Time with the young African entrepreneur network mentor of the week

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Background:  He is a technopreneur and an innovator with background in electrical/electronic engineering and renewable energy. His key interest is in system and designing. He specializes in accelerating the 4th industrial age technologies like Internet of Things, Drones, Augmented /Virtual Reality. He is also the Co-founder/CEO of Kumasi Hive. He is no other person than Mr. Jorge Appiah from Ghana, West Africa.

Q. To some of us we understand “entrepreneur”, who is a “technopreneur”?

A. An entrepreneur who has interest in technology innovation, technology business, technology investment and its social impact.

Q. You are the co-founder of the Kumasi Hive. Can you tell us about it?

A. Kumasi hive is an innovation hub dedicated to support the youth to turn their ideas to a prototype then to market-ready product for the market. We do this mostly through our hardware incubator program and our makerspace. We also support existing startups with business support services through the offering of co-working spaces, event spaces and meeting spaces. To help startups to achieve growth, we run a business acceleration program for startups.

Q. How did you start this whole journey?

A. We just saw a need and worked hard to address it.

Q. Can you brief us on your academic background?

A. I attended Domezco Primary & Junior high school, proceeded to Pope John Senior High and pursued my tertiary education at KNUST where I had my masters’ degree too.

Q. What do you do at your leisure time?

A. I am a strong fifa video game addict. I can play for 12hours if I have a worthy opponent.

Q. Have you ever thought of using your hobby thus the fifa video game to create an enterprise?

A. My hobby encompasses my work. Fifa video game is just one of it. I guess one of the key thing I learned from the fifa video game is my hatred to lose. It rekindles it anytime which pushed me to adapt and strategize, keep on trying until I conquer you. I am sure this can be applied to the entrepreneur concept as well.

Q. How did you end up as an engineer?

A. I turned from biology freak to a crazy physicist in my final stages at senior high school. Also I felt I could do more with engineering taking into consideration that am lazy and easily get bored.

Q. Can you throw more light on the hardware incubator program and makerspace?

A. The hardware incubator program is similar to most incubation programs but dedicated to ideas which will involve some physical solution and engineering. The program support them from ideas like wanting to build a watch to actually building one.

Q. So Mr. Appiah, has there been a time when an idea has been brought to life? If Yes, any example.

A. Yes because that is what we do for a living. One of our incubatees built www.dext.tech. Anyone can check them out.

Q. What are your dreams and goals for the next five years as far as Ghana’s technology is concern?

A. A functional ecosystem, well connected to the grassroots and other key components of it. To be brief, a tech scene where a boy from Savelugu is able to get adequate skills in programming, build a successful startup and impact the world without migrating to Accra.

Q. What is your view on the mindset of the youth lately, “before you can succeed in your academics, you need to go outside (abroad)”?

A. Well, definitely going outside the country can help but one needs to align what he/she really want from a course of study. For me I knew what I wanted. It can get frustrating when the criteria for success and intelligence is based on examination and grades leaving out understanding and application of the course of study.

Q. Are you thinking of taking the hive beyond Ghana?

A. The ideology and practices, Yes. But I think different places don’t need exactly what we have here but do need what will work for them.

 Q. Finally, can you tell us about the Design Thinking Ghana Conference (DTGC) that was organized recently?

A. It was organized to discover the Design Thinking work in the Ghanaian community by first focusing on how the practice is being used to solve challenges in various fields, then going on to understand how others were using it to enrich their business value propositions. As such, the DTGC had the following dual-focused objective for 2017: To unearth local Design Thinking applications and to expose the practice to a wider audience. In short, participants gained an understanding of the Design Thinking process, the tools involved and their use. Finally, they were inspired to adopt the Design Thinking process more broadly in their work.

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