The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), has launched the maiden National Innovation Challenge (NIC), aimed at providing the youth with the opportunity to unleash their creativity.
With funding from the World Bank, the NIC would provide the required financial and technical support to award winning entrepreneurs.
The NIC would also solicit innovation from Ghanaians in areas, including renewable energy, agriculture, waste management, pharmaceuticals, oil and robotics and mines and minerals processing value chain innovations.
Interested applicants, who must be between the ages of 15 and 60- years-old, are required to submit a four-page concept note of their innovative ideas via email@example.com.
The sector minister, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, launching the initiative in Accra on Monday, said the world was evolving at a remarkable pace and every member of the public must adapt to the changes that come with it.
He said “the challenges we face today from climate change to healthcare and education required innovative solutions. It is not enough to simply maintain the status quo, we must reach beyond the boundaries of convention and embrace the limitless potential of human creativity.”
According to Dr Afriyie, the NIC was a platform for the brightest minds in the country to converge to address pressing needs, adding that it was also a call to action for scientists, entrepreneurs, students and everyone with a passion for innovation.
“We believe in the power of ideas to shape our destiny, and we want to harness that power for the greater good.”
“This challenge is not just about competition, it is about working together, sharing knowledge and expertise and breaking down the silos that often hinder our progress,” he said.
Throwing more light on the objectives of the programme, Chief Director, MESTI, Mr Patrick Nomo, said the government’s overarching objective was to establish a robust and creative framework for national development by placing science, technology and innovation at the fulcrum to drive other sectors of the economy.
He explained that the NIC would promote healthy competition into the scientific community, stimulate the culture of innovation among students and non-students in Ghana and increase awareness about science, technology and innovation among the public.
Mr Nomo expressed the hope that the initiative would elicit the required national momentum to commercialise the numerous innovations that are required to address social issues affecting the country and enhance economic development.
Senior Presidential Advisor, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, encouraged the teeming youth to be competitive in the innovation ecosystem, by showcasing the evidence-based successful solutions and initiatives for economic growth and development.
A representative of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Mr Stavros Papastavrou, urged participants of the challenge to embrace the opportunity and reminded them that innovation was not always about technology or sophisticated gadgets, but rather about finding new ways, nationally driven, however, simple to solve old problems.
A technical committee to spearhead the effective implementation of the NIC was inaugurated at the event.