Masterclass ‘From Idea 2 Business’

The Idea to Business masterclass was held online on Friday, the 21st of August. It is an initiative of the New Career Platform and was implemented in collaboration with the Ghana Innovation Hub (GIH) and MDF West Africa, with the aim of supporting young entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into viable business models. This engaging session was facilitated by Ekow Akyin Kwofie, the Program Manager for GIH. Ekow has worked with about 1,500 businesses for over 5 years, supporting with training, coaching, market linkages and business support services. Over 20 participants joined the session.

It began with a brief opening and introduction by Ileen (Project & Business Manager for Ghana Netherlands Business and Culture Council), participants were also allowed to introduce themselves and their business ideas, right after, Ekow dived right into the masterclass.

Many aspiring entrepreneurs often say that access finance/capital is the one crucial element they need to successfully transform an idea into a fully-fledged business. However, is finance really what they need the most? Finance is very crucial in converting an idea to a business but will the idea be valuable to the user once it’s transformed? The Idea to Business workshop was an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to take a step back and dive into their business to properly validate it before jumping to access to capital or finance.

Business is all about creating value and delivering value. Participants were made to understand the value process; how to discover the value, define it, develop it and deliver it. If a user considers a business valuable enough then they are willing to give or sacrifice something in exchange for that value, hence the need that before an idea is hurriedly transformed to a business it is validated by testing, prototyping, etc., to help entrepreneurs better understand how to target and where to situate their business.

The determination of how valuable a product or service is has nothing to do with the originator and everything to do with the user. Participants were therefore encouraged to spend more time on improving their ideas. Spending more time on improving an idea helps in identifying the right target group, it makes value proposition compelling enough, and enables entrepreneurs to identify loopholes that were initially overlooked. Ekow also stressed on the importance of knowing the category of your idea:

1. Is the idea a solution to a unique problem?
2. Is it an entirely new idea?
3. Is the idea an improvement of an existing idea? Does it address a challenge?

Characteristics around each categorization determines the effort needed in transforming the idea to a business and speaks to the level of demand for the product or service.

After an engaging presentation and Q&A, participants were grouped into breakout rooms to evaluate their individual business ideas and make judgements based on the parameters given, to know what is lacking in trying to roll out their ideas on a large scale. Reactions, feedback and the engagement level clearly showed a need for guidance and coaching for transforming an idea into a viable business. To other participants, it was a reassurance that they were not alone in this ‘journey’.

The New Career Platform identifies the need for young professionals and entrepreneurs to be properly groomed in attempting to enter the business world, as such, huge investments are made in organising workshops, masterclasses and other events to equip you with knowledge and strategies to maximise your entrepreneurial potential. Keep an eye on the New Career Platform Events for the next workshop ‘Access to Finance’ and stay up to date about future workshops and programs.