BY TOM JACKSON
Twenty-two Ghanaian startups have been selected for the second cohort of the UNICEF StartUp Lab, a co-creation space and incubator that helps startups develop innovative, open-source, market-driven products and solutions to complex problems impacting the well-being of children and young people, especially the most vulnerable.
Over 200 applications were received from across Ghana for the six-month business and product development programme, which will give participants access to UNICEF’s wide network of technical experts to help them extend their social impact and enhance their products.
Each startup will benefit from group and individual mentoring, as well as capacity building sessions to help scale and grow their business to compete internationally. Training and curriculum will be managed by MEST Africa, the programme’s main implementing partner, supported by additional technology hubs and an international team of experts.
The selected companies include e-commerce platform Africa Goodnest, digital identity software company BACE, healthcare platforms Bisa, Digital Health Access and MOCHCare, ed-tech platforms DEXT, eCampus, Scribble Works, TalentsinAfrica and WiredTutor, and waste management companies AppCyclers, Asa Nwura, Coliba and Premier Waste Services.
Also participating are social entrepreneurship platform Geohebeth Lines, healthcare e-learning platform LEAP, female-centered support community Massira, electronic micro bank and savings platform Naa Sika, geolocalisation company SnooCODE, financial inclusion company Trimester Save, commuter community platform Trotro Diaries, and rural poverty alleviation company Wings to Fly.
“UNICEF is excited to welcome this new cohort of 22 startups from across Ghana to the UNICEF StartUp Lab for 2021,” said UNICEF deputy representative Fiachra McAsey.
“Each of the startups are already marketing impactful products and services that, if brought to scale, can positively influence and accelerate results for children, young people and communities. Over the next months, the UNICEF team will be working closely with this group of companies, and with the right support, we believe several of the solutions being worked on by these businesses could eventually have global impact.”
Over the course of the programme, the startups.will also benefit from further development opportunities through UNICEF’s global innovation and entrepreneurship support mechanisms, including the UNICEF Venture Fund, and engagement in initiatives such as the Digital Public Goods Alliance.