iSpace National Entrepreneurship Tour(iNET) 2019: The Experience, The Fun & The Lessons
On Saturday, November 16th 2019, a 5-member team from iSpace embarked on a Nationwide Tour of Ghana dubbed The iSpace National Entrepreneurship Tour(iNET). The theme for the tour was “Making Entrepreneurship Great Again”. Since the tour was the first of its kind organized by iSpace, the excitement among the team members had built up considerably. Six (6) hubs in various locations across the country were earmarked to partner iSpace during this Nationwide Tour that spanned a period of two weeks. These included Hopin Academy (Tamale), Grassroot Hub (Kenyasi), Kumasi Hive (Kumasi), HapaSpace (Kumasi), iCode(Takoradi), Tarkwa Hub (Tarkwa).
The first destination for the team was at Hopin Academy in Tamale, where the team arrived at about 9am on Monday, 18th November for a two-day workshop on technology and entrepreneurship. On the first day, Josiah Eyison (CEO) & Peace Akontoh (Accountant) took entrepreneurs through Business Model Canvas Development & the Principles of Budgeting & Bookkeeping for startups. Mr. Eyison discussed into detail the need for strategies of engagement as entrepreneurs and encouraged them to maintain a great relationship with their key partners especially their customers. Miss Akontoh also led discussions on the pivotal role of a good accounting system for all startups as well as the need for proper Bookkeeping, Budgeting, Receipt Tracking & Expenditure. Day 2 was all techy, as the entrepreneurs were taken through the basics of essential digital tools in the startup ecosystem. The Lead Developer, Brian Adjei and fellow team member Nasiba Bawa trained the startups on how to use digital tools such as Trello and Slack whilst interacting with the entrepreneurs on building web solutions for their businesses.
Next up was Grassroot Hub at Kenyasi, where the team spent a day at the hub training the entrepreneurs in business development and technology. Entrepreneurs were also taken through the basics of accounting, proper record keeping & bookkeeping. The team also noted the unique warm reception they received at Kenyasi. The entrepreneurs at Grassroot Hub commended iSpace for taking the initiative to reach out to entrepreneurs in other parts on the country. “Being a part of this program was delightful and a truly intriguing experience for me”, one participant indicated. “Not only did I learn how to prepare a professional budget, I also learnt how to harness the power of social media in marketing my products, developing a business model canvas and accessing the various security measures in safeguarding data. I would definitely like to do this again as soon as possible”.
The iSpace Team with Entrepreneurs at Grassroot Hub, Kenyasi
By Friday the 23rd of November, the team had already arrived at Kumasi. At Kumasi, the team trained entrepreneurs at two different hubs namely Kumasi Hive & HapaSpace. The team took time to address the questions of entrepreneurs in the areas of business and technology. The Lead Developer – Brian, in addressing the need for entrepreneurs to make use of technology indicated that the importance of employing digital tools in business cannot be over emphasized. He stressed further that technology offers businesses news ways to connect, collaborate, and conduct business whilst reaching a wider range of customers with ease.
Tarkwa Hub was the penultimate stop for the team. The team got the opportunity to interact with entrepreneurs as well as students of Tarkwa Senior High in an unexpected positive turn of events. The entrepreneurs were taken through basic business development using the fante dialect whereas the senior high school students were introduced to basic web development. Lastly, the team visited iCode at Takoradi on Monday the 25th of November. The team got the opportunity to interact with the start-up community in Takoradi on topics in business development and technology. There was also a one on one session between Brian & the various CTOs and Developers. He expressed concern over the seeming disconnect in the relationship between CTOs and CEOs. “Some people say developers in Ghana suck! Although this may relatively be true to some extent, the key is for startup founders & fellow developers to work together to create that positive synergy that translates into proper engagements with their clients.”
During the tour, the team some time to relax & blow off some steam. At Tamale for instance, the team visited the famous Savannah Centre for Contemporary Arts & Culture (SCCA). Elsewhere in Takoradi, the team also visited a native fishing community, the Takoradi Sports Stadium, the Harbor and several other eateries.
Savannah Center for Contemporary Arts & Culture(SCCA)
1. Reaching Startups Outside Accra
“The main idea that I have gotten from this Tour is to train more developers outside Accra. This would enable more entrepreneurs scale their business with technologies” – Brian Adjei, Lead Developer
From this tour, the iSpace team identified the need to reach startups outside Accra. Most startups outside the capital struggle to get the right resources, skill acquisition and funding to take their businesses to the next level. Similarly, developers in the various hubs that took part in the training sessions requested for more networking opportunities with fellow developers through developer meetups & bootcamps.
2. Environmental Influence on the Startup Ecosystem
“Having visited these entrepreneurs from the various hubs, with different backgrounds and ideas; one thing I realized was that their background, their environment informed their business idea and the approach that these entrepreneurs took. As such I also, as a tutor tailored my lessons to meet their direct need.” - Peace Akontoh, Accountant
The team identified patterns between the business & tech solutions provided by entrepreneurs and their immediate environment. Hence, the need for start up hubs to tailor solutions and skill training programs to meet the need of startups within their immediate environments.
3. Communication & Teamwork as an effective tool
“Team work really made the dream work on this tour. We all combined our efforts and knowledge to Make Entrepreneurship Great Again for all Startup founders. Another lesson I learnt on this tour is Communication. Not only was communication an effective tool in our team work but it also helped us connect to Startup founders from all region from one group page on WhatsApp where we all shared ideas and they learnt on the go.” - Brian Adjei, Lead Developer
The need to communicate and network as a team was essential to the successful completion of the tour. From sharing toothpastes to having brainstorming sessions, the iNET tour was a great opportunity for the team to strengthen communication and beef up teamwork.
In fine, the iNET tour was a perfect blend of networking, fun and sightseeing. The iSpace team appreciates the warm reception given the team across all 6 partner hubs across the country. We look forward to another exciting opportunity to Meet, Network & Share ideas with startups across Ghana in business development and technology.