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Be driven by innovation, President Akufo-Addo urges “Presidential Pitch” winners

President Akufo-Addo has charged winners of the 2020 Presidential Pitch to focus on developing innovative ideas as they go about growing their businesses

President Akufo-Addo has charged winners of the 2020 Presidential Pitch to focus on developing innovative ideas as they go about growing their various businesses.

The president gave the award recipients the charge when he addressed a brief ceremony at Jubilee House in Accra to present the winners with their cheques to support their respective businesses.

“I want you to see yourselves first as Ghanaian entrepreneurs. But apart from being Ghanaian entrepreneurs, you have a huge world out there which you have to do your best to conquer. So you must see yourselves both as Ghanaian entrepreneurs and global entrepreneurs, people who are going to change the circumstances in which we all live,” the president said.

“For that to happen, innovation, new idea, and that is why you have been selected as the Presidential Pitch winners. The whole principle should be innovation, innovation, innovation,” President Akufo-Addo added.

In brief remarks on behalf of his colleagues, Douglas Akoglo, the overall winner of the 2020 Presidential Pitch, registered the appreciation of all the winners to the President and he pledged that they will put the resources advanced to them to good use in order to grow their businesses and to create jobs.

“I want to assure you on my behalf and on the behalf of my fellow winners that we will ensure that these funds are put to good use to the benefit of our community, of the country and to everyone,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo with all the 2020 Pitch winners at Jubilee House

First, second and third place

Douglas Akoglo, the chief executive officer of SheaCoal Zoyanna Enterprise, who pitched on developing sheanut residue into charcoal emerged as the overall winner of season three of the Presidential Pitch.

He received GHC70,000 and an additional GHC30,000, a personal contribution from the president.

Theophilus Dumenyo (Anquito) placed second and received GHC60,000.

Cornelius Nyobator (Verdant), who was third, also received GHC60,000. The other winners received between GHC30,000 and GHC50,000.

Meet the judges

Season three of the Presidential Pitch had four judges.

They are Richard Abbey, chief executive officer of Xodus Communications Ltd; Rebecca Donkor, founder and chief executive officer of Makeup Ghana; Dr Pascal Brenya, a training and capacitydevelopment expert, who is also the chief executive officer of Focus Central; and Rashida Saani Nasamu, multiple-award-winning serial entrepreneur, who is the chief executive of the I-ZAR Group.

2020 contestants

There were ten contestants taking part in the pitch.

Among them were Abubakar Salih (Edoedo), Michael Atamakira (Project Wastek), Justice Amanfu (Geeks and Clicks), Abdul Gafaru Amin (Imperishable) and Cornelius Nyobator (Verdant).

The remaining contestants were Ahiatrogah Norkplim (Dela Technologies), Irene Atawobe (SheaMe), Douglas Akoglo (SheaCoal Zoyanna Ent), Theophilus Dumenyo (Anquito) and Kendell Elizabeth Mantey (Lednek Soycaff).

Why the Presidential Pitch?

It is estimated that 250,000 young men and women are thrown out onto the job market from the country’s educational institutions.

Currently the formal sector is able to absorb only 2%; the remaining 98% either look for jobs in the informal sector or become unemployed.

The Presidential Pitch seeks to deepen entrepreneurial passion amongst Ghanaian youth through the incubation of business ideas into innovative and enterprising business opportunities.

Markets ideas

The Presidential Pitch is a project designed and organised by the Ministry of Business Development to offer young Ghanaian entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 the opportunity to market their business ideas and get financial assistance to implement those ideas.

The project is in line with President Akufo-Addo’s vision of assisting young entrepreneurs to nurture their business ideas, and thereby improve their livelihoods.

The pitch usually involves 200 competitors. In the course of the competition, this number is scaled down to ten finalists.

The seed money of between GHC30,000 and GHC70,000 given to the winners is a grant and not a loan. The ideas presented by the contestants must exhibit four characteristics: feasibility, innovation, scalability and impact.

Wilberforce Asare / Asaase Radio

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