In this week’s edition of AfriLab’s hub featuring innovation centres across Africa, we had a chat MacCarthy Mac-Gbathy, Co-founder and Executive Director of HOPin Academy located in Ghana.
MacCarthy is a young Entrepreneur who oversees 54 startups since 2013 and founded HOPin Academy to serve the entrepreneurial and startup scene in Ghana, precisely in Northern Ghana.
He currently serves on the Executive Board of the Ghana Hubs Network which has over 50 hubs network members in 10 regions of Ghana and also as the Communications Director.
He is also the founder of HOPin Tech Solutions, M&Mxpress Travel, and Tour, and Agri Transportas all of which provides unique solutions and employs innovative approaches towards identifying and solving pertinent societal problems
MacCarthy told us about what drove the establishment of HOPin Academy.
According to him, the academy was founded to reduce rural-urban migration, drive economic improvement, stable financial foundation for every person, and have the financial independence to help his generation make the right decision while choosing leaders to lead Ghana and the future generation to come.
MacCarthy hopes to see a better community, nation and Africa and preparation towards a better future.
Mission and vision
MacCarthy intends to achieve HOPin Academy’s mission and vision by building the best team, the best board of advisors and by innovating to meet the reel needs for startups and entrepreneurs in the ecosystem.
Innovation and entrepreneurship
On how hubs foster innovation and entrepreneurship in their local communities, MacCarthy highlighted the following:
Through ecosystem cantered advocacy on new approaches and mythologies in innovations
Access to spaces for networking
Access to expert and mentor services
Access to investment connections and platforms
Access to tailored industry focus scale-up or growth programs for entrepreneurs or innovators.
On the state of innovation and entrepreneurship in Ghana, MacCarthy explained that the twenty-first century has witnessed a growing body of research on entrepreneurial development.
Making references from some scholarly sources, MacCarthy stated “One of the primary drivers behind the wider embrace of entrepreneurship in the world has been the growing recognition of its potential in creating wealth and fostering economic development.
Although studies on entrepreneurial development are rapidly gathering momentum, we know relatively little about how entrepreneurial development unfolded over time.
Despite the growing awareness among nations and practitioners of the benefits that can be accrued from entrepreneurial development much of the existing body of research has largely neglected the historical evolution and precipitating forces as a country transitions from one political system to another.
The dearth of scholarly attention is surprising given that history has the potential to inform future national policies.”
Ghana’s reception towards STEM
“At the lower level people find it hard to feel how practical STEM can be beyond the words and theoretical approaches.”
McCarthy further stated that there is a need for a conscious and aggressive approach to push STEM education through the lower level of our educational system and courses.
“There should be government, educationist and private effort to showcase practical and hands on finished STEM projects for people to feel it, see it and experience it.”
On women’s participation in technology and their inclusion, McCarthy stated that their participation in Technology has proven that the female gender can be champions of the tech space, ” however there is more we all have to do to make it be reach every corner of the continent and not just a few places. With this we need the ONE AFRICA APPROACH.”
Challenges and milestones
McCarthy highlighted some challenges HOPin Academy encountered when it started which included getting the right team, reliable internet connectivity, organic local partners among others, however, he stated some milestones the hub has achieved
By setting up the first even hub in the whole of Northern Ghana in 2012
Convincing the mindset of students and leaders public in some public institutions to focus on blended learning approaches in our ecosystem via technology and digitalization
Playing a big role in policy dialogues to position the Ghana ecosystem in favour of entrepreneurship and innovation. EG( Time and cost for business registration, online registrations etc)
Fostering and mentoring of setting up young yubs and their sustainability strategy
Scaling up its hub from nothing to a model hub to inspire other young hubs to have a bigger vision towards their various ecosystem
Pressuring the development of activities to be decentralized in Ghana
Government and AfriLabs’ role
McCarthy highlighted the following as the role the Ghanaian government can play in supporting hubs in the country.
By setting the systems and structures to somewhat favour growth and sustainability of Hubs in their various ecosystem
To involve hubs in national, regional or district in Human and economic development policy dialogues
To create access to small and bigger financial and non-financial services for hubs growth stages
To be a non-partisan Hub partner
On AfriLabs’ role, he stated that his time with AfriLabs gave him some form of inspiration during his travels to other African countries for AGM’s.
“I got the chance to listen to other continental uubs approaches, best practices and challenges which helped me to reflect and innovate to fit my ecosystem.”
Over the years, McCarthy has been able to build some good and reliable networks, thus giving him an open mind and a clear understanding of the purpose of ONE AFRICA AGENDA.
MacCarthy has left a footprint by providing direct employment and entrepreneurial training opportunities to hundreds of youths around the country.
His strong will and commitment to seeing society a better place are evident in the numerous opportunities he has provided for himself and countless youths.