Berlin, December 17, 2018 - SmartHectar and enpact announce their partnership to launch an innovation hub in West Africa, based in Accra, Ghana, focused on agriculture, food, and water technologies. The goal of this joint venture is to foster economic growth in the region by building sustainable innovative businesses in these sectors that create new jobs.
SmartHectar and enpact will launch their initiative in Accra, Ghana in February/March 2019 while building a network of partners, investors, and ecosystem stakeholders. A startup challenge is scheduled for Q2 2019 and the accelerator program will launch in Q3 2019 concluding with demo days in Q4 2019. The Innovation Hub as a place for startups and companies to work together on innovative solutions is planned for 2021.
An expanding global demand for agricultural products particularly in dynamic emerging economies is providing increased opportunities for West Africa’s traditional and non-traditional agricultural exports. The Food and agriculture industry employs a large percentage of the workforce in West Africa: 66% of total employment in West Africa is in the food economy, and 78% of the food economy jobs are in agriculture (OECD, 2018).
Additionally, water challenges are still prevalent in West Africa with drinking water being scarce in urban areas. There is a great need for continuous expansion of water systems and sanitation facilities across the region. The development of such infrastructure is not only important to economic development and growth but is also a backbone for health, education and wealth creation.
The first sponsor of the Innovation Hub for West Africa project is WILO SE, one of the world's leading manufacturers of pumps and pump systems for the building technology, water and industrial sectors with headquarters in Dortmund, Germany.
SmartHectar Innovation GmbH is a Berlin-based international hub for corporate-startup collaboration in agriculture, water, and food technologies. By combining the experience of established companies with the agility of startups SmartHectar drives innovation to solve global challenges in agri-food and water systems.
enpact e.V. is a non-profit association founded in 2013 with the aim of promoting dynamic entrepreneurship in emerging and developing economies. enpact supports young founders through mentoring programs, setting up coworking spaces, educational programs, data-driven advice, and startup ecosystem support. The geographical focus is on Africa including Ghana, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.