Hollard Streetwise Finance Business Challenge, winners take home GHS15,000

Hollard Streetwise Finance Business Challenge, winners take home GHS15,000

SteFarms, a startup  company owned by some students from the University of Ghana Business School won first place in the Hollard Streetwise Finance Challenge and took home GHS15,000 cash to help them scale up their business. Hollard Insurance Ghana Limited has held the maiden edition of its 'Hollard Streetwise Finance Business Challenge' to support students' businesses to scale up. The challenge is in collaboration with Business Hubs at the University of Ghana and the University of Cape Coast. After providing capacity building for a number of student businesses from the two hubs, seven selected businesses had the chance to pitch their businesses to a panel to make a case for a grand prize of GHS15,000 on Thursday, February 9. Speaking to journalists on the motive behind the Hollard Streetwise Finance Business Challenge, Managing Director for Hollard Insurance Ghana Limited, Daniel Addo explained that it is the company's way of contributing to society through positive change.

"For years the business community has had reason to question the way universities train graduates. We have always made the point that it's too theoretical so graduates leave and have no entrepreneurial skills or they always expect someone to employ them. When we found out that the University of Ghana has built an Innovation Centre where they will train students to bridge this gap, correct this gap we were excited and that's why we are here. "At Hollard, we strive to be a catalyst for positive and enduring change so if we see any programme started anywhere in the country and we think that it will have a positive effect on the country we join," he told journalists.

In a message to participants in the challenge, he admonished them to carry on even if they do not win the prizes at stake for the top three. He indicated that for Hollard Ghana, the the success of the programme will be determined in two decades to come when businesses they are supporting through the challenge are selected among the best businesses on the African continent. 'The success of this Programme will be evaluated in 20 years' time when we draw to Africa's list of top 20 entrepreneurs and Ghana produces 10 of them. "we are excited after hearing exciting pitches and as a company, we have not regretted joining the University of Ghana and Cape Coast University for this Programme," he stressed.

On his part, the Dean of UG Business School, Prof. Justice  N. Bawole expressed appreciation to Hollard Ghana for supporting the school through the Streetwise Finance Business Challenge. He noted that the programme is in line with the School's idea to equip students with what they need to become\ businessmen and women who will have\ something to do for themselves after school and would not have only studied theoretical stuff. "So today our entrepreneurship training has moved away from what I did which is just do theory on entrepreneurship and say all you can say and not go ahead and practice it. "What you are witnessing today is a challenge supported by Hollard Insurance and they providing us support to give the

 opportunity to students to pitch their ideas. 'This is also a way of building the confidence of the students and giving them the opportunity to be able to sell their business in one or two minutes which is a critical part of business education," Prof. Justice N. Bawole stated.

While admonishing students to come up with business ideas and venture into entrepreneurship while in school, he also called on the government to create an enabling environment that will make it easier for businesses to succeed. "We would urge young people to create business and try them as we doing today but they go out and the business collapse. "We need to provide the right environment to help them to survive. They can do it and we all must support them," Prof. justice Bawole stressed. Speaking to journalists at the end of the pilot of the Hollard Streetwise Finance Business Challenge, the winners, SteFarms, a business company owned by some students from the UG Business School, the Operational Field Manager, Isaac Mensah was full of praise for the organizers of the challenge and particularly thanked Hollard Insurance Ghana Limited. He assured that the cash prize will be invested into the business for it to scale.

"We have been to a lot of pitches and it couldn't go well. All things being equal when we came for this one God has been so good and we came out to be first. I want to commend Hollard for the bigger platform that they have given us," Isaac Mensah said. He added, "They [Hollard Insurance] have expanded our understanding through their capacity building. I wish this shouldn't be the end of the project. They should continue also with the cash prize we wish they could increase it. "For the other winners, the businesses that won second place and third place received cash prizes of GHS10,000 and GHS5,000respectively. After the success of the pilot of the Hollard Streetwise Finance Business Challenge, a bigger one will be held later in the year in November.


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