In May, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation kickstarted a competition, the GrEEn COVID-19 Innovation Challenge targeted at youth in the Ashanti and Western regions of Ghana.
The GrEEn COVID-19 Innovation Challenge was aimed at supporting entrepreneurs and developers with innovative ideas and solution to the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic and formed part of activities of the Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) Project, which SNV has been implementing with the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The COVID-19 Innovation Challenge was organised together with I-Code in the Western region and Kumasi Hive in the Ashanti region.
34-year old John Mark Addo is an engineer who developed a foot pedal handwashing machine. His invention and business plan resulted in him getting selected as one of the winners from the Ashanti region.
“I applied to the GrEEn Innovation Challenge due to the lapses I saw in my business and I wanted to advance my study in business development. Through our training, we have been taught how to build our businesses, how to get a good value proposition and then how to get good partners and to market ourselves outside and therefore this has impacted my life a lot, helping me advance my business," says John.
John not only specialises in the WASH sector but also uses renewable energy to develop products such as solar lanterns, solar home systems, fabrications and clean cookstoves.
“I know green entrepreneurship is a type of entrepreneurship that deals with innovations and ideas that are green solutions. This means that our solutions have to impact the world in a positive way, helping overcome climate change and climate effect. I believe everyone can have an impact on the world. Everyone can make a change in this world," he added.
The Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) project is a four-year action from the European Union, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ghana, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The project aims at creating greater economic and employment opportunities for youth, women and returning migrants by promoting and supporting sustainable, green businesses in two selected regions in Ghana: Ashanti and Western. GrEEn is implemented under the European Union Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa with a total contribution of EUR 20,600,000