Economic Empowerment for Youth and Women through Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TVET)

Duapa Werkspace is a non-profit organization in Takoradi, Ghana, dedicated to combating youth unemployment
by providing technical, vocational, and entrepreneurship training to empower young people with employable
and entrepreneurial skills.

Our Vision

We envision a world where young people are empowered with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to create their own employment opportunities, leading to sustainable and fulfilling livelihoods

Our Mission

To combat youth unemployment and promote entrepreneurship by providing tailored capacity-building programs, cultural integration, and mentorship in Ghana's western region.

Our Aspiration

Every youth will have the opportunity to shape their own improved lives through self-created opportunities

Our Story

In the pivotal year of 2000, our founder, Mr. Erasmus Mensah-Ackon, encountered the harsh reality of unemployment due to a lack of computer literacy. Undeterred by initial setbacks, he persisted until he secured a job that not only introduced him to the world of computers but also provided an invaluable opportunity for on-the-job training. This experience became the stepping stone to his remarkable journey. His dedication and acquired skills led him to CAL Bank Limited, Takoradi branch, where he ascended through the ranks from teller to operations officer between 2003 and 2009. This journey not only showcased his resilience but also instilled in him a profound understanding of the financial sector.

Transitioning into a software developer, Erasmus embarked on a mission to empower others through technology. His commitment extends to providing software solutions and IT training for individuals of all ages, bridging the digital divide. In 2013, he initiated IT4Teens, a visionary project aimed at equipping young minds aged 8 and above with essential IT and coding skills. Recognizing that experiences, when managed positively, transform into expertise, Erasmus embraced a two-year incubation program organized by Reach for Change, a Swedish-based organization with an office in Ghana. This experience deepened his understanding of social entrepreneurship, setting the stage for greater impact.

Undeterred by challenges, Erasmus developed core banking and accounting software solutions tailored for microfinance institutions and small to medium-scale enterprises. This success ignited a passion to empower fellow young entrepreneurs. Today, he offers reasonably priced co-working spaces coupled with business support services. In 2020, his steadfast commitment to overcoming obstacles and his favorite mantra, “Never Be Afraid to Fail,” culminated in the establishment of Duapa Werkspace—a social enterprise positively influencing the lives of today’s youth in the western region.

Erasmus Mensah-Ackon’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of perseverance, innovation, and a commitment to empowering others.

Who We Are

Established in 2020 in Takoradi, Ghana, Duapa Werkspace is a non-profit organization passionately committed to tackling youth unemployment and promoting entrepreneurship in the Western region. Over the years, the organization has become a beacon of hope, impacting over 150 start-up and growth-stage entrepreneurs with essential tools and knowledge to establish sustainable enterprises. Duapa Werkspace’s influence extends beyond Takoradi, reaching communities in Ghana’s western and central regions, with a particular emphasis on empowering youth and women.

At the core of Duapa Werkspace’s strategy is a dedication to cultural knowledge and local language proficiency, driving the formulation of a comprehensive five-year strategic plan focused on Poverty, Good Jobs, and Economic Growth. The organization serves as a transformative hub, offering incubation, entrepreneurship training, and technical and vocational skills development.

Collaborations with organizations like SNV -Netherlands Development Organization have resulted in the successful incubation of 23 SMEs from 2021 to 2023, enabling them to secure funding for business investment. Additionally, partnerships with Ghana TechLab have spurred the growth of 16 tech entrepreneurs. Duapa Werkspace’s commitment to excellence has garnered recognition as the “Best Incubation Hub,” “Best Skills Training Hub,” and “Best Acceleration Hub” at the National Startup Summit 2022 organized by Ghana TechLab.

Duapa Werkspace goes beyond generic training, ensuring its programs cover vital modules like computer literacy, finance, and soft skills. The organization aims to equip youth not only with job-ready skills but also with the resilience needed for the dynamic job market. Specialized entrepreneurship training programs target SMEs, early-stage ventures, and aspiring entrepreneurs, providing practical skills such as financial management, sales and marketing, and the use of design thinking practices and digital tools. 

In collaboration with MDF West Africa, Duapa Werkspace delivered transformative training to over 200 women-led
businesses under the Mastercard Foundation’s Covid-19 Resiliency and Recovery Program. Over six months, these businesses acquired the skills needed to navigate pandemic challenges, emerging stronger and more resilient.

Duapa Werkspace stands as a catalyst for positive change, fostering a community of empowered individuals poised to reshape their destinies and contribute to the collective prosperity of Ghana.

Most Significant Change Story
 

Jesse Roland Prah, the dynamic CEO behind the Roland Rice brand, embarked on a remarkable journey from processing and manually picking out stones from the rice he produces before packaging them from his parent’s garage to a modern, well-equipped first-of-its-kind rice mill and office complex in the western region, transforming the local rice production landscape. With the invaluable support of SNV Ghana, Jesse’s dream became a reality as he acquired a cutting-edge de-stoner machine, catapulting Roland Rice to new heights of efficiency and quality. Crucial to Jesse’s success was the instrumental role played by Duapa Werkspace, an incubation Hub that provided comprehensive training and mentorship for the transformation of the Rolland Rice brand. From essential bookkeeping skills to fostering acceptable business practices and developing a sustainable business model, Duapa Werkspace became the supporting pillar of Jesse’s growth.

Today, Roland Rice boasts of 9 permanent staff, 9 National Service (NSS) personnel, 5 temporary staff, 50 rice out growers, and 32 in-growers. Jesse Roland Prah’s journey is a testament to the transformative impact of dedicated mentorship and incubation, turning a garage operation into a thriving business that not only sustains itself but uplifts the entire community of Dompim in the Shama district of the Western Region.
 

Millicent Lambog, the innovative CEO of Eggs N More, has steered her aggregation venture into new frontiers, reshaping the industry with sustainable practices. Emerging from a solo venture of buying eggs from poultry farmers and selling from her small shop, Millicent’s journey took a transformative turn during her six-month incubation at Duapa Werkspace. Encouraged to create an innovative product, her research led to the development of egg powder and eggshell powder, a breakthrough that earned her a grant from SNV Ghana. Duapa Werkspace played a pivotal role in nurturing Millicent’s vision, providing the environment and support needed for her inventive leap. The egg powder factory, a result of this incubation, now propels Eggs N More to the forefront of the poultry sector. Millicent’s commitment to sustainability, instilled during this incubation, is evident in every aspect, from extending shelf life to repurposing eggshells. Her inspiring journey showcases the profound impact of incubation programs, proving that with the right support, a single idea can revolutionize an entire industry. She has increased from 2 temporary staff to a dynamic team of 8 which will increase as production of egg powder increases.

Eggs N More is not merely selling eggs; it’s pioneering a sustainable legacy.
 

Vida Aniagyei, the visionary CEO of Aniwasu Garments, has revolutionized the fashion industry by transforming waste fabric into intricately crafted dolls and art pieces proudly made in Ghana, Africa. This innovative initiative blossomed during her transformative journey through the incubation program at Duapa Werkspace.

The incubation not only refined Vida’s entrepreneurial skills but also provided a platform for sustainable growth. Empowered by the program, Vida secured a grant from SNV Ghana for solar installation, showcasing her commitment to eco-friendly practices and continuous production all year round. Duapa Werkspace became the catalyst for Aniwasu Garments’ remarkable shift towards sustainability and social impact, setting an inspiring example for businesses striving to make a difference. Vida’s story epitomizes the profound impact of incubation programs like Duapa Werkspace, fostering innovation, sustainability, and success in the heart of the African fashion landscape.
 

David Nkansah, the proactive CEO of DavNak Ventures, spearheads a transformative initiative in plastic waste management. A product of a successful incubation program and supported by Duapa Werkspace, his company is making remarkable strides in environmental sustainability.

With a keen focus on impact, Nkansah’s venture has not only secured a grant from SNV Ghana but has also created direct employment opportunities for eight individuals and countless unemployed women and youth, fostering local economic growth. Committed to innovation, he strategically invested in a state-of-the-art recycling machine for pelleting, furthering the company’s capacity for positive change. Nkansah’s leadership not only champions environmental responsibility but also contributes significantly to community development, setting an inspiring example for the industry.

As he strives to expand, his dedication to creating more job opportunities showcases a commitment to both people and the planet.

Theory of Change
Long-Term Impact

Paving the way for more young people to find jobs and supporting a growing community of the youth entrepreneurs by providing the crucial help they need to succeed

INPUT
1
  • Committed team of skilled trainers, mentors, and support staff
  • Effective curriculum and resources for skill-building and entrepreneurship
  • Collaborative partnerships with local stakeholders and organizations
  • Adequate funding for sustainable program implementation
ACTIVITIES
2
  • Equip start-ups and growing businesses with tools, knowledge and mentorship.
  • Offer workshops, training and mentorship customized to the unique requirements of the situation
  • Infuse cultural knowledge and local languages into program delivery
  • Establish strategic partnership for broader community impact
OUTPUTS
3
  • Empowered youth and improved employability skills and entrepreneurial mindset
  • Skilled entrepreneurs with improved business strategies and resource access
  • Programs infused with cultural sensitivity, boosting participants involvement.
  • Increased presence, wider youth, and entrepreneur outreach.
OUTCOMES
4
  • Increased youth employability and entrepreneurship in the western region
  • Growth of youth-led enterprises generating jobs for youth and women.
  • Integration of cultural wisdom and local languages into all programs
  • Extended impact across Ghana’s western and central regions
IMPACTS
5
  • Reduced youth employment, leading to sustainable livelihoods
  • Strengthened local economies through dynamic enterprises.
  • Elevated cultural appreciation and community well-being

Problem

In Ghana’s western region, youth unemployment presents a critical challenge, limiting livelihood options and driving young individual, including women, to migrate to Accra and other places including illegal mining sites. Many young people lack the necessary skills and resources to secure employment or create their own business. This situation hinders personal growth, community development, and the region’s overall well-being

OUR IMPACT

Young Peolpe Trained
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Business Incubated
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Children Trained on Coding
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Lives Impacted
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Startup Events Organized
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AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

BEST SKILLS TRAINING HUB, 2022 (BASE INNOVATION PROGRAM, GHANA TECHLAB/MASTERCARD FOUNDATION)
BEST INCUBATION HUB, 2022 (BASE INNOVATION PROGRAM, GHANA TECHLAB/MASTERCARD FOUNDATION)
BEST ACCELERATION HUB, 2022 (NATIONAL ACCELERATION PROGRAM, GHANA TECHLAB/MASTERCARD FOUNDATION)
INNOVATIVE FOR IMPACT, 2023 FONTOMFROM AMANDZE AWARDS

PARTNERS AND COLLABORATORS

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