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ICS UK-Government support for Kumasi businesses and youth

The team of 16 volunteers (8 from the UK and 8 from Ghana) have been trained by the pioneering social enterprise Challenges Worldwide through a development programme called International Citizen Service (ICS), in collaboration with the Kumasi Hive, an innovation hub.

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From June to September, volunteers sent by the UK government are working with small and medium sized businesses in Kumasi to promote sustainable and inclusive development.

The team of 16 volunteers (8 from the UK and 8 from Ghana) have been trained by the pioneering social enterprise Challenges Worldwide through a development programme called International Citizen Service (ICS), in collaboration with the Kumasi Hive, an innovation hub.

ICS is a UK-government funded development programme that brings together young people from around the world and equips them as volunteers to make an impact in communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America - a once in a life-time volunteering opportunity open to all 18-25 year-olds.

The volunteers are helping 8 businesses in Kumasi for 12 weeks and are working in two’s (one Ghanaian volunteer and one British volunteer) to analyse each business and then suggest new strategiesto be implemented. Through the programme, the businesses will gain access to opportunities for low-cost financing, trade partnerships and other forms of business support.

One of the businesses receiving support through the programme is Kente Master. Founded in 2014, Kente Master is a fabric artisan company committed to promoting African culture through the sale of premium Kente graduation stoles to buyers across Ghana and around the world. In doing so, Kente Master hopes to raise incomes and economically empower the Ashanti weaving communities. Peter Paul Akanko, CEO of Kente Master, says he is “very excited” as the program promises to put his business “on the right trajectory”. Akanko is particularly grateful for the possibilities to expand into new markets and to gain financial support and business advice.If you are interested in receiving support for your business, visit www.challenges-group.com

Challenges Worldwide and ICS are now looking to recruit Ghanaian volunteers for the next 12 week cycle. It is a life-changing opportunity which increases the employability of volunteers, giving them international business experience, management training andtuition for a qualification from the Chartered Management Institute in London. Three Ghanaian ICS alumni have gone on to become Challenges Worldwide staff whilst many others have successfully started their own businesses. To apply, visitwww.challengesworldwide.com and www.volunteerics.org

Challenges Worldwide and ICS are working in Kumasi for the first time and collaborating with the Kumasi Hive, in Kentinkrono. The Kumasi Hive is an innovation hub for the rapid prototyping of ideas, the development of local innovations and the promotion of entrepreneurship through support for start-ups. It has a ‘Makerspace’ equipped with cutting-edge technology (including 3D printers and a laser cutter) where entrepreneurs can prototype and develop new products. The Hive also has a start-up incubator and runs skills and training programmes on technology, product development, business and entrepreneurship. Visitwww.kumasihive.com

Note to press: to follow up the story please contact zac.hill@challengesworldwide.com or james.montgomery@challengesworldwide.com

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