NBC Summer School Ends on a High Note!

The Summer School of the New Business Challenge 2021 ended with a blast! Being the first of its kind, the summer school was very well organized and came to a successful closing on the 27th of August, 2021. 48 excited participants joined in both 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.

 

The first day of the Summer School was filled with talks by experts such as Gladys Ofei from the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ghana, Anne Katrien Dennissen from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency/Rijksdienst Voor Ondernemend Nederland, Maya Turolla from the African Studies Centre in Leiden and Dr Samuel Ntewusu from the Institute of African Studies of the University of Ghana Legon. These presentations highlighted on longstanding economic relationship between both countries and introduced participants to the various programs and opportunities offered by the Netherlands Embassy.

In the afternoon, participants connected online to meet their teammates. The teams already fulfilled their first assignment together by getting to know each other and sharing their motivation to join the New Business Challenge. Everyone ended the afternoon on a high note by testing their knowledge of both the Netherlands and Ghana.

The second day delved deeper into doing business with both countries. In the morning, Femke Dekker and Dennis Acquaye from the Netherlands РAfrican Business Council  shared many insights  on doing business in (and with) the Netherlands and Ghana. The participants had many questions and felt ready to seize any business opportunity coming their way!

Afterwards, the participants were introduced to the Orange Corners program. In the Netherlands, Ingrid Flink shared her experience with the Orange Corners program and the impact it has for entrepreneurs all around the globe. In Ghana, participants hopped into the bus and visited the Ghana Innovation Hub, which hosts the Orange Corners Ghana. They were warmly welcomed by Vivian MensahDogbatse and Luuk Hackeng from MDF West Africa, who shed light on the importance of entrepreneurship and how the Orange Corners program impacts the ecosystem in Ghana.

Later in the day, participants worked on a real-life business challenge. In Ghana, the participants furnished 6 entrepreneurs from the Orange Corners with ideas to address their identified business challenges. In the Netherlands the participants worked on a business case by Closing the Loop. After a pressure cooker of two hours, each team presented their solution to the entrepreneur – many innovative ideas were exchanged that day!

Day 3&4 were undoubtedly the most intense days of the Summer School. Participants worked together online on a real-life business case. This year the Dutch – Ghanaian partnership between Legon Botanical Gardens and Avatarz was looking for fresh ideas. The pandemic also had its effects on Legon Botanical Gardens and they sought out some innovative ideas to attract new customers to enjoy the green space in the heart of Accra.

The Dutch-Ghanaian teams dived right into it with the support of coaches Diwy from Crosswise Works and Jemila from Circumspecte. The teams went from brainstorming to funneling their ideas, to idea development and working on their final pitch. They 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), this made team CHALE the winner! They came up with a sustainable art exhibition with huge and amazing sculptures made from recycled materials. Congratulations once again to Team CHALE.

The last day of the Summer School was an exciting and practical one, participants went on company visits. In the Netherlands, 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 gained 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. This innovation will come to Accra by next year.

The Ghanaian participants visited Blue Skies. This visit started at the farmer level where they met the Chief Agronomist of the farm, Billy, and toured his impressive pineapple farm. Billy walked participants through the process of farming pineapples. Afterwards, they got a tour of the Blue Skies factory and its many departments. 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!

 

The first edition of the New Business Challenge Summer School was a success! A big thank you to all who made the first ever NBC Summer School a success, we now look forward to the upcoming Expedition trips.

To ensure that COVID protocols are observed, only 16 participants (8 Ghanaian and 8 Dutch) can take part in the upcoming NBC Expedition Trips next year. 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.

Keep an eye on our social media and website to be updated the next pha