The grande final: All-female team Solidaridad wins NBC 2019!

The Ghana Study Trip for the New Business Challenge ended with a bang, as the 10 teams competed to be the winner of the New Business Challenge 2019 in the nerve wracking final. This was the moment the teams were waiting for all along, the final was finally here!

All the teams prepared a presentation, a 2-pager and poster to showcase their innovate ideas, as a solution to the offered business challenge by the different participating companies. During the afternoon of the final, the teams presented their solutions to the company representatives, the independent jury and their fellow-participants. Each team had 7 minutes to present, which after the independent jury had 5 minutes to ask questions. The jury was made up of Gladys Ofei (Senior Trade & Innovation Officer at the Netherlands Embassy in Accra), Carl Acolaste (Co Founder MindNET Technologies Ltd, Development manager at Spaans Babcock and Board member GNBCC), Néné Barry (Branch Manager Witteveen+Bos Ghana and Board Member GNBCC) and Henry Derben (Co Founder & Communications Lead Crust Media, Business Development Consultant PICHA Stock and NBC alumni 2015). All jury members have credible experience in the private sector and social entrepreneurship so they were the perfect fit to judge and examine the presented solutions. It was up to the honoured jury members to decide which team chose the best focus to address the business challenge and offered the most innovative, feasible and impactful solution.

This was not an easy task for the jury! Of course the teams worked in different fields: from agricultural distribution, e-waste collection, affordable housing, increasing living wages for farmers till customer reliability. Moreover, every team had its own dynamic team process and it’s unique selling points. The innovative ideas were vibrant in the room and the applause was loud after every presentation. Who would win the New Business Challenge 2019?

During the cocktail at the Netherlands Residence, the teams were anxiously waiting for the decision of the jury. The participants were warmly welcomed by the Deputy Ambassador Katja Lasseur together with over 200 guests. She emphasized how happy the Netherlands Embassy is to foster the relations between Ghana and the Netherlands through innovative young minds. The Chief Director of the Ministry of Business Development, Mr. Alhaji Hazif Adam, spoke of the importance of entrepreneurship in Ghana and encouraged the participants to foster the entrepreneurial flame which the NBC lighted within the participants. After the welcome speeches, it was up to chair of the jury Carl Acolatse to announce the winner:

The 3rd place was for Closing the Loop team 2 with their partnership with churches to gather e-waste, the 2nd place went to Solidaridad team 1 with a transparent crowd-funding model. For the first time in the NBC history an all female team, team 2 from Solidaridad won the New Business Challenge with an income diversification scheme for smallholder farmers with activities such as soap making, poultry raising, snail farming and beekeeping. This allows farmers to earn a sufficient living income and allows the farmers to unite in a village savings and loans group. Congratulations to the team and it’s hardworking team members Lisa, Cecilia, Anita and Sharon! Also a big congratulations to Solidaridad by supporting it’s teams, which allowed them to end both in the top 3.

With a bang, the Study Trip Ghana came to an end. A big thank you for everyone who made the NBC 2019 possible, especially the organizing team with GNBCC, Ileen Wilke and Joana Chemel as project coordinators, and SustainbleMotion, project manager Cees Dekker, in the lead. A bigger thank you for the coaches: Samuel Waterberg, Jemila Abdulai, Marieke Jacobs and Diwy Tomassen for their guidance and support during the New Business Challenge. And last but not least, the brilliant participants who made this NBC an unforgettable experience.