August 10, 2016
Over the past years, there has been a surge in the number of social enterprises in Ghana. The last 2 to 3 years has seen no shortage of them. It has been the “the battle of the SE’s” ranging from diverse backgrounds; food and agriculture, technology, telecommunications, media, fashion, finance, business, sanitation and education. This is proof that more and more people, especially the youth have become very passionate about using social enterprise models to solve the socio-economic and unemployment issues that the country face. Below I have compiled a comprehensive list of 10 most innovative social enterprises that have combined research and innovation to create jobs and opportunities to combat social issues while placing Ghana on the map.
Asoriba: The innovative start-up that is making news in Ghana and even across the globe, Africa’s Best Startup at the recently held Seedstars World event in Casablanca, Morocco. Founded by four young Christian brothers who saw the need to bridge the gap between the church and its members by creating an app where members can get involved in church activities wherever they are in the world. Whether it is paying your tithes or offering, downloading devotion, checking events updates or making a donation Asoriba Church Solutions has you covered.
mPedigree: The leading name in the use of mobile and web-based technologies in securing products against counterfeiting, faking and diversion. Their unique and innovative service provides people with the opportunity to verify the validity and authenticity of products. Their “Goldkeys” platform has become one of the surest ways of validating your product. Millions of products on the market these days are gold keys certified; verification is done via sms or web by sending the code on the product to a short code, then waiting for a validation feedback. mPedigree has partnered with many organizations including pharmaceutical, textiles and agricultural companies to bring to customers real products and experiences. Awards received by mPedigree include, West African Mobile Award 2016, Innovation in the Industry Award, Nokia Health Award etc. The Ghanaian company has regional offices in India and Kenya with the headquarters in Ghana.
Boomers International: Boomers International is the leading producer of bamboo products and accessories in Ghana. Their flagship and most successful venture so far are the boomers international bikes founded by Kwabena Danso. This venture aims to curb unemployment by creating opportunities and sustainable livelihood job skills through the building of high quality hand crafted second generation bamboo bikes for international exports. Originally marketed as the calfee bikes, the boomers international bikes are uniquely and strongly built, lightweight and antibacterial, can withstand harsh weather and road conditions, can be used for both commercial and personal purposes and are tailor made to suit the different needs of every individual. Not only does this initiative create jobs for the youth, but also provides financial support to under privileged school children in most rural areas.
Koko King: The purveyors of fine food. Founded by Albert Osei a banker by profession. He made the bold move of venturing into social enterprise and it has served him well. He identified a need and served it to full capacity. This well known enterprise is into the production of koko (local porridge) and all types of pudding to suit the breakfast needs of young professionals. His puddings come in branded cups and bags, with milk, sugar and peanuts and are delivered at your doorstep. Koko King has employed a valuable number of young people who sell on the streets using the customized Koko King motorcycles.
Zaacoal: Sulley Amin Abubakar founded Zaacoal to tackle some socio-economic issues that arise due to the use of our traditionally made charcoal. His goal was to address health issues such as lung diseases and other respiratory problems by producing smoke free, odorless, economical, sustainable and homogenous heat production through naturally derived coal. Zaacoal uses waste materials from coconut sellers in Ghana which they find difficult to dispose due to improper waste management system in the country. Zaacoal’s groundbreaking venture not only solves the issue of youth unemployment in Ghana but also addresses waste management issues. Their vision for the future is to become a household name in every home in Ghana and Africa at large.
Heel the World: Officially launched in Ghana by CEO Fred M. Deegbe. Another one of my personal favorites, “A True Ghanaian Heritage” as I call it. The shoes made by this company are handmade with raw materials from Ghana. He has employed quite a number of young men and women who meticulously work round the clock to produce these beautifully designed shoes. Heel the world not only graced us with their shoe making abilities but also partook in several social and youth empowerment programs including “the be your own boss” initiative; where he collaborated with Zhest consultancy to train aspiring entrepreneurs on how to grow their business, “the master craftsmanship”; where about a 100 young people enrolled in vocational institutions to study leatherworks and collaborating with other startups to feed and motivate school children across Ghana. Due to its outstanding success in the industry, Heel the World won the presidential award for best young fashion company in Ghana in 2013, became a member of the World Economic Forum and African Leadership Network, featured on media platforms; BBC, CNN and Aljazeera.
Wazuri Ghana: In Ghana coconut selling is commonplace for many under privileged youth especially men. It has in recent years become a thriving sector for the agricultural industry in Ghana. The 20 year old Adowarim Lugu-Zuri capitalized on this revelation by creating an innovative coconut sales and distribution company that is Wazuri. She has engaged many of these young men in her coconut sales and distributions company. She has several acres of coconut plantation in some two regions in Ghana and supplies 5000 pieces of coconut to customers weekly.
Moringa Connect: founded by Kwami Williams and Emily Cunningham who capitalized on the many benefits of the moringa tree to create Moringa Connect. Their research and knowledge on the moringa plant has benefitted many small scale farmers from the north and across Ghana; the initiative has served as a platform to train, provide food and financial support to them. They have trained and worked closely with these farmers to produce some of the best products on the market. Their flagship product True Moringa has gained success both locally and internationally. They have supported over 1600 small scale farmers throughout Ghana and have planted about 250, 000 moringa trees. Their goal is to become global leaders in the production of moringa natural beauty products and food supplements.
Farmerline: An initiative led by Aloysius Attah and Emmanuel Owusu Addai to solve communication issues faced by small scale farmers in Ghana. Farmerline is a web based mobile communication service provider supported by some renowned farmer-based organizations and ngo’s to provide key information to drive farmer operations in Ghana and beyond. The platform provides farmers and even fishermen with improved information access and better communication services on their mobile phones in any local language; they are able to send and receive messages such as weather forecasts alerts, market prices, new farming techniques, agrochemical applications and inputs etc. at a subsidized fee. The platform also provides advisory services to farmers. The main aim of the company is to empower the Ghanaian farmer and make farming easier.
Clean Team Ghana: an innovative social enterprise that provides sanitary solutions to low income urban folk in developing countries. They provide people without toilet facilities access to clean and safe toilets to reduce open defecation and improve sanitation in the country. The company was established in 2011, and have made tremendous impact on society by creating employment, removed tons of sludge from the Kumasi metropolis and provided people with access to clean, portable and human centered designed toilets. Clean Team Ghana has employed about 40 people, installed and freely rented out over 1000 toilets in Kumasi where they operate. The users of these toilets however pay a small monthly subscription service fee which includes collection of waste etc.
This post was written by Kofi Yeboah and Priscilla Naa Djamah Armah.