Bono Changemakers – A new approach to entrepreneurship in Ghana

bono changemakers

Bono Changemakers is our biggest project to date, empowering more than 2000 young girls to innovate their local communities by capacitating and inspiring each other to a more innovative and entrepreneurial mindset.

The youth population is growing rapidly in Ghana and so is unfortunately the youth unemployment. The solution to this problem is entrepreneurship. That is at least a common public belief. And we are all excited about the innovative and digital startups popping up across the country. Or should I say in Kumasi and Accra?

Such startups have typically been subjects to extensive training and coaching in entrepreneurship, business and finances. And last, but not least – they have most likely received funding by winning a pitching competition in front of prominent judges from international corporations.

Now please try and envision this: You are a girl. 18 years old. Living in a small town in Ghana, and you have just graduated from the free public Senior High School. Yesterday you found out that your best friend is now pregnant with her second child. Commodities such as a laptop or wifi is something you have only heard of. What you have been told though, is, that you are staring straight into a future of unemployment like the rest of the Ghanian youth.

Now, let’s be real: Entrepreneurial business theory and buzz words such as Cost structure, Agile, Break even, Marketing channels, and Startup incubation will not make sense in your local context, will it?

Bono Changemakers is a collaboration with our Danish partner and NGO Civil Connections who are recognised for their experience and focus on grassroots development projects across Africa. Our new approach to entrepreneurship in Ghana is contextually and locally based by focusing more on impacting mindsets to become more innovative and entrepreneurial and less on teaching western business theory.

Problem identified is problem half solved

At Inspinest Foundation we believe in the mantra of “problem identified is problem half solved”. By letting the involved girls identify local issues in their communities and discuss possible solutions, they develop a much needed critical and more innovative mindset. But in order to find solutions to their issues, they will need inspiration. This is why we introduce the second mantra; “if you are experiencing an issue, you are probably not the first one on this planet facing it”.

People might not have Wi-Fi in rural Ghana, but the youth often have access to a smartphone and thereby access to possible solutions developed in other parts of the country or even another part of the world. By tweaking the solution and working with what is available to them in their local context, the issue has now been turned into a possible source of income.

In 12 months we will have established 5 entrepreneurship/innovation hubs at 5 different junior/senior high schools in the Bono Region of Ghana. Here, thoroughly trained Changemakers and teachers will ensure a sustainable empowerment of the mindsets of young girls for many years to come by arranging monthly innovation workshops and events.

On top of this, we are establishing a regional advocacy group which will work for a more supportive culture for young girls and entrepreneurship, based on the learnings and experiences from the project.

We hope that the impact of this project will Inspire other regions of Ghana to implement the same model or at least reconsider the approach to entrepreneurship.

Please follow the ongoing development of our project on our website and on our social media.

Emil Persson
Inspinest Foundation.