By | 30 March 2016



Welcome to the Enhancing Growth in New Enterprises programme (ENGINE), a national Business Plan Competition and Entrepreneurship Development Programme.

ENGINE is a multiyear project implemented by TechnoServe with funding from the UK Government through the Department for International Development (DFID) that seeks to equip Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) with the necessary skills and resources to improve their business plans and internal operations, while creating a thriving community of entrepreneurs through increased access to business development services and to financing. The programme seeks to achieve its objectives through the following components:

  1. Business Plan Competition (BPC) – Under the business plan competition, applicants will be asked to submit applications to participate in a 2-day Entrepreneurship Clinic and Seminar, after which they will be required to present a 5-page concept paper. Following this, the top applicants will be invited to a 4-day intensive Business Plan Training course that will enable them submit a 15-20 page business plan, and conclude with the administration of a psychometric test. Finalists from this phase will be selected and provided with constructive feedback to finalize their business plans. These entrepreneurs will then present their plans to a panel of judges and winners will be selected – the winners will receive a grant and/or aftercare to scale up or start up their businesses.
  2. Entrepreneur Aftercare – Following the selection of the business plan competition winners, all finalists (including grant and /or aftercare winners) who presented their business plans to the panel of judges will receive mentoring, networking and other business development services over the course of one year. This will provide support to firms and foster an environment where start-ups and early stage ventures will establish a network of early stage businesses to share knowledge that can help them leverage linkages to improve their business models.

After highly successful implementations of business plan competitions in both Ghana and abroad, TechnoServe with the support of the UK Government is excited to once again promote entrepreneurship and private sector development in Ghana. Previous programme graduates took part in intensive business management training and benefited from consulting services, developed investment-grade business plans, and networked with the upper echelons of Ghana’s business community and financial sector.

Winners and finalists of ENGINE will be given awards that include seed capital, business development services, opportunities to present to private investors and links to financial institutions and investment capital. Although designed along the lines of previous business plans, new screening tools have been introduced to this programme to enhance easy participation.

Whether you have an existing business or an idea for a start-up, our aim is to help you grow or launch your businesses into a successful, self-sustaining business that will create jobs and wealth. We will bring a vast network of business and financial service experts to the table as consultants, trainers, judges and sponsors. Together we will build Ghana’s new private sector by strengthening and scaling existing businesses, and by launching new businesses. Join the programme, be one of the proud winners of the competition and be on your way to becoming the founder and owner of a thriving business!


This guide details the rules and regulations of applying to and participating in the competition, and gives additional information that may be helpful as entrepreneurs prepare applications.

Important Facts

    1. The ENGINE application period is officially opened . The application period closes at 5:00 pm on Monday 4th April 2016.
    2. Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria detailed in this guide can apply with a business expansion or a new business concept. Applicants will be asked to identify which industry categories best describes their businesses or business concepts (including but not limited to the following):
      1) Agribusiness and Processing (Food Processing), 2) Agricultural Services, 3) Arts and Crafts, 4) Beauty and Personal Care, 5) Clothing and Accessories, 6) Consultancy Services, 7) Construction and Real Estate Development, 8) Education and Skills Development, 9) Energy, 10) Events Management, 11) Financial Services, 12) Green Industries (Recycling), 13) Health, 14) Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism, 15) ICT and Software Development, 16) Light Manufacturing, 17) Multimedia and Publishing, 18) Transport, 19) Water and Sanitation, 20) Other (Applicants will need to specify what sector if it does not fall under the provided categories)

      A complete application must include all of the following (Incomplete applications will not be evaluated):

      • Signed Participation Agreement and Certification
      • Complete Application & Baseline Survey Form

    3. All applications will be treated with the highest degree of confidentiality. All judges, consultants and organizers have signed confidentiality agreements that prohibit them from using or divulging any information related to the applicants or their ideas. This confidentiality agreement will be in effect even after the competition has ended. Only information that has the express authorization from the applicant will be used in any manner beyond evaluation purposes. Read more about confidentiality within this document.

Good luck, we wish you the best in your application process to ENGINE!

Jumpstarting New Enterprises

For more information on ENGINE, please contact TechnoServe Ghana. at:
Address: TechnoServe Ghana, 77 Osu Badu Street, Airport West, P.O Box 135, Accra
Telephone: (+233) 0302 766 408/ 766410/ 773873
Mobile: (+233) 050 131 7607/ 050 131 7608/ 050 131 7609/ 050 131 7610/ 050 131 7611/ 050 131 7612 Fax: (+233) 0302 772789


The following are the rules for the ENGINE Business Plan Competition and Entrepreneurship Development Programme. Applicants are expected to be familiar with these rules at the time of submitting their business ideas to the competition. Applicants will be asked to sign a document attesting that they are fully aware of the rules. Failure to do so will mean that the applicant will not be admitted as a participant in ENGINE.


In order to be eligible to participate in the ENGINE Business Plan Competition a person must meet all of the following criteria:
a) Be a Ghanaian citizen
b) Be 20 years of age or older at the time of submitting the application
c) Propose an expansion on an existing business or a new business that is or will be based in Ghana
d) Have no more than 50 employees (existing businesses)
e) Propose a business expansion or concept that will realistically create at least 5 new jobs by the end of the second year of business operations, and will have a minimum investment base of GHS50,000 and annual sales of GHS100,000 by the end of the third year of business operations
f) Propose an expansion or a new business in any sector or industry (except Imports to Sell)

g) A firm commitment to submit basic financial data for a period of 3 years following participation in the programme, as well as submitting financial data during the issuance of the grant.

The following rules about who can participate also apply:
h) Ideas can be submitted by individuals or by a group. If an idea is submitted by a group, all group members must meet all of the above stated criteria, and the details of all the members must be provided on the application form
i) Each idea may be submitted only once
j) If applying as a team, only one person appointed by the team will be designated key promoter and may participate with one other team member (if necessary and pending approval from ENGINE) in training sessions, events, consultant meetings and any other aspect of the competition. The same person from any business team must attend the entire programme from beginning to end. The only exceptions that may be made will be by consultants, who may agree in advance to meet with additional members of a management team
k) No employee or associate of the employee (spouse, parent, sibling, cousin, nephew, niece, or child) of any of the organizations associated with the competition is permitted to participate
l) All businesses proposed must be profit seeking and self-sustaining businesses. No non-profit entities will be accepted
m) The organizers are not responsible for any other costs (i.e. lodging, food, transportation, etc.) that a participant may incur in order to attend any of the competition events, unless otherwise stated

The following table gives a general understanding of how industries are defined and what types of businesses are likely to meet the growth potential criteria stated above in ‘e’:

Industry Category Definition of Industry Category Examples of business concepts that might meet growth potential criteria Examples of business concepts not likely to meet growth potential criteria
Agribusiness and Processing (Food Processing) The production of commercial agricultural products and the transformation of an agricultural product into a value added product Producing and processing plants, fruits, seafood, animal products, juice, etc. for commercial sale Primary/subsistence farming or crop production, animal husbandry, or crop storage for resale
Energy Alternative energy products and services Producing, processing, and distributing energy products and services from natural or recycled inputs other than fossil fuels, such as alternative oils or biomass, wind, water, etc. Primary/subsistence farms that produce but do not process alternative energy inputs
Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Hospitality and foreign and domestic tourism services Scalable hospitality services, cultural or educational tour design and delivery, transportation services, traditional crafts production and distribution Travel agency or web-based tour booking only, crafts market for local trade, transportation services for local population
ICT and Software Development High or low technology products and services as well as communication High tech solutions to broad-scale needs such as the production of smart chips or the delivery of a new technology service
Or low tech solutions to broad scale needs such as the design and manufacturing of agricultural processing equipment
Trading in finished technology products, software development, ICT consulting
Light Manufacturing Assembling of equipment, pharmaceuticals , plastic water recycling, etc. Scalable businesses that provide alternatives to currently available products that will improve the quality, accessibility or affordability of current products Trading in finished and consulting

How and When to Apply

The application is currently available. The application can be accessed on the ENGINE website (, at TechnoServe’s Accra office, and at partner institutions to be advertised.

The Application & Baseline Survey Form requires information about the entrepreneur, the enterprise/business, sources of information, expenditure and revenue (if applicable), employees (if applicable), and other demographic and business information. Applicants must complete and submit an official application form by 5:00 p.m. on Monday 4th April 2016.

The Participation Agreement and Certification on the last page of the form must be read and signed and should be submitted together with the application form.

Completed forms should be mailed or couriered to: The ENGINE Programme
TechnoServe Ghana
No. 77 Osu Badu Street, Airport West
P.O. Box 135, Accra – GHANA

Or hand delivered to the TechnoServe Accra office at:
No. 77 Osu Badu Street
Airport West
Accra – GHANA

In these cases the application must arrive by the application period deadline along with the signed participation agreement.

The forms may also be sent to using TechnoServe ENGINE Application as the subject.

Applicants in Bolgatanga may submit applications to the TechnoServe Office in Bolgatanga, located within the SSNIT Building. Applicants in Wa may also submit applications to the ADVANCE Office in Wa.

Submissions will close at 5:00 pm on Monday 4th April 2016. Submissions made by this deadline to regional partner offices will be couriered to Accra within three business days of the deadline. Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted.

All participants must follow the established rules of the competition set forth in the Applicant Guide and on the ENGINE website.

Applicants may contact the TechnoServe Accra office to verify if their applications have been received.


All persons having access within ENGINE to business ideas, draft business plans and business plans submitted to the competition, namely: organizers, judges, consultants, and trainers, will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to the start of thecompetition.

The confidentiality clause will continue to apply after the end of the competition. The confidentiality clause will not apply to information disclosed by the participant that was already publicly known or that was learnt by the given person in another manner that did not entail breach of confidentiality.

Contestants should be aware that confidentiality rules do not apply to a summary paragraph describing their overall business idea, as this may be used in ENGINE promotional campaigns and other information sessions that may require examples of submitted business ideas.

No persons having access within ENGINE to business ideas, draft business plans and business plans submitted to the competition will in any way copy or reproduce any confidential material for purposes other than those directly related to standard competition processes.

In addition, without the prior written consent of the given applicant, these persons will not be allowed to use the confidential information to undertake any form of business activity based on the ideas in the submitted business ideas, draft business plans and business plans. They are also not allowed to publicly present any of these ideas (e.g. in lectures, interviews or any publications).

Contestants are expected to apply their own judgment in deciding how much information to disclose, bearing in mind that the judges’ decisions will be more effective the more detail and data they are given to consider. Similarly, the more information is shared with coaches and mentors, the more targeted and tailored their advice and support can be.

All finalists of the competition will be required to submit basic annual financial data to ENGINE for a period of 3 years after participation, in order to enable tracking and evaluation of the impact of the programme.

To Note: As previously indicated under eligibility criteria “g)”, this will be a mandatory requirement to gain acceptance into the programme. It is important to note that the information collected will not be rendered public but will be used to determine the impact of the programme.