants, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem stakeholders present, Colleagues from NEIP, the Press, Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning and welcome to the contract signing ceremony of the NEIP Hubs Acceleration Grant Programme (HAGP), under Ghana Economic Transformation Project. On the 23rd of February 2023, I together with my colleagues from NEIP and the stakeholders in the Entrepreneurship ecosystem launched the Hubs Acceleration Grant Programme.

Today 8th June 2023, I am happy to announce that after a diligent and thorough process, we are about to do the contract signing with beneficiaries. Today’s event is testimony to the determination of the President of the Republic through the GETP to enhance the capacity of the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

As you may be aware, the Ghana Economic Transformation Project has four (4) components, and NEIP’s programmes fall under Component 3 of the project.

The component 3 supports entrepreneurship and SME growth in non-resource-based sectors and it is aimed at addressing the limited development of the SME and entrepreneurship support ecosystem, including early-stage financing to promote and strengthen a growth model that is conducive to economic transformation, to achieve higher rates of investment and productivity growth across the economy, especially in non-resource-based sectors.

The Hubs Grant sub-component under Component 3 which contract ceremony we are executing today, is a Grant Programme to support the development of the entrepreneurship ecosystem by building the capacities of entrepreneurship hubs to bring the quality of their services up to international standards. The Hubs will be supported to run programmes, that would benefit firms and startups within our communities.

The grant programme was competitively designed to select a number of hubs which will be provided technical assistance and capacity building to address gaps identified during the benchmarking exercise.

Today’s grantees or beneficiaries were selected based on the following criteria:

The qualification criteria for applicants were as follows:

  1. Hubs Must be legally registered in Ghana.
  2. Ownership must be 100% Ghanaian.
  3. They Must have operated as an Enterprise Support Organization in Ghana for at least three (3) years.
  4. They should have Core expertise in Entrepreneurship Support and business acceleration.
  5. They Must be able to present a qualified and competent team of Business Development Experts, Mentors, Trainers.
  6. They Must be able to demonstrate standard business practices such as good corporate governance, bookkeeping and accounting etc.
  7. They Must be ready to contribute in-kind resources such as staff time and physical locations to the program.
  8. They Must have adequate space to host the intended programs for start-ups.
  9. They must Show Traction of Previous Work Experience with detailed Profile.
  10. They Must Submit a two-year financial report.
  11. Must submit a one-year Acceleration Programme concept design for start-ups.

We received close to one hundred (100) applications when the portal was opened, after evaluating the applications, and whittling them down to the first forty (40) hubs, we undertook a due diligence visit to all the forty shortlisted hubs. There, we took stock of their capacities, programmes offered, and challenges faced, this was aside confirming information and picking up more data to aid in the due diligence effort.

A mapping and classification exercise was conducted simultaneously during the Due diligence stage. The purpose of this mapping and classification exercise was to identify and classify entrepreneurship hubs in Ghana, aiming to enhance quality and service offerings to international standards. The final report provides overview of the hub landscape, including locations and key characteristics, while assessing level of collaboration, sustainability of operations, service offering, impact, and challenges. It will serve as a foundation for developing capacity building plans, training programs, and benchmarking initiatives. The objectives include identifying hubs, classifying them based on criteria, analyzing their distribution, and offering recommendations for improvement.

The HAG Programme focused on Hubs operating in the following sectors: Agriculture, technology & innovation, Light manufacturing & processing, waste & green businesses, and technical and vocational oriented Hubs.  We encouraged the active participation of women, youth, and persons with disability in the grant programme.

Disbursement of funds will follow immediately after this contract signing. That will not be the end of the process, a period of monitoring and evaluation will commence where we will track key milestones and ensure compliance and use of funds for the intended purpose.

As part of the monitoring and evaluation the NEIP shall request for quarterly and annual reports all in a bid to grow our ecosystem to world standards, on the way to producing Ghana’s first Unicorns.

The Phase 2 of the Hubs Acceleration Grant Programme will cover set up and operationalization of new Hubs, including revitalizing Hubs which are not more than 2 years old.

The CEO of NEIP furthered his speech by first acknowledging his team at NEIP and project lead Franklin Owusu Kakari for the good job done in the project. He also thanked the World Bank Team, the Project Coordinating Unit of the GETP , the Deputy Minister of Finance Hon John Kumah and the entire Ministry of Finance who are responsible for the management of the grant and also he acknowledged the consultants of Deloitte.

Kofi Ofosu Nkansah ended his speech by saying, “Finally, we thank H.E the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for his continuous support for the growth of Entrepreneurship Ecosystem, for his various interventions to ignite and unleash the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of young people in a bid to mark conscious departure from job seeking to job creation and job ownership. Thank you very much for your attention.


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