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Center for Development & Entrepreneurship

Foundry Fellows Tour Accra Innovation Ecosystem

The Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) inaugural cohort of the Legatum Foundry Fellows tour Accra innovation ecosystem.

Thirteen entrepreneurs from eight countries gathered in Ghana to tour the innovation and entrepreneurship community of Accra.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., November 4, 2021— This week, the Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship at MIT gathered the inaugural cohort of Legatum Foundry Fellows in Accra. The Legatum Center selected Accra as the first ecosystem tour for Foundry Fellows because of its robust community of individuals and organizations committed to accelerating innovation driven ecosystems and supporting entrepreneurs. The tour introduced Fellows to stakeholders from education, policy and governance, corporate, and risk capital sectors who are solving challenges and building inclusive systems through innovation.

Fellows began their tour with a visit to Omanye House – a collective for artisans from West Africa – where Fellows met with Professor Ablade Glover who shared about the Omanye’s mission of supporting painters, sculptors and weavers to develop their skills, sell their work and build a community of creators.

Fellows had the honor of visiting the President of the Republic Ghana, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo. President Akufo-Addo welcomed Fellows to Accra and shared highlights of his economic agenda which includes broad support for SMEs and, in particular, women-led businesses.

Other highlights of the tour included a visit with Patrick Awuah founder of Asheshi University, an insightful discussion with Hamdiya Ismaila, General Manager of the Ghana Venture Capital Trust Fund on the opportunities and obstacles in risk capital in Western Africa, and a tour of the recently opened campus of the Design & Technology Institute.

Finally, Fellows were hosted by the Ghana Enterprises Agency for a panel conversation with key stakeholders from supporting Ghana’s youth and innovation ecosystems including: Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, CEO of the Ghana Enterprises Agency; Minister of Youth & Sports Isaac Kwame Asiamah and, Abdoulaye Diack, Program Manager at the Google AI Research Lab in Accra. During the panel discussion, panelists reflected on the current opportunities in Ghana’s ecosystem and the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship. Reflecting on the rapid growth in Ghana’s of youth population, Minister Asiamah shared his belief that “the only option for the country and our youth is innovation and entrepreneurship” and welcomed the lessons and insights Foundry Fellows could share.

Fellows will continue their fellowship journey and join the MIT community for a US based ecosystem tour and campus immersion in March 2022.

More on our Fellows

Past and Present

About the Foundry Fellowship

Launched earlier this year, the Foundry Fellowship is a first-of-its-kind fellowship focused on African entrepreneurs who have successfully grown ventures on the continent and have arrived at an inflection point in their entrepreneurial journeys. The fellowship provides a space for these entrepreneurs to come together to reflect on their achievements and consider their present and future leadership roles as entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, and thought leaders. Collectively, the Fellows will explore the future of innovation ecosystems in Africa and demonstrate how Africa can be a hub for innovation globally.  The Foundry Fellowship was developed in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation in alignment with the Foundation’s vision of a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper.

About the Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship at MIT

The Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship at MIT was founded in 2007 on the belief that innovation-driven entrepreneurship is key to increasing prosperity and building more inclusive systems in emerging markets. The Center drives prosperity globally by building pathways for principled entrepreneurial leaders to transform systems, and improve lives. Legatum Center is a global community based at MIT, drawing on the Institute’s talent, networks, and expertise to inspire and equip those who want to move their ideas toward scalable impact. In addition to supporting and equipping entrepreneurs operating in emerging markets with the tools and resources to build scalable impactful businesses, the Center gathers lessons and produces actionable insights to inform and advance innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems globally.

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