On Monday, 10th July 2023, Orange Corners Ghana proudly celebrated the graduation of over 100 remarkable youth-led businesses who successfully completed the six-month acceleration programme. The momentous occasion took place at a physical ceremony held at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Accra. The graduation ceremony marked the conclusion of its cohort 7 batch, during which Orange Corners provided comprehensive support to over 350 talented innovators admitted into the program, including expert training, coaching, masterclasses, as well as access to facilities, networks, and finance to foster the growth of their enterprises. Out of the 350 who were supported from the Orange Corners Centres from across the country (Accra, Kumasi, Ho, Takoradi and Tamale), over 100 successfully completed and qualified to apply for the program’s allocated funding opportunity.
The ceremony served as a platform for entrepreneurs to express their deep appreciation for the invaluable training and support received through the Orange Corners programme. The testimonials reflected the transformative impact of the programme on their personal and professional growth, highlighting the valuable insights gained and the confidence instilled in them as aspiring entrepreneurs.
Over the past six months, the Cohort 7 participants have undergone an intensive and rigorous acceleration program designed to equip them with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to scale their businesses through capacity building and access to funding. Through mentorship, workshops, networking opportunities, and access to finance, these young entrepreneurs have demonstrated remarkable growth and resilience in the face of challenges. They have emerged as trailblazers and change-makers in their respective industries, poised to contribute to the economic development of their communities.
Orange Corners Ghana is thrilled to announce an exciting opportunity for the entrepreneurs who were supported from January 2023 to June 2023. They will now have the chance to apply for a low-interest growth loan of up to EUR 50,000.00 from the Orange Corners Innovation Fund, managed by Fidelity Bank. This initiative aims to provide these exceptional individuals with the financial resources necessary to scale their businesses and continue their path to success.
His Excellency, Jeroen Verheul, the Ambassador of The Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ghana, extended warm congratulations to the participants of cohort 7 during the graduation ceremony, recognizing their successful completion of the six-month acceleration program. The ambassador also expressed recognition for the remarkable achievements of the Orange Corners Ghana Acceleration Program. Furthermore, he highlighted the program's partners and enthusiastically welcomed Koudijs and Cargill Ghana, who joined as new partners in the Orange Corners Ghana Program last year.
During his speech, the ambassador emphasized the significant expansion of our capacity to accommodate a larger number of individuals for training. He highlighted the impressive growth observed in the number of participants, partners, and program locations across various regions of Ghana. Additionally, he acknowledged the inclusion of digital sessions in our outreach efforts. This strategic addition aims to explore the possibility of modifying the training format to reach a broader audience, as the traditional one-on-one approach has inherent limitations in terms of scalability.
Mr. Richard Yeboah, the Regional Director of MDF Africa, conveyed his gratitude to the Kingdom of the Netherlands for granting us the opportunity to support these entrepreneurs. He emphasized the inception of the Orange Corners program, which commenced in 2019 with 30 companies, and has since provided support to over 600 companies. Mr. Richard Yeboah also highlighted the increasing number of applications received and the decision to scale up the program after consulting with the partners. Currently, we are offering these programs in Accra, Kumasi, Tamale, and Ho. He also emphasized one of the distinctive aspects of the Orange Corners Program, which involves supporting companies in their formalization process. The program goes beyond merely generating employment opportunities; it focuses on creating decent jobs. Additionally, he discussed a new phase of the program that aims to promote sustainability in businesses and the agricultural value chain, particularly in the horticulture and cocoa industries. He explained how the program aims to assist businesses operating within these sectors.
The partners, including Fidelity Bank, Vivo Energy, Koudijs, People's Pension Trust, MPS Tema Port, Friesland Campina, and Cargill Ghana, were all present to extend their congratulations to the entrepreneurs who successfully completed the six-month acceleration program. They commended the entrepreneurs for their achievements and encouraged them to make a positive impact on the economy by thinking SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound) and influencing others to do the same. Emphasizing the importance of utilizing their knowledge, abilities, and training experiences, they urged the entrepreneurs to contribute to the growth of the economy and bring pride to Ghana. Furthermore, they emphasized the significance of self-reliance, encouraging the entrepreneurs not to solely depend on external entities like the IMF but to leverage their own capabilities.
Orange Corners Ghana, an initiative of the Netherlands executed by MDF West Africa in collaboration with esteemed partners including Fidelity Bank, People's Pension Trust, Friesland Campina, Vivo Energy, Meridian Port Services (MPS), De Heus Koudijs, and Cargill Ghana, , has made significant strides since its inception in 2019.
With a strong commitment to fostering entrepreneurship, Orange Corners Ghana has provided vital support to over 600 entrepreneurs, with an impressive 43% of these businesses being women-owned companies. The programme's dedication to gender inclusivity underscores its commitment to empowering women and promoting diversity in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Remarkably, Orange Corners Ghana has successfully facilitated the issuance of affordable loans amounting to 50,000 Euro to deserving entrepreneurs. This financial support has played a crucial role in enabling the growth and development of these businesses, allowing them to expand their operations and make a positive impact on the local economy. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Orange Corners Ghana has demonstrated resilience and adaptability. The participating companies have exhibited remarkable growth, both in terms of the number of staff and revenue. This noteworthy achievement showcases the effectiveness of the programme's comprehensive support, equipping entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and strategies to thrive even in uncertain times.
The call for the next batch, Cohort 8 marks an exciting new chapter for Orange Corners as it opens its doors to a fresh batch of talented and ambitious young entrepreneurs. This next cohort will have the opportunity to benefit from the vast resources, mentorship, and network of support that Orange Corners offers, propelling them towards success and sustainability in their entrepreneurial journeys. Interested applicants are invited to visit the Orange Corners website at www.orangecorners.com or visit our social media pages for more information on the application process and eligibility criteria. The call for applications for Cohort 8 opens from 10th July 2023, and closes on August 11th 2023.