February 10, 2014
Commissioned by DFID as part of its developing program to spur entrepreneurship in several sub-Saharan African countries, KolCo’s report presents a diagnostic overview of Ghana’s startup scene, mapping and evaluating the landscape of hubs, investors, foundations, and other entrepreneurship players; sampling a range of startup enterprises; and examining the challenges that firm founders – and the ecosystem as a whole – face.
Our report also reviews publications relevant to Ghanaian entrepreneurship, surveys data ranking the West African country’s startup climate regionally and internationally, and culminates in a series of recommendations describing activities that could bolster entrepreneurship in Ghana.
KolCo’s analysis is structured around our Six + Six Model, which probes the six pillars essential to a successful entrepreneurship ecosystem (identify, train, connect & sustain, fund, enable, and celebrate entrepreneurs) and the six participants involved in their implementation (NGOs, foundations, academia, investors, governments, and corporations). Among the report’s observations and findings:
The entrepreneurship ecosystem in Ghana is ripe for turbocharging.
Compared with other countries that KolCo has worked in – even those with larger populations and greater gross domestic products – Ghana is especially primed to leverage entrepreneurship to create jobs and grow the economy. Yet our findings indicate the ecosystem needs bolstering in order to capitalize on the budding activity we observed. Pro-entrepreneurship activities are required to nourish these roots and ensure startups can access the support they need to succeed.
Several challenges are especially pressing:
Identify and Connect & Sustain: We view the overall ecosystem as surprisingly “full”, but there are limited effective capacity building services for entrepreneurs as there are very few very strong ecosystem players. Activity is somewhat fragmented and the ecosystem is weak outside of Accra.
Train: Despite a couple of bright spots, the education system struggles to adequately provide Ghanaians with the entrepreneurial, problem-solving, and technical skills and knowledge required to generate significant startup activity.
Fund: The “finance gap” is obvious in Ghana. Angel investing is practically non-existent.
Enable: Ghana lacks a true government-based champion of entrepreneurship, but regulatory and policy issues are minimal.
Celebrate: There is a gulf of opportunity for the media to raise the profile of entrepreneurs and celebrate startup success.
Among the aspects of Ghana’s ecosystem that warrant leveraging:
- Entrepreneurial energy is on the rise, and Ghanaians frequently say: “We have many problems, so there are many opportunities”.
- The Ghanaian diaspora and recent returnees are playing major roles in the ecosystem.
- The budding ICT scene in Ghana boasts both a growing following of young Ghanaians and the ecosystem’s single most comprehensive actor.