Updated: Apr 6
The Ghana Hubs Network (GHN) with the support of GIZ Make-IT in Africa is implementing the Digitization and Hubs Capacity Strengthening Program over eighteen months.
Established in 2017, the Ghana Hubs Network currently consists of over sixty (60) innovation hubs in Ghana who have come together to build on shared expertise, ideas, and resources across Ghana. Member hubs leverage on the extensive and diverse network to provide supportive services to the stakeholder community of entrepreneurs, innovation hubs, development partners, and government.
In this way, GHN facilitates access to cross-cutting skills including digital technologies and technology entrepreneurship, in addition to members providing incubation, acceleration, and maker space among other services to startups, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Furthermore, GHN engages government and development partners in creating an enabling environment for the enhancement of the innovation ecosystem. In the process of coordinating and facilitating network-related programming and activities, GHN has identified gaps and challenges which include;
1. Lack of a centralized data collection and analysis system for hubs to capture, store and analyze in support of program and policy development.
2. Limited capacity of member hubs to enhance the resiliency of business models especially post covid-19
All these serve as a hindrance to the strategy of serving as an intermediary for helping innovation hubs in Ghana to deliver on skills development and job creation as important drivers of the country's development. The impact of these challenges on the operations of the hubs and the facilitation and coordination role of the GHN are many-fold which include; the inability to influence policy, investments towards startups due to inconsistencies on services, products, opportunities, and challenges that need attention through a mix of the private sector, academia, and governmental support.
These challenges came to light when an immediate post-pandemic project was implemented to quickly assess the Resiliency of the innovation hubs in Ghana. The intervention dubbed the Resiliency for Hubs project was conducted in partnership with Ashesi University and GIZ during which a competency mapping exercise revealed key issues which are being addressed. The pandemic had disrupted the business and service models of the innovation hubs for which strengthening of capacity was needed to augment the need to engage startups, innovators, and entrepreneurs and their intermediary hubs more effectively.
Therefore, the digitization and capacity strengthening program which began in 2022 is focusing on building a platform for effective data capture, processing, and development of investment strategies, research, and policy insights. This is in addition to reinforcing the internal systems of member hubs including their financial viability with a focus on Fundraising/business development and human resource specifically looking at the onboarding of new staff. Through this, hub managers and program lead capacity are being strengthened to focus and be efficient on their specific competencies to be able to deliver measurable impact. By so doing, the Ghana Hubs Network is building on strong technical programming, governance, operations, finance, monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning component capacity targeting forty (40) GHN member hubs across the 16 regions of Ghana.
By way of sustainability, GHN will leverage this program partnership to create a talent exchange component that will seek to harness rich human resources and experts from within the network and partners to share expertise as well as business development solutions in support of expanding Hubs and Startup's capacity strengthening.
Ultimately, at the end of the program in June 2023, partners are optimistic that this laudable intervention will lead to more opportunities for the Hubs Network and its members and create the needed enabling environment for startups, innovators, and entrepreneur support with the aim to enhancing skills, driving investments in solutions and ideas and influencing policy.
By: Yaw Adu-Gyamfi
Research and Policy Lead
Ghana Startup and Innovation Bill
Director of Research and Policy, Ghana Hubs Network