ABOUT UPSA ENTERPRISE AND INNOVATION CENTER
In response to the growing interest of young people in pursuing entrepreneurship as a matter of clear interest or as a response to the unemployment challenge, the UPSA Enterprise Support Initiative, anchored by the UPSA Faculty of Business and its industry implementing partners, has been designed to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship and strategically build successful businesses by the UPSA student and alumni community, as well as other potential beneficiaries beyond the UPSA brackets.
The initiative has been designed by the UPSA Faculty of Management Studies, to address specific challenges faced by student entrepreneurs in their quest to build their businesses ventures, to promote entrepreneurial creativity and innovations among the student community at UPSA. The UPSA Enterprise Support Initiative is a broad one with specific components and related activities, all designed to address the proven needs of student entrepreneurs, immediate graduates and the surrounding community as an integration with the UPSA Community Service Scheme
Willing students: UPSA graduates 6000 students on an annual basis, with all these students going through the entrepreneurship program as a mandatory requirement. This presents a solid pipeline.
Experienced faculty: the university boasts of the presence of a faculty with the requisite experience and skills to support the initiative.
Network of industry partners: UPSA business faculty has attracted industry players as implementing partners and is positioned to attract corporate sponsors for the initiative
Available real estate: the university has available real estate to host various components of the initiative, with a facility already allocated to serve as a business incubator.
KEY PILLARS OF THE INITIATIVE
The following explains the various pillars
PILLAR 1- UPSA INCUBATOR
This is a physical facility that provides hosting to startup training programs, co-working spaces and meeting spaces. The training spaces can host 50 in a session, whilst the co-working spaces can host 50 persons at a time. This component was previously launched in 2018 and the new UPSA Enterprise Support Initiative will help enhance the work of the incubator through the coordination it presents. Similarly, the incubator will provide space to host various activities under the Enterprise Support initiative.
Particularly, the project will encourage entrepreneurial teams undergoing business training and incubation to work from the space offered.
PILLAR 2- UPSA BUSINESS BOOTCAMP
The UPSA Business Bootcamp will admit 100 student entrepreneurs and support them to validate their ideas through bootcamp-styled and hands-on training and coaching support for the entrepreneurs. This will culminate in a Business Plan Competition where the best 20 business plans will be selected for a final Business Pitch Session and Business Fair.
The Top 5 teams from the pitch will be awarded between Gh10,000 and Gh30,000 as seed funds for their ideas.
The bootcamp is anticipated between September 2021, and we will run two cohorts of this annually.
Training component: This will offer a blend of virtual and in-person training sessions to help students appreciate the critical business development blocks.
Coaching: Business Coaches will be assigned to support these entrepreneurs to make their learning journey more realistic and practical. These coaches will hold bi-weekly sessions to support the participants in smaller groups.
Networking: Participants will have an opportunity to network with experienced business persons through the program’s networking activities and business fair.
Seed funding: The top 5 participants will receive seed funds ranging from Ghc10,000 to Ghc 30,000
PILLAR 3 - UPSA VENTURE LAB
The UPSA Venture Lab will focus exclusively on graduates of the University who desire to set up their businesses. This will have two streams of entrepreneurs:
- Entrepreneurs on-boarded through the National Service Scheme: We are targeting to select 100 National Service Personnel each year who will be committed to working on their business ideas for the one-year period of National Service, reporting to the UPSA Faculty of Business.
- Regular UPSA alumni who seek support under the initiative to build their business ventures. They will have access to the coaches, mentors, training content, co-working spaces as well as a capital matching platform. They will also be able to participate in networking, exhibition and pitching events organized under the initiative
PILLAR 4 - UPSA CAPITAL MATCHING PLATFORM
Anchored on the need to help supported startups to be matched to funding sources such as grant-awarding bodies and capital holders that invest in small and early-stage businesses with flexible terms.
This component of the initiative will focus on making supported ventures investment ready and deal ready, by supporting these businesses to develop the following investment pack:
- Business Plan
- Financial Model
- Market Insights
- Growth Strategy
- Investor pitch deck
NSS Acceleration Program
PILLAR 5 - UPSA ENTERPRISE PARTNERS
To ensure the sustainability of the project; we will build long term partnerships with corporate institutions that are aligned to the objectives and expected impact.
Partners will be engaged continually through periodic networking events, quarterly newsletters, annual program reports and an annual partners dinner.
Partnership categories will include platinum, gold and silver. Corresponding amounts will be determined for each category.
Partners will have branding privileges, with prominence dependent on the level of support.