Entrepreneurship in Africa has seen a surge in recent years, including access to technology, adoption of digital solutions for local needs, skilled talent and diverse markets accounting for this growth. Entrepreneurship ecosystems are critical drivers for entrepreneurial growth and success in Africa.

Asked about what role higher education institutions have to play in entrepreneurship ecosystems, Prof Rosemond Boohene, Director, The Centre for Entrepreneurship and Small Enterprises Development, University of Cape Coast, said, “Our core mandates as higher education institutions are knowledge generation, to conduct research and community service. As part of our first mandate, which is knowledge generation, we are supposed to develop the human capital for economies. It is widely known that one of the ways in which a country’s economic development is determined is its human capital development, and that is where higher education comes in. Thus, building the competencies and skills of the different segments/ partners who come together to make up the ecosystems is how higher learning institutions contribute to these ecosystems.”

A thriving ecosystem requires several vital elements. According to Prof Boohene, “In building healthy ecosystems, one must consider several parts which come together to make the whole. Thus, making an entrepreneurship ecosystem a network of actors. These actors include the policy environment, human capital, institutions that develop the competencies of entrepreneurs, finance, and a culture that drives the growth of these different moving parts. Culture, as mentioned earlier, requires that systems are developed or built around all the parts that come together to ensure a healthy ecosystem.”

Headed by Prof Boohene, the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Small Enterprises Development at the University of Cape Coast currently has three units which are centred around:

  • A business incubation- This helps nurture and grow business ideas from students, staff, and the communities within which the University operates.
  • Entrepreneurship education: This unit builds the competencies and skills of individuals or actors within the entrepreneurship sphere.
  • Research: This unit conducts research towards the enhancement of entrepreneurial outcomes in the University.

The Centre for Entrepreneurship and Small Enterprises Development’s  activities align with the Education Collaborative’s drive towards building successful entrepreneurship ecosystems in Africa. Collaboratively, institutions in Africa can move the needle towards socio-economic growth on the continent.