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Reflections : Ghana StartUp Cup 2013

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Ghana StartUp Cup 2013 was the most successive startup event in Ghana. With only 36 applications – 33 from Ghana,  one each from Nigeria, Kenya and Botswana, the event ended with infectious smiles on the face of participants and sponsors. It all started with a generous partnership with GCEEI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Africa Youth Economic Forum, where the competition was launched, followed by a full month for business model submissions.

The judges and mentors for the programme, which consisted of professional businessmen and advisors, took up the challenge of reviewing each business model and providing specific business mentorship for budding entrepreneurs who took part in the competition for 6 months. Selection moved from Top 18 to Top 7 until the final three were awarded at the awards ceremony.

Ghana StartUp Cup 2013 was proudly sponsored by Liberty Capital Holdings Ghana Limited (Title Sponsors) and Ghana Angel Investor Network(GAIN). Through  sponsorship, training sessions, as well as pitch and mentorship sessions, meals, media and other basic requirements were covered. Entry into the competition was however free.

 

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The climax of the 6 months competition happened to be the awards dinner where we had speeches from the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Gene A. Cretz, MD of Liberty Capital, Roger Adjovu, Investor Relations of Ghana Angel Investor Network, Leticia Browne, and Ghana StartUp Cup Chair, Emmanuel Nyame . Read Ambassador Cretz’ full speech HERE.

Each of the seven finalists were awarded. The final awards categories  and recipients are below:

  • Awards for Environmental Sustainability :

Winner: GUARDIAN ANGELS

  • 2nd Runner Up:

                GENESIS FINANCIAL SERVICES

  •  1st Runner Up:

                MANSUKI GHANA LTD

  • Overall Winner:

BRAVEHEARTS EXPEDITIONS

BraveHearts would continue to the World StartUp Cup, where they would have the opportunity to compete with other winners and ultimately fight for a spot in the top 7 finalists so as to compete in Armenia

Ghana StartUp Cup caught the attention of over 50 media houses (including television, radio, print and online) during the 6 month period of the competition and this was a good sign of how Ghanaians truly cherish entrepreneurship. This year provides another opportunity to challenge previous year’s standard, while achieving greater heights.

This year, the team at Ghana StartUp Cup have interesting programmes coming up as we partner with StartUp Cup’s Head of MENA (Middle East North Africa) and Africa region, Dalia Al-Said to launch a competition that would not only be fun to participate, but one that would be memorable and impactful

We therefore call on all stakeholders, governments, support agencies, to come on board the 2014 Ghana StartUp Cup, so as to achieve greatness together!

Ghana StartUp Cup is proudly hosted by Dream Pathway International with Sponsorship from Liberty Capital Holdings Ghana Limited and Ghana Angel Investor Network and support from US Embassy-Ghana, GEW-Ghana, Ghana Chamber of Commerce, MEL Consulting, Hub Accra, among a host of partners.

We look forward to a successful launch  Mid-Year.

 

 

7 Entrepreneurs Advance to Final Round

From more than thirty business models sumbitted, seven Ghanaian entrepreneurs have advanced to the final round of the Ghana StartUp Cup Business Model Competition. On November 9, 2012 the seven finalists will present a two-minute pitch to the panel of local StartUp Cup judges.

The Top 7 finalists are(In no particular order):

1) Onecedi.com

onecediOnecedi.com , an initiative of Virtual Innovations group, is an online based startup which offers an easy and convenient way to shop, providing customers with a unique shopping experience with low prices, great choice and comprehensive product information plus free delivery on purchase . Items on sale include  Books, Music, Software,Electronics, Toys, Home & Garden, Grocery, Sports & Leisure, Jewellery & Watches, Health & Beauty, Baby, Shoes, DIY & Tools, Car & Motorbike, Clothing and many more.

 

 

 

2) Guardian Angels

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The Guardian Angels company manufactures and sells a solid perfume whose components is made up of bees wax, almond oil, petroleum jelly and essential oils. The solid perfume is light; does not spill due to its solid form; its odor is long lasting due to the potency of the bees wax, the ingredients and scent of the perfume are also long lasting. It does not contain alcohol which makes it suitable for people with sensitive skin.

 

 

 

3) Genesis Financial Services

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Genesis Finance is a multi award-winning microfinance company  which provides tailored products and services to the unserved Ghanaian niche. Genesis aims at reviving the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises through credit and investing to maintain the brand equity they have built over the years. Genesis aspires to be a top Bank by 2018.

 

 

4) Visser Farms

Visser farms is an agricultural company that deals in rearing, sales and medical maintenance of Grascutter, Africa’s second largest rodent.  Visser farms makes use of clinically accepted standards in catering for rodents and hopes to expand its local base of production

 

5) Mansuki Ghana Ltd

Mansuki

Mansuki Ghana Limited (MGL) is a manufacturing, packaging, trading and service company. MGL manufactures bathing soaps – African black soaps (AlataSamina), body creams/butters, hair food/pomade and massage oil. It has 9 different finished products to its credit with the brand name; MGL naturals

 

6) Mobilicious

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Mobilicious is a mobile food service that provides services across tertiary campuses in Ghana. It’s based on the phone call order system where a student calls to order and delivered to their respective hostels

 

 

 

7) Braveheart Expeditions

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BraveHearts Expeditions is an adventure organization which engages young people worldwide in adventurous nature research expeditions and education in order to help to conserve the diversity and integrity of life on earth, while helping individuals discover their survival abilities in a most profound way.

 

 

Before the final presentation round on November 9, the seven finalists will receive specialized coaching in two main areas: business model and pitching techniques. This coaching will connect them to resources and expertise to help polish their business model and pitching skills for the final round of judging.

“All of the entrepreneurs in the First Presentation Round inspired us with their passion for their business, and their interest and responsiveness to our judging panel. Even though only 7 could advance to the  Finals, they are all winners and will no doubt make valuable contributions to our community,” said Marina Langereis, a judge on the panel.

The top Ghana StartUp Cup Business Model Competition winners will receive a cheque from Liberty Capital Holdings Ghana Ltd as cash prize, among other business advisory support services from the Ghana Angel Investor Network (GAIN) and other key partners to the Ghana StartUp Cup process.

The top three winners will be announced during the Ghana StartUp Cup Business Model Competition celebration that will be held during Global Entrepreneurship Week on the 21st of November 2013.

Ghana StartUp Cup Launched

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AICC, Accra -May 25, 2013

StartUp Cup, a featured event of the Global Entrepreneurship Week, has been launched by the Chairman of the Ghana StartUp Cup in Accra in the Capital.

This business model competition which is the first of its kind in Ghana was launched at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) on the 25th of May, 2013.

It occurred on the platform of the Africa Youth Economic Forum (AYEF) which took place at the AICC to commemorate the Jubilee Celebrations of the Africa Union (AU) Day.  The youth forum was organized by the Ghana Centre for Entrepreneurship, Employment and Innovation (GCEEI) in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ghana.

StartUp Cup, as it is the first time to hit the shores of Ghana is in well over 40 but in close to 50 countries across the globe.

Before the launch of the programme, a brief round-sitting discussion was held by the major players of the programme and they consisted of the StartUp Cup Judges, Mentors and some notable stakeholders in the entrepreneurial Ecosystem, some of whom are Mr. Stephen Gyasi-Kwaw who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of  Youth Enhancement International and Madam Leticia Browne, Investor Relations at Ghana Angel Investor network (GAIN) all of whom delivered their speeches during the discussion.

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of  StartUp Cup, Mr. Sean Griffin said, He is very excited that Ghana StartUp Cup has joined the StartUp Cup Community.  He Challenged the Ghanaian community to support the diverse entrepreneurial climate.

He said StartUp Cup does not seek to glamorize the Startup process.  Rather it moves beyond generation of ideas by focusing on the mechanics on what is required to design and build a business that can stand the test of time.

StartUp Cup is a global network of business model competitions designed to provide community-based and long-term support to participating local entrepreneurs during their early growth stages. This proven model to build businesses and create jobs can be replicated in any community.

StartUp Cup is a Featured Event of Global Entrepreneurship Week and an Official Partner of the U.S. Department of State’s Global Entrepreneurship Program. Partnering with Ghana StartUp Cup are, ColoJar, Ghana Angel Investor Network (GAIN), and Global Entrepreneurship Week- Ghana.

Other partners include MEL Consulting, Africa Youth Economic Forum, Growth Mosaic, HR Focus Magazine, Hub Accra, Startup Digest( Powered by Kauffman Foundation), Beauty Secrets Cosmetics, Dutch Lady Consultancy, myjcr, One Broadcast and DTE Group Inc.

According to Mr. Emmanuel Nyame who is Chairman of Ghana StartUp Cup “StartUp Cup is a great opportunity for Ghana’s entrepreneurial community”

Most important of all according to Mr. Nyame, “StartUp Cup is a proven model to grow an entrepreneurial ecosystem as it comes with an added value of being able to support entrepreneurs and arm them with skills which will propel them from ground levels to the heights in business”

He said StartUp Cup is a global network of locally driven business model competitions open to anyone with any type of business idea.  He said, entrepreneurs will receive coaching and mentoring from local seasoned entrepreneurs and business leaders throughout the competition.

He then stated that online submissions will be open until June 30, 2013 by 11:59pm.  He further entreated all youth (students, graduates, workers, etc.) who have the interest and would want to take part in the business model competition to visit their website on www.ghana.startupcup.com.

Mr. Emmanuel Nyame later stated that entrepreneurs who would participate in the Ghana StartUp Cup business model competition would be required to design a viable business model, develop customers, and accelerate their startup into the marketplace through a comprehensive six-month judging, coaching, and mentoring process.

He said an award ceremony will be held in November to announce the winners during the Global Entrepreneurship Week and the grand prize winner will be eligible to compete in the World StartUp Cup in 2014.The winning company then gets an all expenses paid trip to the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Moscow, Russia. Over US$ 30,000 worth free services, prizes and specific awards would also be available to finalists. There would also be an investment structuring with the Ghana Angel Investor Network (GAIN).

Most important of all is the life-long support that StartUp Cup provides, said Mr. Emmanuel Nyame, Chairman of the Ghana StartUp Cup.

The 98% Entrepreneurship Reality

An Entrepreneurial Renaissance

There is no question about it. It’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur wherever you live in the world. There is more attention being given to entrepreneurialism as a viable career path and way to innovate than at any other time in history. We are at the beginning of a full-blown entrepreneurial renaissance.

Organizations and programs that support new technology companies to launch and gain access to the tools, resources, and capital that accelerate building scalable, high growth businesses are being introduced on a daily basis.

Startup programs like Startup Weekend, Lean Startup Machine, TechStars, and YCombinator are highly successful at filtering large numbers of technology companies with mentoring and funding designed to test their business models in an effort to grow big, fast.

Let’s face it, you are hard pressed to go a full day without being fed a news story about a technology company that has raised their first and second multi-million-dollar investment or the latest IPO making the founders into millionaires and billionaires. Very exciting times indeed. At least for those that are able to turn their startup into piles of cash.

Over Promoting Unrealistic Behavior

There is a little known fact behind every startup story that puts a newly funded company on a pedestal, and very few people are talking about it. What is this little know bit of information?

Only 2% of all startups are funded by angels, accelerators, or venture capitalists. Let’s state this in a different way so that it will fully sink in. Only 2% of all startups have a business model, experienced team, connections, and scalability, usually technology based, to raise money from investors.

Funding is for the elite. More and more the funding is going to ivy league college graduates and teams that have a proven track record of generating huge returns for investors.

This means that 98% of all entrepreneurs and startups are not gaining access to the tools, resources, and financing opportunities that will give their new company the opportunity to grow.

It’s Not Always a Technology World

It is time to think different about what it means to be an entrepreneur. The myth is that you have to be a rock star and grow a technology company to be the next Facebook or Google. This does not reflect the true reality of what it means to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurialism is a lifestyle, a mindset, a way to live a life with greater purpose and meaning. If we are to overcome the economic challenges we face as a world we need to focus more energy on supporting the 98% of entrepreneurs who are starting new companies.

The challenge is that the 98% do not meet the capitalistic nature of our economy today. That is to say, that they do not have a company that can grow big fast and generate handsome returns for investors. No wonder so many have so much anger towards Wall Street.

The World Needs Small Businesses

The entrepreneurial reality of the 98% is that they are low-tech or no-tech companies, have done little or no planning, are made up of unproven teams, have little to no experience starting a company, and are not graduates of ivy league universities. In addition these companies only require a few thousand dollars to start generating revenue and will only grow 2 – 20 jobs.

Startups do not need to be a technology company. They do not need to change the world. They just need someone with an idea and the passion to take that idea into the market place. Just think about how different the American economy would be if we were giving small business startups a similar level of access to networks, coaching, and team development as the 2%.

We are over promoting unrealistic behavior. Instead of focusing on raising lots of money let’s focus on the development of viable business models that connect with customers willing to pay for the value created by the startup. By focusing on the generation of revenue that drives profitability there is less and less need to raise money.

Small business is at the cornerstone of entrepreneurship. Some will become the next Apple and most will become the next corner drugstore owning their business for 20 years. Both deserve the same support and regard for making a difference in our lives.

StartUp Cup is born out of this frustration to see entrepreneurs armed with any type of idea gain access to the coaching, resources, and tools that the 2% have access to.

It’s time to start celebrating the real heroes of our economy, the 98% who work to make our lives better each and everyday.