Even in these troubling times during the coronavirus period, the Recycle Up! Incubator is still going strong. From May 11th-15th, we conducted a Virtual Incubator Week on the topic of legal considerations for startups. Instead of conducting on-site trainings, the sessions were shifted to a virtual meeting room with multiple online seminars over the course of a week. A partnership with Egality Law Accra enabled us to provide participants with professional legal advice.
On Monday, the first training session began with a brief introduction by Alhassan Baba Muniru. As co-founder of Recycle Up Ghana, he gave a short presentation on the organisation’s mission, values, history and current projects.
Akosua Kuranchie and Victoria Derban of Egality Law then began their first presentation that focused on issues regarding the incorporation of a startup. The teams also received a comprehensive overview of contract-related matters and methods of dispute resolution. By going through an applied real-life example, participants were able to directly experience best-practice examples as well as deficiencies that should be avoided. Additionally, the teams were able to pose pressing questions in extensive rounds of Q&A. All participants demonstrated great interest in the presentations.
On Tuesday, a personal development session on digital self-marketing and branding via LinkedIn was held by Akosua Pepra and Alhassan Baba Muniru of Recycle Up Ghana. Their comprehensive introduction included general tips and best practice examples as well as various details such as the importance of digital vacancies for employers, recommendations on proactivity and building up your own personal network. Following this, each team presented a short overview of their current activities and project status.
On Wednesday, the participants were introduced to the concept of Intellectual Property. While there is no fixed definition for intellectual property rights, it can loosely be defined as “the rights a person gets over the things they create”. The team of Egality Law introduced incubatees to different possibilities with regards to patents, trademarks, brands, industrial designs, trade secrets and the like while demonstrating ways to effectively protect these business assets. At the end, an interactive quiz was held to ensure full understanding of the different categories and types of intellectual property. All participants were able to show great learning effects on the topic.
The Thursday session was dedicated to Bridge for Billions, an online incubation platform that the Recycle Up Incubator is now a part of. Teams received an introduction and overview of the different functionalities that will allow for enhanced training, communication with mentors and progress tracking from now on.
Friday marked the Virtual Incubator Week’s closing with another session by Akosua Kuranchie and Victoria Derban of Egality Law, this time setting the focus on business regulation in Ghana. The participants received a comprehensive overview of relevant institutions that need to be considered when starting a business in Ghana. While most teams were already familiar with general requirements by the Registrar General’s Department or the Social Security and National Insurance Trust, the presentation also contained valuable insights on institutions such as the Investment Promotion Centre, Export Promotion Authority and other regulatory bodies.
We were facing some challenges with regards to prototype building and other public-facing aspects of our hub space due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Despite these drawbacks, being able to transition from physical meetings to virtual sessions has proven the resilience of not only our incubator program as Recycle UP Ghana but the social entrepreneurs who will stop at nothing to see their businesses become a reality.