Wisconsin has emerged the overall winner of the inter-varsity Entrepreneurship Challenge organised by the Association of African Universities. Princess Renice Anni (Communication Studies), Ekanem Blessing (Business Studies) and Michael Nii-Ayitey Hammond (Law), were presented the winners trophy by the Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities, Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile.
The Challenge, hosted by the University of Professional Studies (UPSA), was part of Innovation Week activities, leading up to African Universities Day on 12th November. The theme for this year’s event was ‘Entrepreneurial Learning and Communities of Practice’.
The Challenge pitted teams from Wisconsin, GIMPA and UPSA against each other to present solutions – highlighting innovative ways – to tackle various challenges in tertiary education.
The teams were asked to present submissions on the theme “Innovative retooling of African Higher Education to meet Agenda 2063 goals” as for stakeholders attending an inter-ministerial meeting for the African Higher Education Sector. Agenda 2063 is an ambitious plan for transformation of the continent adopted by African heads of state and government on 24th January 2015 at the African Union Assembly.
Areas under focus for the Entrepreneurship Challenge were: Accessibility, Quality Control, Funding problems and Peace and Security in African universities.
The students were scored on various criteria including problem-solving, teamwork, critical thinking, confidence and the ability to present ideas clearly. Judges were also looking for innovativeness, both in presentation and in the solutions proffered, as well as the ability to conduct thorough research.
Wisconsin students Princess Renice Anni (Communication Studies), Ekanem Blessing (Business Studies) and Michael Nii-Ayitey Hammond (Law), were presented their awards by the Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities, Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile, and one of the Entrepreneurship Challenge judges, Professor Esther Sakyi-Dawson, Director, Academic Quality Assurance Unit at the University of Ghana.
Michael Nii-Ayitey Hammond(law), a Level 300 student from the winning team, said: “Suspense was high as we waited for (the results on) Friday (11th November). Comments from members of the audience gave us reason to believe that we had given a good account of ourselves.”
On the benefits of participating in the Challenge, Michael added: “This event has certainly helped me in a myriad of ways – educating me on the challenges Africa faces and the plan to achieve Agenda 2063. My confidence is up a notch higher and I am convinced that I can easily deliver when called upon to do so.”
Congratulating the all participants, Mr Ebenezer Amuasi, Career Services Coordinator at Wisconsin said: “The teams had only three days to prepare on their allocated topic. Students from all three institutions put in their best and should all be very proud of themselves.
“All in all, this Challenge was a triumph for higher education. It demonstrates that young people can think innovatively and deliver solutions to many of the issues in the world today – and should therefore be equipped with the skills and given the right platforms to do so.”
All teams will develop their topics further and their submissions will be posted on the AAU website. Team Wisconsin will be looking at funding higher education with a focus on alumni and crowdfunding.
Other activities that took place during Innovation Week included entrepreneurship talks hosted by Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a panel discussion on the theme, which brought together academics and industry experts, and a Twitter chat on entrepreneurship.
The Association of African Universities, established in 1967, has a membership of 361 public and private tertiary institutions across the continent.