The New Business Challenge, an initiative of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, to discover new potentials for trade and investment in Ghana has been held in Accra.
The New Business Challenge provides the opportunity to selected Ghanaian students to work with their Dutch counterparts in groups for six weeks to come out with solutions to business cases of Dutch enterprises that want to do business in Ghana.
The companies which provided such business cases were Philips, which is looking for a business model to replace kerosene lanterns with solar lamps for households in Ghana, Deltares, which is looking out for innovative solutions for the increasing damage caused by invasive water plants, and, Dijkstaal, a company looking for a sustainable business model to implement new bridge project in Ghana by working with local communities and government to ensure commitment and long term relations.
The students who participated in the business challenge were therefore divided into groups with the three companies having two groups each to work out the solutions, bringing the total to six groups.
In his welcome address, Mr Hans Docter, the Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, said the business challenge offered a unique opportunity to uncover potential opportunities for trade and investment in Ghana and to create networks.
Mr Docter said it would also help encourage innovative entrepreneurship and exchange of knowledge between the Netherlands and Ghana by facilitating a beneficial cross over between education and practical experience.
He said the business challenge would contribute to private sector development in the Netherlands and Ghana, as well as promote closer networking between educational institutions by recruiting talents that would make education more practice oriented.
He gave the assurance that both Ghana and the Netherlands would keep growing together economically, socially and culturally.
Professor Gosky Alabi of the University of Professional Studies commended the Dutch government for organizing the business initiative which she described as timely.
She advocated a shift in the educational approach from teacher dependent to learner dependent as well as training graduates in a way that they would be needed by industries after completion of their education.
After the presentations by each of the various teams, the three member jury adjudged the Philip One team as winners for providing the best business model, and a representative of Philips has promised to work with their proposal. GNA