The meeting, which was held at the Kumasi Hive premises, was an outcome of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Mapping Project – The core of the ecosystem mapping was to initiate conversations with key organizations as a means of understanding their challenges and contributions to the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Kumasi.
A curated list of organizations was shared with the Mapping Team with in-person meetings carried out earlier this year under the Pathways to Sustainable Employment (PaSE) Project. The PaSE project also under a bigger project umbrella, the Young African Works Initiative (#YAW), is funded by the MasterCard Foundation and will create 30 million jobs in Africa by 2030.
The event had in attendance representatives from various institutions within the Kumasi Ecosystem. Stakeholders were categorized under 6 pillars; 1) Human Capital 2) Media 3) Finance 4) Market 5) Support and infrastructure 6) Government and policy. The theme for the meeting was “THE ROLE OF WEB TECHNOLOGY FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF THE LOCAL ECONOMY FOR JOB CREATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT”.
However, before the start of the main program, the Managing Director of Kumasi Hive, Mr. Maurice Nii Adjei Cashinco made a presentation on the results the team gathered during the Mapping out of organizations and institutions and, most importantly, how they assist entrepreneurs using their office.
Per the results, the team identified that most organizations and institutions within the Ashanti Region have small business holders at heart, and do their best in ensuring that these small businesses scale-up to meet the demands of the day.
The stakeholders present suggested that to have a perfect representation of the results, it would have been great if the team had selected quite a number of the organizations so their responses could reflect in the results. They also gave their utmost support to the team, if the need is to come around again to solicit such data for future use.
The overall objective of the meeting was to engage stakeholders in conversations on maximizing web technology for economic value. There were two main sessions; 1) A forum session, where stakeholders delivered presentations 2) Focus group discussions by each pillar Mr. Samuel Sakyi Duodu, the Assistant Commissioner of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Asokwa MTO Office, was the Keynote Speaker for the event.
He spoke extensively on the importance of Web Technology and its potential for development. He stated that meetings as this was a great platform for the various stakeholders to make contributions that can translate to progressive change in government bodies and systems. He acknowledged Kumasi Hive’s role in providing digital and business skills to young people and is looking to collaborate in the future.
We received presentations from representatives of participating organizations under each pillar. Their presentations addressed the ways they use Web Technology: potential and opportunities, key challenges and problems facing their industries, key existing market opportunities and market needs, skills required to satisfy the current market needs and creation of potential new markets by web technology. Stakeholders identified challenges and opportunities in their industries and how they make use of web technology in their organizational operations.
In the focus group discussions, stakeholders were grouped into pillars and were tasked to come up with three key policy solutions to help promote web technology for a digital economy considering the challenges they faced in their industries.
Policy solutions by each pillar were summarized and presented to the group by the Lead for Research at Kumasi Hive, Miss Freda Gbande. Below are some of the policies from the focus group session;
● Hubs and other incubators should have partnerships with the banks to recommend entrepreneurs and trainers for opportunities
● Create more platforms to provide local communities with IT skills
● Strengthen confidentiality on the parts of banking institutions, customers, and contractors
● Teach children in basic and high schools Web Technology
● Integration of Digital Citizenship and literacy program into our educational curriculum
● Telecommunications companies to create af ordable data packages for businesses and educational data users
● Independency of institutions that are web technology advocates.
● Promote digital marketing training for SMEs and organizations.
● Promote a flexible work environment for working remotely
● Leverage on social media and other platforms to create awareness on TVET institutions and their relevance to local and national development
● Authorities at national levels should decentralize information to the local level
● Periodic technical training should be held to train staff in organizations
● Include digital skills training in capacity building programs and initiatives
● Enforce policies on content management
● Enforce policies on data and service charges
● Enforce regulations of media training institutions
● Enforce policies on content security.
According to Miss Freda, these policies are key solutions that will greatly impact the ecosystem here in Kumasi when implemented. She added that these dialogues will enable stakeholders to contribute to policy-making and champion the change we want to see.