KNUST Application for Innovative Business Ideas

By | June 10, 2021
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Regional Water and Environmental Sanitation Centre, Kumasi, (RWESCK)

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi.

Background

The Regional Water and Environmental Sanitation Centre, Kumasi, (RWESCK), is a Centre at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). It started in 1998 as a project to strengthen higher education in water supply and environmental sanitation with funding from the Netherlands government. It expanded in 2004 under phase two of the project entitled ‘Water Resources and Environmental Sanitation’ to offer two master programmes. RWESCK is implementing the Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) project with funding from the World Bank supporting Ghana Government to scale-up higher education and research in water and sanitation.

RWESCK seeks to build high quality human resource capacity in Ghana and the sub-region to meet the needed critical mass of human resources required to address the water and sanitation development challenges highlighted in the Africa Water Vision for 2025 and Sustainable Development Goals. This project seeks to promote regional specialization in areas that address specific regional development challenges and strengthen the capacities of universities to deliver high quality training and applied research, and associated outreach activities with industry and academic partners.

The development challenges confronting Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa are enormous, and these include the inadequate access to safely managed water and environmental sanitation facilities, poor water resources management as well as the increasing threats of climate variability and water-food-energy insecurity. RWESCK seeks to address the water resources and environmental sanitation development challenges in Ghana and the Sub-Saharan Africa. In order for the region to make significant progress towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, 12, 13 and 15, the Centre has positioned itself to enhance teaching, learning and research.

RWESCK envisions to be a recognized hub for advancing research knowledge, developing innovative technologies, providing high quality training in water resources, water supply and environmental sanitation for the sustainable development of West Africa. Our core mandate is to develop water and sanitation products, systems and innovative technologies as well as strengthen the human resource capacity in Ghana and the sub-region in WASH.

Innovation Challenge

This digital innovation challenge is based on one of the core mandates of RWESCK: drive Entrepreneurship and Digital Innovations within the water and sanitation sector to improve service delivery by working with all stakeholders. As part of these efforts RWESCK is inviting students, faculty members and the public working within the Water and Environmental Sanitation sector to submit innovative idea proposals that addresses the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, 12, 13 and 15.

Each proposal must strongly address the following cross-cutting issues:

  • SDG 9 – how to contribute to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation,
  • SDG 11 – how to make communities and cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
  • SDG 17 – how to use partnership for finance, technology, capacity building, data acquisition, and business governance to grow the business to national scale and beyond,
  • Ghana beyond Aid agenda – how to contribute to make the country financially self- reliance and a technology-hub for the sub-region.

Challenge Scope

We are looking for digital innovators with solutions that accelerate national development priorities especially in the areas of (SDGs) 6, 12, 13 and 15. Also, digital innovators with ideas that create digital impact in their communities. Specifically, this call is seeking new digital innovations in the following areas, but not limited to the following:

  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) applications in water and sanitation
  • Application of IoT (Internet of Things) in data collection and monitoring of water and environmental Systems
  • Designing SMART meters and sensors to improve on water supply systems management and irrigation water management.
  • Early warning Flood Monitoring Systems
  • Automatic weather stations and early warning system for rainfall prediction for farmers
  • SMART stations for monitoring streamflow and water quality of rivers
  • ICT SMART Water and Air Quality Sensors for measurement, data collection and efficiency management
  • ICT SMART systems for solid waste customers database, revenue collection, full cost recovery and efficiency management,
  • Development of machines for converting food waste into animal feed and nutrients- rich compost.
  • Development of machines for converting wastes into construction products (tiles, blocks, etc)
  • Development of low-cost onsite sanitation prefabricated dry toilet products for rural and urban poor communities,
  • Innovative sanitation service delivery for rural and urban communities
  • Development of low-cost prefabricated wastewater treatment products for rural and urban poor communities,
  • Development of Robotics for managing water losses in distribution system and non- revenue water.
  • Development of ceramic and polymer membrane modules for industrial wastewater and drinking water treatment,
  • SMART technology for monitoring functionality of rural hand pumps and maintenance,
  • SMART technology for nation-wide mapping and monitoring of groundwater, boreholes constructed and borehole water abstraction and recharge.

Applicant Eligibility

  • Eligible applicants are students, faculty members and members of the public working within the Water and Environmental Sanitation sector
  • Applicant (s) must be two (2) to four (4) member team of students or alumni of RWESCK with at least one female as part of their team.
  • Also, team of two (2) to a maximum of four (4) including a student, a faculty member or members of the public can apply but must have a student/alumnus of RWESCK and at least one female as part of their team.

Application and Selection Process

RWESCK selects projects through a competitive, objective and transparent two-stage application process. Stage one invites applicants to submit Concept Notes of their innovative idea (s) using the template attached. After an eligibility verification, Concept Notes will be scored and the most promising will be shortlisted based on both qualitative evaluation criteria and key performance indicators (KPIs), related to the number of decent jobs created.

Stage two: Ten (10) shortlisted applicants will be informed to develop a detailed business model, business plan and participate in a final pitching session.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Originality: Your idea must be original.
  • Creativity/innovation: Your idea must be innovative and unique.
  • Sustainability: You must clearly describe the ways in which the activity or project will be able to continue.
  • Business Viability: Your idea must be profitable, realistic and logical, with evidence- based market survey and research data,
  • Impact: Your idea must fall within the scope of the challenge. Your submission should consider cross-cutting impacts, problems, and relevant solutions.

Grant Award

Three to Five Winners who get selected will receive a grant prize of ten thousand (GHȼ 10,000) to twenty-five thousand (GHȼ 25,000) paid into a business account to invest into their project, prototype development, business registration and start-up.

Additionally, winners will qualify for an incubation period of six (6) months at the Kumasi Business Incubator to ensure further development of their project.

RWESCK and private sector investors will partner the team with the most novel and financially viable business proposal to start-up and commence business.

Other benefits include:

  • Cocreation workshops with winners on new skills and capacity
  • Workshops on storytelling and practice in pitching projects
  • High level dialogue, pitching of their project, expert talks, networking, partner corner, and matching of winners with potential resources.
  • Be engaged in developing a remarkable video story about their project.
  • Support in identifying new partnership opportunities and networking with potential buyers, investors, industry partners and government representatives.
  • Support winners further develop their proposals; connect with mentors, ecosystem builders, and potential clients and investors; International recognition.

Application Date and Deadline

Challenge LaunchMay 21, 2021
Challenge submission deadlineJune 30, 2021
Sorting and ShortlistingJuly16, 2021
Submission of Business Models and Business PlanJuly 30, 2021
Final Pitch and Selection of WinnersAugust 06, 2021
Incubation StartAugust 13, 2021

Application Submission

All applications must be submitted to the Centre for Business Development not later than Wednesday, June 30, 2021 as indicated in the calendar.

Applications are to be submitted through the online platform provided below. (HERE!)

You may contact us for further information at the Centre for Business Development (CBD) at the KNUST Commercial Area.

Email address: cbd@knust.edu.gh

Mobile: 0247142782

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