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Development Research For Startup Ecosystems: A highlight Of Past Ecosystem Mapping In Ghana, 2013 TO 2019, Part 1


Aug. 28, 2020, 3:42 p.m.

A variety of gaps pervade Ghana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, though Ghana is one of the largest and well-performing economies in West Africa. Some of these gaps include; a lack of collaboration among actors; lack of access to relevant information; mismatches in investment size supply and demand; poor access to markets; excessive cost of physical infrastructure; and limited access to finance.

Despite these challenges, the small and growing business (SGB) sector is actively driving the economy. According to Ghanaian government data, small and medium-sized businesses account for 70 percent of Ghana’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Availability of reliable and accessible data over the years has been a challenge and thus, if made available will aid both entrepreneurs and policy support organizations to provide ecosystem-tailored solutions to drive economic growth and decent job creation.

Efforts have been made towards improving access to data on the startup ecosystems in Ghana, and Africa at large in response to the above. Notable organizations that have conducted such research include; ASPEN Network, Koltai & Co. LLC, Brighter Bridges, and VC4A. Donors that have seen the need to support this effort to make these data sets available to steer local growth, and change in ecosystems include but are not limited to; GIZ, UKAID (DFID), and the Mastercard Foundation among others.

This article seeks to highlight the research findings from these ecosystem mapping projects in Ghana, their strengths, weaknesses, and what could have been done better.

This write-up will focus on research works conducted in Mapping Ghana’s startup ecosystem conducted from 2013, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

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Firstly, the study: “Ghana Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Analysis 2013 Report: Prepared for the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) by Koltai & Company, LLC”, is highlighted below.

Summary Points:

This research by Koltai & Company, LLC revealed in 2013 that the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Ghana was ripe for turbocharging.

According to the report, Ghana appears to be in a strong position to leverage entrepreneurship to create jobs and grow the economy. KolCo indicated that the ecosystem needs support in order to capitalize on the potential for growth observed.

In their report, to undertake an effective ecosystem mapping, it is appropriate to employ the Six + Six Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Model. The module captures the six pillars essential for a successful entrepreneurship ecosystem and the six participants involved in their implementation. These parameters are listed below.

The Six Pillars:

  • Identify
  • Train
  • Connect & Sustain
  • Fund
  • Enabling Public Policy/Regulation
  • Celebrate

The Six Implementers:

  • Foundations
  • NGOs
  • Corporations
  • Academia
  • Investors
  • Governments

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The frame of their analysis of Ghana’s ecosystem focused more on determining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges. They used more quantitative, and less qualitative data in conducting their study.

They highlighted 20 implementers from the Greater Accra, and Ashanti Region that played key roles relative to the six pillars for a successful entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Furthermore in their report, they highlighted the top 20 ecosystem firms in Ghana.


Further reading of Koltai & Company, LLC Entrepreneurial Ecosystem 2013 Report below can be read from this link.

Strengths of Study

  • Their study adopted 5 pillars to measure the success of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • The study took a holistic view of all enablers that played a supporting role in the ecosystem (i.e the implementers)
  • The study profiled a select 20 firms in order to capture the span of the entrepreneurship landscape in Ghana made up of stalwarts and underperformers.
  • Their study identified detailed challenges and constraints in the Ghanaian ecosystem on teams based on the six pillars for a successful ecosystem mapping.

Weakness of Study

  • The study in profiling the top 20 firms, did not capture locational data.
  • The study was purely qualitative

This report highlighted the six pillars that make up a successful ecosystem and the enablers of this success in Ghana as of 2013. This however did not cover all regions but focused on one ecosystem as at then. It is expected that preceding studies, should highlight, and focus on other ecosystems spread across Ghana.

Secondly, the next highlight focuses on a mapping ANDE conducted in 2017/2018 through a PILOT in ACCRA in 2017, AND a full scale study in 2018 covering a snapshot of NATIONWIDE ECOSYSTEMs in GHANA.

Summary Points

This research by ANDE in 2017 was conducted to identify organizations that actively support entrepreneurs in Ghana and the kind of support they provide. The organizations include: investors, capacity development providers, business development support providers, professional service providers, government agencies, and others.

The study started with a pilot conducted for the Greater Accra ecosystem in 2017 and a nationwide study in 2018.

Further reading can be done on the Nationwide Snapshot report for Ghana 2017/2018 here, and the Accra Pilot Snapshot report, 2017 can be found here.

Strengths of Study

  • The study provided a national snapshot of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • It identified enablers with the kind of support they provide to the ecosystem.
  • They mapped out a composition of programs for each region of the country.
  • The study started with a pilot of Accra before expanding to other regions of the country.

Weakness of Study

  • The composite programs per each region were not clearly defined or detailed

Drawing from ANDE’s reports, further studies can focus on breaking down regional actors, and datasets to allow for easy reach out to local actors for easier engagement with organizations rather than clustering, and presenting less details on local level organizations.

Authors: This article was written by:

Mohammed Suhuyini Zakaria, David Nii Armaah, & Selorm Ayikoe Tito (Research Team, Ghana Tech Lab)

tag: Naleirugu, Sunyani, Bolgatanga, Wa, Accra, Ho, Methodology, Tamale, Kumasi, Koforidua, Cape Coast, Research Articles, Takoradi, ghana, Ghana Startup Ecosystem,


Emelia Kuleke Author