NBC 2022 Summer School A Success!

The Summer School of the New Business Challenge 2022 was a success! 48 excited participants joined in Accra and The Hague, to explore the business relation and opportunities between Ghana and the Netherlands. In addition, the participants were provided a platform to build professional networks, effectively cooperate online and gain useful insights to address real-life business challenges.

On the first day of The Summer School, participants were introduced to The Netherlands and Ghana. The day was filled with presentations by experts such as Anne Katrien Dennissen of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), Maya Turolla of the INCLUDE knowledge platform, and Dr. Samuel Ntewusu of the University of Ghana’s Institute of African Studies. Each presentation provided participants with insights into how the Netherlands and Ghana were growing together.

This was followed by sessions on the Basics of Intercultural Cooperation, held in The Netherlands by Joana Lamptey, a former employee of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ghana and in Ghana, by Joana Chemel of MDF West Africa and Ileen Wilke of IFDC.

The participants connected online in the afternoon and met their teammates from both countries. The team already fulfilled their first assignment together by getting to know each other and their motivation to join the New Business Challenge. The day ended with everyone in high spirits and ready for the rest of the week.

The second day delved deeper into doing business with both countries. In the morning, Femke Dekker from the Netherlands-African Business Council gave an insightful presentation on doing business in and with Ghana. The participants had a lot of questions and were prepared to seize any business opportunity that came their way! Following that, participants were introduced to the Orange Corners program.

Ingrid Flink, in the Netherlands, shared her experience with the Orange Corners program and the impact it has on entrepreneurs all over the world. In Ghana, the participants traveled to the Ghana Innovation Hub, which is home to the Orange Corners Ghana. They were welcomed by Vivian Mensah Dogbatse who spoke about the importance of entrepreneurship and the Orange Corners program.

The participants then worked on real-life business challenges. In Ghana, 4 Orange Corners entrepreneurs received very insightful solutions to the business challenges whilst participants in the Netherlands worked on the business challenge of Closing the Loop. After an intense brainstorming session of 2 hours, participants were ready to present their solutions – many innovative ideas were exchanged!

Days 3&4 were undoubtedly the most intense days of The Summer School. Participants were tasked with brainstorming feasible solutions to the Business Case of Jolinaiko Eco Tours. Participants had to answer the question: How can Jolinaiko Eco Tours Market and build a solid brand identity for ‘The Shop’ under its Clean and Green Hub Project?

The Dutch-Ghanaian teams dived right into it with the support of coaches Diwy Tomassen from Crosswise Works and Wisdom Kpegba from Stepping Stones Africa. The teams went from brainstorming to funneling their ideas, to idea development and working on their final pitch.

The teams worked effortlessly for 2 days and presented their ideas in 3 minutes, in front of the case holders and their colleagues. The diversity and originality of the ideas were incredible.

The participants voted for the most feasible idea (and they could not vote for their own), Congratulations to the A team for winning this edition of the Summer School!

The last day of The Summer School was an exciting & practical one, the participants were going on a company visit!

The Dutch participants visited NETICS, The Innovation Engineers who are currently working on the Drainupgrader project. The DrainUpGrader is an attachment for regular excavators and makes erosion-resistant drains. The participants were able to get more insight into this innovation and were able to experience the prototype. The project of NETICS is connected to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency as they are working with one of their instruments. The innovation will come to Accra by next year!

In Ghana the participants visited Blue Skies, they started at the farmer level where they visited the impressive pineapple farm of Billy Farms. The Chief Agronomist walked the Ghanaian participants through all the steps of the process of farming pineapples. Afterwards, they got a tour of the Blue Skies factory and its many different departments working together. Blue Skies is famous for its cut fruits that are exported to Europe every day. They add value at the source and make sure their products get to the customer within 36 hours!

It was an insightful day for all the participants and they learned a lot about doing business in real-life! They ended the Summer School on a high note with this exciting company visit, the photos speak for themselves. A big thank you to Blue Skies and NETICS, The Innovation Engineers for the warm welcome of the New Business Challenge participants.

A big thank you to all who made this Edition of NBC Summer School a success, we now look forward to the upcoming Expedition trips. Only 16 participants (8 Ghanaian and 8 Dutch) can take part in the upcoming NBC Expedition Trips in October and November. Each participant submitted a three-minute video stating why they should be selected to participate in the NBC Expedition Trips, even though this was a tough decision, the final 16 participants have been selected to participate in the Expedition Trips.

Don’t miss out, keep an eye on our social media and website to be updated on the next phase of the NBC.