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The Startup Takoradi 2024 forum, held from Monday, April 8th to Saturday, April 13th, was a landmark event in Takoradi, Ghana, aimed at fostering innovation and sustainable practices among startups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The event, which took place at Duapa Werkspace and Takoradi Mall, brought together key stakeholders, including the National Youth Authority, SSNIT, GRA, FDA, GSA, EKMA, and GEAORC, to support and nurture the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Participation and Engagement
The forum saw a robust participation with 158 registrations. Of these, 20 individuals participated in an intensive boot camp, while 116 registered for the main event. This vibrant turnout underscored the region’s growing interest in entrepreneurial ventures and the desire for knowledge exchange and networking opportunities.

Objectives and Achievements
The primary goals of the Startup Takoradi 2024 forum were to:

Provide a dynamic platform for innovators, startups, MSMEs, and stakeholders to exchange ideas on green entrepreneurship in the digital age.
Foster partnerships and the growth of environmentally conscious brands.
Highlight strategies for startups’ digital transformation and investment in Ghana.
Enhance the visibility of startups and MSMEs in Sekondi-Takoradi committed to sustainable futures.
These objectives were achieved through a weeklong boot camp that introduced participants to Circular Economy and Digital Transformation strategies. The event featured an exhibition where SMEs and startups showcased their products and services, providing them with a valuable platform to reach new audiences.

Key Discussions and Highlights
Pitch Deck Preparation
Mr. Ralph Menz emphasized the importance of tailoring pitch decks to the target audience, aligning them with the business plan, and seeking professional guidance. He provided insights on starting and running a profitable tech business, highlighting the transformative potential of technology in today’s digital landscape.

Sustainable Practices
Dr. Tony Ograh, a champion of sustainable practices, stressed the importance of balancing economic viability, environmental responsibility, and social contributions. He called on entrepreneurs to adopt strategies that minimize environmental harm and optimize resource use, emphasizing that sustainability is essential for long-term business resilience and success.

Innovation and Technology
At Naa Sika, an online financial institution, innovation means more than just generating ideas or developing software. By leveraging cutting-edge technology, Naa Sika has streamlined processes and significantly reduced its environmental footprint, showcasing a successful model of how businesses can integrate sustainability into their operations.

Competitions and Networking
The forum featured a pitch competition where nine SMEs vied for top honors. Janet Yienkyi’s SY won first place with a cash prize of GHS 20,000, followed by Lantos’s Creative Concept (GHS 5,000), Cas Tech Glue (GHS 3,000), Mushroom Hive (GHS 2,000), and Season Times (GHS 1,000). These prizes were sponsored by VC4A.

Networking opportunities were abundant, with Koffman Investment pledging GHS 130,000 in Ready Rent for a 55% equity stake, and Cas Tech Glue connecting with a carpenter in Cape Coast for product supply. The event facilitated numerous professional connections, enhancing the growth prospects for participating startups.

Lessons Learned and Future Plans
Key takeaways from the event include the need to attract participants early to avoid delays, and ensuring all setup activities are completed beforehand. Feedback highlighted the importance of timely arrivals and the potential for reducing program duration to retain participant engagement.

The next major event, the Start-up Western Festival, is scheduled for October 2024. Organizers are exploring suitable dates to avoid conflicts with other events, ensuring maximum participation and impact.

Conclusion
Startup Takoradi 2024 successfully provided a platform for innovation, sustainability, and networking, significantly benefiting the entrepreneurial community in Sekondi-Takoradi. By fostering partnerships and showcasing sustainable practices, the forum has paved the way for a prosperous and environmentally conscious business future. With continued support and participation, the upcoming Start-up Western Festival promises to build on these achievements, further solidifying Takoradi’s position as a hub for entrepreneurial excellence.

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