The 2020 and 2021 winners of the Israeli Green Innovation Competition (IGIC) have stated that the youth in Ghana have the solution to what can propel the country forward.
They have, accordingly, urged the youth not to sit on the various innovative ideas they have, but rather initiate them so they would get the needed help from people.
The winners, Jeffrey Boakye Appiagyei and Deladem Kojo Xonu, gave the advice at a media briefing organised for them in Accra on July 21 by Strategic Communications Africa Limited (Stratcomm Africa).
Instituted in 2019 by the Israeli Embassy in Ghana in collaboration with the Ghana Garden and Flower Movement, which is a Stratcomm Africa initiative, the IGIC seeks to honour individuals and organisations that come up with innovative solutions that promote environmental conversation and agriculture in Ghana.
It focuses on innovative start-ups in the agriculture and horticulture sector which are in line with Israel’s commitment to stimulate both agriculture and innovation in Ghana.
The competition is open to all Ghanaians between the ages of 15 to 40 years who, among other things, have an already working or existing prototype. Winner of the competition receives a fully paid trip to Israel to participate in industry related meetings, excursions and conferences to learn best practices, to network and to seek potential investors to expand their existing businesses.
Messrs Boakye and Xonu, who were the winners for the 2020 and 2021 competition, could not travel to Israel due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated travel restrictions. They had the opportunity to do so recently and the press briefing was for them to share information about their experiences on the trip.
Mr Xonu’s innovative idea was to build a solar dryer that would help farmers to dry cassava within the shortest possible time in hygienic conditions and the essence was to reduce post harvest losses. His innovation also includes converting the cassava peels into clean cooking fuel.
Sharing his experiences about start-ups in the country, he said it was always difficult: “You don’t have access to funds and even when your product has reached a certain stage that you need to scale up, the funds don’t come.”
He described his trip as a big potential for him because it enabled him to meet potential investors and institutions in similar business.
For his part, Mr Boakye said the youth did not need billions to start a business idea, pointing out that once they have the brain, they should take the step and they would make it.
He stated that he had been made to understand that the land flowing with milk and honey that Israel had been associated with was actually in reference to their brain, adding that everything that country had achieved was about applying their innovative ideas.
In her remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of Stratcomm Africa, Esther Cobbah, said the company believed that communication was a critical tool for national development and that was why as the country’s premier communications agency, they were always looking for opportunities to deploy their expertise to help individuals, communities, the nation and the continent.