The 13 start-ups, including four females and nine males as founders, took turns to convince a six-panel judge of the viability and prospects of their respective businesses to get the needed investment to expand and employ others.
At the end of the elevator pitch and selection process, five of the start-ups will be selected and given financial support.
The Centre is aimed at fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship by unearthing, grooming and supporting students with compelling business ideas into viable businesses.
Launched in 2021, the Enterprise and Innovation Centre targets young entrepreneurs with vital practical experience to set them up to run their own businesses.
The students, all of whom had their National Service at the Centre, were equipped with the needed technical support from experienced industry players through coaching and mentoring to start up their own businesses.
Access to finance is a key constraint to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) growth in emerging markets and developing countries.
Therefore, Dr Fidelis Quansah, Dean of Faculty of Management Studies, said the initiative was an important and timely programme for graduates, especially at a time when unemployment had become a big issue in the country.
The initiative, she further stated, was designed to ensure that young graduates got employable skills, but particularly to offer them some training and mentoring opportunities for them to create their own businesses.
The Dean said the UPSA Enterprise and Innovation Centre was established as an initial innovative and mindset-oriented solution to the phenomenon of graduate unemployment in the country.
That, she added, led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University through the UEIC, Innohub and the National Service Secretariat.
Dr Quansah said, in the Centre’s quest to curb unemployment, the final pitch had become necessary as a tool to equip students with the requisite skills, and financial and technical support to put their best foot forward and be entrepreneurial.
She called on investors and organisations to support the Centre in its efforts to train and mentor students to be entrepreneurial.
The judges, enthused by the performance of the students during the elevator pitch of their business plans, commended them for making the move to start up their own businesses, “saying there is no better time to start a business than now.”
Mr Emil Aurehoj Perssons, Partner and Head of Innovation at InspiNest, an entrepreneurship hub, said potential investors admired passion, enthusiasm and the candidate’s ability not only to articulate their plans but how innovative the idea was.
Richard Osei Owusu, a Member of the Governing Council, UEIC, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said entrepreneurship was a prerequisite for human and national development and there was a need for some attention to be paid to its growth.
“Ghana’s development will rely on entrepreneurship,” he emphasised.
Therefore, he said, the UPSA continued to provide students with the necessary skills to enable them to fit into the job market after the completion of their studies.
Zainab Sulaiman, Founder of Norizona, a start-up that carbonises agricultural waste into activated carbon and further use it in producing organic products, expressed optimism about getting some capital injection to expand her business.
Caleb Agbodeka, Founder of Momech Auto Service, said his business sought to provide an avenue to connect drivers of broken-down vehicles to the closest mechanic shop in the fastest possible time.